The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. What Was the Duration of Employment Preparation Services?


A WtW program following the prototypical design for employment preparation services would provide several weeks of job readiness training followed by a week or so of job search/placement assistance. But even programs in the evaluation that were broadly consistent with the prototypical design tended to modify it in significant ways. For example, programs in some of the study sites reflect a philosophy that employment outcomes for the individuals they serve can be optimized by the provision of extended job readiness training prior to job search or placement. Conversely, job readiness training is downplayed in some other programs that target individuals who have already demonstrated their employability.

The duration of job readiness training was quite varied across the study sites, with the median number of days of training among enrollees who received it ranging from 6 in Ft. Worth and St. Lucie County and 8 in Baltimore County to 44 in Boston and Philadelphia (Exhibit III.3). The short duration of job readiness training in St. Lucie and Baltimore counties reflects the fact that the JHU program was designed primarily to assist employed persons in achieving greater success in the labor market. In Ft. Worth, the short duration of such training is consistent with the emphasis on rapid transition to employment in that site's program design. However, when viewed in light of relatively poor employment outcomes for Ft. Worth enrollees, documented in the next chapter, the short duration of job readiness training may also be symptomatic of lapses in the delivery of services to those who needed them.(26)

The median duration of job readiness training was highest in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and West Virginia, consistent with the designs for these WtW programs, which specify the provision of extended job readiness training to all or to major segments of enrollees. For example, the design for the program operated by the Human Resource Development Foundation in West Virginia calls for all enrollees to participate in a four-week job readiness workshop prior to job placement. Exhibit III.3 shows that the median WtW enrollee in the West Virginia study site received 24 days of job readiness training. The program in Boston was based on two different designs, one of which entailed the provision of extensive training by major employers in the Boston area to prepare enrollees for jobs with those organizations. Enrollees in Boston received a median of 44 days of job readiness training.

The design and execution of job search/placement services was more consistent across sites, with much lower and less varied durations than job readiness training (Exhibit III.3). The median duration of job search/placement services was just 4 days or less in seven of the sites, and exceeded 10 days only in Boston.

The duration of ancillary services depended on their nature, the severity and complexity of the problems they were designed to address, and on the capacity of the enrollees to persist in the treatment. WtW enrollees typically received counseling, mediation, and legal services for short durations. The median duration of each of these services among those who received them in all of the study sites was 10 days or less for counseling and 4 days or less for mediation and legal services. In contrast, enrollees often received mental health services and substance abuse treatment for long durations. For example, WtW enrollees in Baltimore County and Boston who entered substance abuse treatment programs typically received services from those programs for about 100 days.

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