Understanding the Costs of the DOL Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. II. Measuring Program Costs


The goal of our cost analysis was to develop cost measures that were consistent across all programs and that captured all of the costs of WtW interventions. Consistent information is useful for assessing the outcomes of WtW grants programs and for budgeting new programs similar to them. Measuring the cost of WtW program operations consistently involved formulating definitions, assumptions, and procedures for data collection and analysis, which influenced the estimates developed. Therefore, an understanding of these definitions, procedures, and assumptions is essential to interpreting the cost estimates correctly.

In this chapter, we describe the procedures and conventions used to conduct the WtW cost analysis. We also present the three types of cost estimates developed: (1) total costs for one year of program operations, (2) allocations of total costs across major program components, and (3) total unit costs per participant and per job placement. Chapter III explores the cross-program variation in these cost estimates.

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