Targeted Help for the Hard-to-Employ: Outcomes of Two Philadelphia Welfare-to-Work Programs. Study Sample and Data Sources


The study sample included people enrolled from September 1999 to January 2001 at the RSCs and from September 1999 to April 2001 at TWC. Sample members were enrolled in the study upon their entry into either the RSC or the TWC program during these periods. To enter either program, clients typically were referred by the CAO after screening for WtW eligibility. They could also be referred to the TWC by the RSCs. The TWC sample enrollment period was longer than the RSC one because of TWCs initially slow enrollment and smaller scale. The final study samples for the RSCs and the TWC are substantial, including more than 2,300 RSC program enrollees and more than 2,500 TWC program enrollees.[6]

Study sample members were identified in different ways. All enrollees who entered the TWC at some point in the sample enrollment period were considered part of the TWC sample. However, if a study sample member enrolled in the RSC study sample but later enrolled in the TWC study sample or was found in the TWC program database, that person was coded as a TWC sample member only, regardless of the persons participation in the RSC program. Constructing the analysis sample required a substantial effort to sort out which sample members were enrolled in the TWC. Because this study focuses on how the different populations were served differently based on their identified needs, all sample members who received the TWCs intensive services are considered TWC sample members. About half of those in the TWC sample participated in both the RSC and the TWC. The RSC sample is limited to enrollees who entered only the RSC program.

The study draws on data from four main sources, documented in Table I.3:

  1. A baseline information form (BIF) completed at sample enrollment
  2. A follow-up survey conducted 12 months after sample enrollment
  3. State administrative data on earnings and TANF
  4. Management information systems (MIS) data containing information about program participation


Table I.3
Philadelphia WTW Outcomes Study:
Main Data Sources
Data Source Timing of Data Key Measures Sample Definition RSC
Sample Size
Sample Size a
Baseline Information Forms (BIFs) Program enrollment: September 1999 to January 2001 (for RSCs) and September 1999 to April 2001 (for TWC) -Demographics
- Household structure
- Health problems
- Education
- Employment history
- Public assistance receipt
Program enrollees who completed
1,109 1,279
12-Month Follow-up Survey 12 months after program enrollment - Household structure
- Income
- Employment history
- Child care
- Education/training
- Criminal activity
- Material well-being
Program enrollees who completed a BIF and responded to follow-up survey 944 1,110
Administrative Data Four quarters before and up to eight quarters after program enrollment - Employment
- Earnings
- TANF receipt
Program enrollees who completed a BIF or were in MIS 2,338 2,543
Management Information System (MIS) Data Ongoing after-program enrollment Full program participation Program enrollees in MIS with enrollment date during sample enrollment period 2,248 2,320
a  Enrollees who participated in both RSC and TWC programs are included in the TWC sample only.

Because of lapses in sample enrollment procedures at the program sites, BIF data are not available for all program enrollees during the sample enrollment time period. To compensate for these missing data, and to capture data on all enrollees during the sample enrollment period, MPR collected administrative data either on those who completed a BIF or who were in the MIS data with an enrollment date during the sample enrollment period. Since the follow-up survey sample included only enrollees who had completed BIFs, we weighted survey data using MIS data to adjust for differences among enrollees who completed and did not complete BIFs.

We collected administrative data on TANF receipt and earnings on sample members for four quarters before, and up to eight quarters after, program entry. Because participants entered the programs over time, the number of quarters of data available varies by individual; data for later quarters are available for fewer sample members. The data in the report are restricted to quarters in which data are available for the most sample members. Eight quarters of postenrollment data are available for the RSC sample, and six quarters are available for the TWC sample, because TWC participants enrolled later on average.

This report is organized into four chapters. Chapter II describes RSC and TWC enrollees employment, earnings, and TANF receipt over time. Chapter III discusses factors that may be related to the differences in RSC and TWC outcomes, such as enrollees characteristics, program participation, and economic conditions. Chapter IV discusses the study findings and presents study conclusions and implications.


[1] In January 2004, Congress rescinded unspent fiscal year 1999 WtW state formula funds.

[2] Throughout the report we use the terms paid transitional work experience and paid work experience interchangeably.

[3] Participants in the RSC and TWC programs could receive support services funded through TANF; however, these programs did not initially receive TANF funding.

[4] To participate in the RSC or TWC programs, participants had to be eligible for WtW. However, not all WtW-eligible people were necessarily referred to the RSCs or the TWC.

[5] The evaluation originally planned to use an experimental design to examine the net impacts of the WtW grants program on participants and to analyze the programs costs and benefits. Because of low enrollment in WtW programs, however, it was not feasible to randomly assign participants to treatment and control groups. As a result, MPR revised the study design to an outcomes analysis.

[6] Since the programs were newly created because of the WtW funding and evolved over time based on their experiences in serving the WtW-eligible population, they were not in a steady state of operations over the course of the study. Thus, the outcomes observed in this study may not be representative of the true potential of the programs, but rather reflect the outcomes achieved during this initial experimental stage.


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