National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Final Report. Job Turnover During the Second Year

09/01/2004

It was not unusual for WtW enrollees who were employed at some point in the second year to leave their jobs. Exhibit IV.4 shows that in most study sites, over 40 percent of enrollees who were employed during the second year after program entry left the first job they held that year. The rate of exit from the initial job was highest in Milwaukee (61 percent). It was lowest in Baltimore County (27 percent), where the JHU program provided services designed to reduce job loss, and in Boston (42 percent), where employer-sponsored programs fostered strong employee-employer bonds. In St. Lucie County, the other JHU program site, the rate was also relatively low (45 percent), but not as low as in Baltimore County.

Nevertheless, job stability seems to have improved over time. Enrollees tended to have more stable jobs in the second year after program entry than the first, as indicated by the exit rates from the first job they held in the year. The rate of exit from initial job was lower in the second year than in the first for 8 of the 11 study sites (Exhibit IV.4). In fact, for 7 of the 11 sites the difference in exit rates was 10 percentage points or higher. Not surprisingly, Philadelphia  which offered enrollees temporary subsidized employment as an initial job after program entry  exhibited one of the largest declines in exit rates, from 74 percent in the second year to 57 percent in the first year.

When enrollees left their jobs, it was usually because they had voluntarily quit or because their work period had ended (Exhibit IV.5).(40) In six study sites, a voluntary quit was the main reason for departure. Baltimore County had the highest percent of enrollees (59 percent) reporting this reason for departure. In the other five study sites, the ending of the work period was the main reason for departure, accounting for 40 percent or more of the enrollees. Dismissal by the employer for cause (firing) accounted for 12 to 17 percent of departures from the initial job.

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