Performance Improvement 2010. Help Special Communities Gain Self-Sufficiency


A Welfare-to-Work Demonstration Evaluation by Mathematica Policy Research assessed the effectiveness of innovative programs that address challenges facing the rural poor as they strive toward work and self-sufficiency.  The 30-month random assignment study examined two programs: Building Nebraska Families and Illinois Future Steps.  The study assessed whether the programs improved employment, earnings, and well-being.  The Nebraska program was an intensive home visitation and life skills education program for hard-to-employ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients.  Offered in addition to the TANF program's employment and supportive services, the program provided individualized life skills education, mentoring, and service coordination support through home visits.  The program increased employment and earnings and reduced poverty among a subgroup of hard-to-employ who faced substantial obstacles and skill deficiencies.  The study found that the program was implemented in close conformance with its model and provided substantial services to clients over an extended period.  (9153)

An exploratory study identified the factors and approaches utilized by Office of Refugee Resettlement programs that contribute to refugee economic self-sufficiency.  The most frequently mentioned approaches found to contribute to the Office of Refugee Resettlement's success in helping refugees become self-sufficient were: 1) employability services pre- and post employment, 2) an individualized goal-oriented approach with clients, 3) culturally diverse staff (often former refugees) who are mission-driven and can develop rapport with and meet the cultural and linguistic needs of refugees,4) highly motivated refugees who are survivors, 5) a clear message about the Office of Refugee Resettlement's primary mission of early employment set out by all program components, and 6) coordination among refugee providers and mainstream services at the system level. (8845

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