Targeted Help for the Hard-to-Employ: Outcomes of Two Philadelphia Welfare-to-Work Programs. Factors Associated with Differences in RSC and TWC Outcomes

09/02/2004

The employment rates, average earnings, and rates of TANF receipt for RSC and TWC participants are likely to reflect a wide range of influences. Individual, family, and social factors all influence whether people work and whether they are able to keep their jobs over time, as well as whether they use public assistance and how long they remain on it. Differences in observable characteristics (such as educational attainment, prior work experience, and household structure) and unobservable characteristics (such as personal motivation or innate ability) of RSC and TWC participants could also be reflected in their outcomes. Since RSC and TWC participants were enrolled in these programs over a 20-month period, trends in economic conditions could have influenced participant outcomes. In their design, the RSC and TWC programs reflected different philosophies about how best to support transitions to employment for the hard to employ. The services the programs offeredВ  and how intensely or completely people participated in those servicesВ  also could have played a role in participant outcomes.

In this chapter, we explore three sets of factors that may have influenced the outcomes of RSC and TWC participants: (1) individual characteristics, (2) economic conditions, and (3) the intensity of program participation. This exploration is intended to help us identify factors we should control for as we examine RSC and TWC outcomes further. That is, once we identify substantive differences of statistical significance among RSC and TWC participants, we can control for these differences in multivariate models and explore the extent to which they help explain the differences in outcomes for these two groups.

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