The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. Did Enrollees Achieve Independence from TANF Through Employment?

02/01/2004

The movement of families off welfare and into work was the fundamental objective of both PRWORA and the legislation that authorized the WtW grants program. Perhaps the best available measure of the success of the program in achieving this objective is the proportion of enrollees who were employed and off TANF at the end of the evaluation's one-year follow-up period. In all of the study sites except the two hosting the JHU program, no more than 40 percent of enrollees were employed and off TANF one year after program entry (Exhibit V.4). In six of these nine sites, the proportion of enrollees who were on TANF and not working was about as large or larger than the proportion who were employed and off TANF  meaning that heavy dependency on welfare was more common than self-sufficiency.(61)

Becoming employed and leaving TANF is a milestone for a WtW enrollee, but securing employment even without leaving TANF is a noteworthy partial success. One year after entering the program, roughly 10 percent of WtW enrollees in most of the study sites were employed and on TANF (Exhibit V.4). Nashville, West Virginia, Philadelphia, and Yakima were the best-performing sites according to this measure, with values of 15 percent or higher.

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