Understanding the Costs of the DOL Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. Focus on Employment for the WtW Population Has Required More Intensive Services

08/01/2002

Because they are dealing with the WtW target population and still focusing on employment, most WtW programs needed more intensive case management and more specialized staff than earlier programs. Both of these shifts have contributed to higher costs. Under WIN, welfare agencies primarily relied on eligibility workers to assess, then refer, AFDC recipients for placement services, which were provided mostly through local employment service offices (Levitan et al. 1972; and Mitchell et al. 1979). Under JOBS, welfare offices expanded case management to include more assessment, closer case supervision, and employment counseling, sometimes provided by specialized workers (Riccio et al. 1994).

Compared to these earlier programs, the core services offered by WtW represent a further intensification of individualized case management and other specialized services, for several reasons. First, all the WtW programs we examined offered postplacement services to help participants retain their jobs and potentially advance to better positions. Earlier programs usually did not provide such follow-up services. Second, some WtW programs had job developers and other placement staff who managed comprehensive or systematic placement components, and some programs even formed partnerships with local businesses or industries to fill positions for specific employers. Finally, some WtW programs were explicitly designed to be consistent with TANF work activity requirements. Hence, job readiness, case management, and employment activities were usually more structured and closely managed by staff, so that programs could insure that participants spent as many as 35 hours weekly in allowable work activities.

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