National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Final Report. Further Progress, Persistent Constraints: Findings from a Second Survey of the Welfare to Work Grants Program

09/01/2004

This report documented the continuing implementation progress of the WtW grants program. To capture changes as program implementation advanced, the survey of WtW grantees nationwide, noted above, was repeated in late 1999. Although this second survey identified signs of progress, it also found that the eligibility criteria continued to constrain enrollment (Congressional action to expand the eligible population had not yet taken effect at the time of the survey). Other findings suggested some operational changes, but confirmed many of the findings from the first survey. The main findings from the second survey were as follows:

  • WtW program implementation had advanced but participation levels still lagged. Most grantees, except those who were recently funded, were delivering services and operating at a somewhat larger scale than that observed in the first survey a yearearlier. However, restrictive eligibility rules still in effect in late 1999 continued to impede enrollment. As a result, the average pace of enrollment had not increased.
  • The scale at which WtW programs were projected to operate remained modest. Respondents to the second survey had formulated more conservative participation targets, largely reflecting the enrollment difficulties encountered prior to the survey. Despite the declines in TANF rolls, survey respondents perceived no decline in overall need for WtW services.
  • Grantees emphasized unsubsidized employment but set realistic placement goals. While an unsubsidized job was the ultimate goal for all WtW participants, respondents expected some program attrition and had some reservations about the availability of jobs. They anticipated placing somewhat less than half of all WtW enrollees in unsubsidized employment.
  • Most placements to date had been in low-wage, service occupations. Grantees moved expeditiously to place WtW participants enrolled in their programs. They succeeded in placing about a quarter of their projected placements  more than 50,000 individuals. Most participants were placed in services and administrative support positions, which were available even to those with limited skills and poor work history. Participants placement wages averaged just $6.81 per hour and opportunities for advancement appeared limited.

[Full report: Further Progress, Persistent Constraints: Findings from a Second Survey of the Welfare to Work Grants Program]

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