Understanding the Costs of the DOL Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. WtW Costs Compared to Earlier Programs

08/01/2002

The costs of WtW programs can be best understood against the backdrop of costs in programs of the past three decades. We compared estimated cost for the WtW programs, presented in earlier chapters, to cost estimates for 10 previously evaluated efforts to promote employment among welfare recipients and populations at risk of becoming welfare recipients. These earlier programs were part of distinct welfare policy regimes or important demonstration efforts: (1) four Work Incentives (WIN) models, (2) four Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) models, (3) the Supported Work demonstration, and (4) the Minority Female Single Parent (MFSP) demonstration.(1)

The costs of WtW programs appear to fall in the middle of the range of these programs' costs. As with WtW programs, these earlier models represented a variety of program strategies and a range of costs per participant (Table IV.1). Compared to these efforts, WtW programs were neither the least costly nor the most expensive (Figure IV.1).

Three characteristics of WtW programs help explain where they fall in the historical range of program costs. First, WtW programs targeted hard-to-employ individuals--earlier interventions did not always focus on, or even serve, such individuals. Second, WtW programs favored work over education but still emphasized human capital development in a different form. Third, WtW programs needed more intensive case management and related services to maintain this simultaneous focus on employment and human capital development with a hard-to-employ population.

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