Understanding the Costs of the DOL Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. WtW Program Profile: Chicago-Catholic Charities


WtW Operator/Program:Catholic Charities, Welfare-to-Work Program

Grant Administrator:Mayors Office of Workforce Development, Chicago

Provider Background:Founded in 1917, Catholic Charities is the social services arm of the Catholic Church. This nonprofit organization provides a range of services for low-income, disadvantaged households in metropolitan Chicago.

Target Population:WtW-eligible people

Statistics for the WtW Program Overall Vs. The Cost Analysis

  WtW Program Overall Cost Analysis Period
Period of Operations

7/1/98 to 6/30/01

1/1/00 to 12/31/01

Funding/Costs $3,807,177
(WtW grant/contract amount)
(total estimated costs for one year)
Enrollments Goal: 1,000 New: 350 Cumulative by end of period: 1,149
Unsubsidized Job Placements Goal: 775 New: 179
Cumulative by end of period: 314

Welfare-to-Work Program Services

Outreach and Recruitment:Most WtW referrals came directly through local Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices. Catholic Charities staff visited the local offices about once a month to distribute brochures and discuss Catholic Charities services and the progress of active WtW participants with IDHS staff. Occasionally, Catholic Charities staff made presentations at IDHS workshops and orientation sessions. Catholic Charities received a few referrals from its other programs.

Job Readiness and CaseManagement:Participants went through a one-hour orientation and several hours of assessment. The assessment included a one-on-one interview, the Test of Adult Basic Education, and a drug test. Those who failed the drug test were referred to Catholic Charities drug treatment program. Those who passed the drug test were immediately enrolled in a two-week job readiness class and the Pathways peer support group. In the job readiness class, participants learned planning, job search, job retention, and other essential skills. Pathways met monthly to help participants stay focused on their goals. It gave them the opportunity to work on soft skills, and to discuss problems they were encountering. While in job readiness activities, participants also attended a weekly job club meeting, where they could obtain job leads and general help structuring their job search.

Paid Temporary Employment:Participants without a job after three weeks of job search were placed in a subsidized job, for up to 30 hours per week, for up to six months. Participants received $5.15 per hour worked.

Job Development and Placement:A job developer was assigned to each participant after the participant completed the job readiness workshop or after enrollment, if the participant was job ready then. The job developers helped participants structure their job search and monitored their progress. Although the job developers gave participants some job leads, participants were responsible for developing their own job leads and structuring their job search. Participants continued attending the weekly job club while they searched for employment.

Postplacement Followup: Job developers tracked the progress of employed participants for the first 30 days. After the 30th day, the job developer turned the case over to retention specialists, who tracked the participants for another 150 days. Tracking was done through a combination of telephone and on-site meetings with the participant and the employer. Catholic Charities also operated a retention group that met on two Saturdays each month. It featured discussions and presentations on topics of interest to recently employed people (for example, taxes, individual development accounts, and training opportunities).

Support Services: Catholic Charities helped WtW participants with transportation, clothing, and tools.

Other:In 2001, Catholic Charities started to refer a small number of participants to short-term occupational training programs. Participants could access other programs operated by Catholic Charities, including domestic violence, housing assistance, emergency assistance, and child care services.

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