Role of Intermediaries in Linking TANF Recipients with Jobs: Final Report. Defining the Roles and Responsibilities of Intermediaries in a Work-Based Assistance System

Regardless of whether a state's welfare program is state or county administered, local welfare offices always have had significant control over how to structure the delivery of employment services for welfare recipients.В  While some local welfare offices provided these services in-house prior to the implementation of TANF, others forged close relationships with the JTPA system, collaborated with the local community college, or contracted with community-based organizations.В  In order to provide services in a timely manner to the expanded pool of recipients required to work or participate in work-related activities, most communities have had to develop new or expanded service delivery systems.В  The shift from a human capital development to a work-first approach to serving welfare recipients also has required them to reorient their service delivery systems toward job search and placement rather than participation in longer-term education and training programs.

Within a work-based assistance system, a broad range of tasks must be performed to provide families with cash assistance and to help them make the transition to self-sufficiency.В  The primary employment-related services provided to most TANF recipients are case management and job search and placement assistance.В  Secondary employment-related services, provided on a more limited basis, include work experience, education, training, supported work, job retention, and advancement programs.В  In deciding how to use intermediaries to provide these services, local welfare offices or their designee face three key decisions:

  1. How much responsibility to transfer to intermediaries
  2. Whether to transfer responsibility to a single intermediary or multiple intermediaries
  3. How and how much to reimburse intermediaries for the services they provide

Using these three key decisions as our framework, in this chapter, we examine the choices the local sites made regarding how to use intermediaries to help welfare recipients make the transition to employment.В  A summary of our key findings is presented in Table II.1.

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