Targeted Help for the Hard-to-Employ: Outcomes of Two Philadelphia Welfare-to-Work Programs. Summary


Employment and earnings for RSC and TWC participants increased over time after program entry, while TANF receipt declined. Although participants' employment success improved after program entry, their employment often was unstable. Ultimately, RSC participants were more able than TWC participants to move from one job to another during the year after program entry. However, both RSC and TWC participants experienced increased earnings over time after program entry. At the same time, both RSC and TWC participants' receipt of TANF declined overall. RSC participants were more likely to leave TANF for work, whereas TWC participants were more likely to continue to receive TANF. Several factors-including participant characteristics upon program entry, program services, and economic conditions-may be related to these RSC and TWC participants' outcomes, as well as to the differences in outcomes. In Chapter III, we discuss these factors in detail.


[1] Some TWC participants may have dropped out of the program very soon after enrollment, before placement in transitional work.

[2] This pattern of recovery from a preprogram low is typically referred to as "Ashenfelter's dip," for his observation that adult participants in job training programs often have a dip in earnings prior to their decision to participate (Ashenfelter and Card 1985).

[3] The declines in the employment rate could be due in part to participants' taking out-of-state jobs, which would not be captured in the state wage data (Corson 1989).

[4] To account for differences in participants' entry into unsubsidized employment, we compared RSC participant outcomes to "lagged" outcomes for TWC participants (see Appendix). That is, we compared TWC participants' outcomes from quarter three after program entry to RSC participants' outcomes from quarter one after program entry. At these quarters, participants from both programs should have exited the program and entered unsubsidized work. This examination of outcomes reveals that the overall pattern does not change.

[5] The percentage of TWC participants who worked after program entry is particularly high because they participated in paid transitional work positions.

[6] The survey was designed as a broad instrument to collect data over all WtW programs included in the outcomes analysis for the national evaluation. Thus, it does not identify TWC participants' first unsubsidized job.

[7] We calculated these percentages by dividing the percentage who left their first job after program entry and were employed at another job one year after program entry by the percentage who left their first job after program entry.

[8] To make consistent comparisons across quarters, we include the full sample in these estimates, not just those with earnings who are working.

[9] In addition, participants in both programs had higher employment rates one year after program entry compared to one year before program entry.

[10] Some of these people may be employed outside the state.

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