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


WtW Operator/Program: Easter Seals, Project ABLE

Grant Administrator:Mayors Office of Workforce Development, Chicago

Provider Background:The mission of Easter Seals is to help people with disabilities achieve maximum independence by providing them with comprehensive services. The agency, which has seven offices in metropolitan Chicago, offered WtW services out of its office in west Chicago.

Target Population: Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who have disabilities

Statistics for the WtW Program Overall Vs. The Cost Analysis

  WtW Program Overall Cost Analysis Period
Period of Operations

4/1/00 to 6/30/02

7/01/00 to 6/30/01

Funding/Costs $1,099,130
(WtW grant/contract amount)
(total estimated costs for one year)
Enrollments Goal: 300 New: 142
Cumulative by end of period: 296
Unsubsidized Job Placements Goal: 160 New: 86
Cumulative by end of period: 86

Welfare-to-Work Program Services

Outreach and Recruitment:Easter Seals received its WtW participants from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), most of them from two offices in west Chicago. Easter Seals staff visited local IDHS offices to promote its services to the staff and to TANF recipients. Easter Seals staff promoted Project ABLE as a program providing specialized services for people with disabilities but was also open to those without disabilities. Most participants referred to Project ABLE did not have disabilities. Easter Seals also recruited outside of IDHS offices (for example, at foster homes).

Job Readiness and CaseManagement:Participants who enrolled in Project ABLE went through a standard intake and assessment process. After receiving an orientation on Easter Seals and the WtW program, participants returned the following day to start the two-day intake and assessment process. Participants were tested on their level of motivation, occupational interests, job readiness, and level of academic performance. They were also tested for substance abuse. Those who failed the substance abuse test were referred for further assessment and, if necessary, referred to treatment. Those who passed the substance abuse test proceeded to an orientation on the program and a tour of the facility. Case managers worked with participants to develop an individual employment plan that identified employment barriers and service plans. The case managers continued to work with participants throughout their enrollment in Project ABLE, monitoring their progress, assisting with job leads, coordinating support services, and updating IDHS. The day after participants met their case manager, they enrolled in a job readiness training workshop that met three hours a day for four weeks to provide participants with life and employability skills instruction. In the last two weeks of the workshop, the participants engaged in job search.

Paid Temporary Employment:During the same period that participants attended the job readiness training workshop, they also were placed in Easter Seals industrial workshop, which provided sheltered work and training. Participants worked three hours a day and were paid on a piecemeal basis that averaged about $6 an hour. Participants could stay in the workshop as long as they needed to typically, about a month.

Job Development and Placement:The Easter Seals job developers helped participants find employment opportunities. When the participants level of disabilities and skill required, the job developers located subsidized and on-the-job training placements.

Postplacement Followup: Easter Seals assigned a job coach to each employed person to work with them on job retention and advancement. The job coaches contacted participants twice a month during the first three months and monthly during the following three months. Participants and employers were asked to contact the job coach if problems arose. Participants were also expected to attend Easter Seals monthly Job Club meeting.

Support Services: Easter Seals provided participants with bus passes and made referrals to other providers to address other needs.


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