The WtW grants program was not a single intervention, but rather a funding stream that supported many programs. These programs used different approaches to promote employment, job retention, and career advancement, but many had common elements, which we call program components. To help us understand the similarities and differences across the programs included in the cost analysis, we disaggregated total WtW costs into program components.
How Total Costs Were Allocated
We broke down total WtW costs into program administration and six other basic program components, although individual WtW programs did not necessarily include all of these components. The other components were:
- Outreach and Recruitment. All activities specifically aimed at publicizing WtW program services and generating referrals or enrollments for the programs.
- Job Readiness and Case Management. Intake, assessment, service planning, and general case management activities occurring until placement in unsubsidized employment. This component also included structured job readiness workshops and other services aimed at enhancing the overall employability and job search preparedness of WtW participants.(8)
- Work Experience and Other Paid Temporary Employment. All activities related to the development of temporary work assignments (such as community service, work experience, or on-the-job training), as well as the placement and supervision of WtW participants in such positions. The purpose of these activities was to enhance participants' overall employability, help them develop job-specific skills, or both. These activities often involved the payment of wages, subsidies, and taxes to or on behalf of WtW participants, either by the WtW program operator or a different organization.
- Job Development and Placement. All activities to identify unsubsidized job openings (in the private or public sector) for WtW participants and help them secure such employment.
- Postemployment Followup. All WtW activities occurring after placement in unsubsidized employment (such as retention followup and bonuses, advancement-focused counseling, and occupational skills training).
- Support Services. All support services funded by WtW or other entities that were provided as a complement to TANF-funded assistance, either before or after placement in unsubsidized employment (mainly transportation, along with some child care and other services).
Whenever possible, we collected accounting information broken down by these program components, which made these allocations straightforward.(9) When such detail was unavailable, we worked with program staff and administrators to break down expenditures and allocate costs to key program components. Such allocations generally followed the allocation of staff members' time (that is, the percentages of their time spent on specific WtW activities). Program costs other than staff labor that were associated with a specific component (for example, supplies used specifically for outreach, or participant wages and taxes paid as part of work experience) were allocated to that component. While allocating costs across WtW program components in this way was an inexact process, our analysis disaggregates resource use by focusing on the most distinctive elements of the WtW programs and does not partition staff activities or functions to unnecessarily fine levels of detail. Thus, we believe that it presents a useful and reasonably accurate description of the costs of important program components.