The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. Did Employed Enrollees Commonly Leave Their Jobs?


It was not at all unusual for WtW enrollees who had achieved employment to leave their jobs. Exhibit IV.8 shows that in all but two study sites, more than half of enrollees who were employed on or following program entry left their initial job during the follow-up year. The rate of exit from the initial job was highest  at least 70 percent  in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Yakima. It was lowest in Baltimore County and St. Lucie County, where the JHU program provided services designed to reduce job loss, and in Boston, where employer-sponsored programs fostered strong employee-employer bonds.

Enrollees who did leave their initial job tended to obtain another, rather than remain out of work. Nashville typified this pattern, with 57 percent of enrollees who left their initial job able to obtain another (Appendix Exhibit B.6). Five sites achieved higher reemployment rates  among them Yakima and West Virginia, where about two-thirds of enrollees who departed from their initial job moved to a new job. The mean number of jobs held by ever-employed individuals during the year following enrollment in WtW ranged from a low of 1.4 jobs in Boston and Chicago to a high of 1.8 jobs in Yakima (Appendix Exhibit B.6).(50)

The most common reason for departure from the initial job in most of the study sites was a voluntary quit (Exhibit IV.9). But in Philadelphia and Yakima half of enrollees lost their jobs because the work period had ended; this is not surprising, given that the design of the Philadelphia TWC program entailed placing WtW enrollees in six-month transitional jobs, and seasonal jobs are prevalent in Yakima's agricultural-based economy.(51)Dismissal by the employer for cause (firing) accounted for only 7 to 13 percent of departures from the initial job in sites other than the JHU sites, where it accounted for 17 percent of departures in Baltimore County and 18 percent in St. Lucie County.

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