Welfare-to-Work Grants Programs: Adjusting to Changing Circumstances. 2. Are WtW Grant-Funded Programs Affected by the Implementation of WIA?


Like TANF, the local WIA and One-Stop service delivery system is an important partner in the WtW grants program. Workforce investment boards are the most common local administrative entity for WtW grants, because according to the legislation, WIBs receive most of the state's formula grant funding, and also because many agencies also received some WtW competitive grants. In sites where the One-Stop Centers are directly involved with the WtW grant-funded programs, one might expect that those programs could be affected by policies specifically related to One-Stops. We asked administrators of WtW-funded programs whether they have been affected by the ongoing implementation of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, particularly the development of One-Stop Career Centers.

Nearly every WtW administrator in the study sites explained that their WtW grant-funded programs were not affected by any new WIA or One-Stop policies in 2002 or 2003. In the study sites, the One-Stop Centers were already operating by the time the WtW grants were received, and there were no major changes in those centers in 2002 or 2003. That meant that there was no disruption to the WtW grant-funded programs in 2003 or previously, simply because One-Stops pre-dated those programs.

The one noticeable exception among the study sites was Nashville, where in 2002, the local WIB decided to focus the workforce development system on economic development and relationships with businesses and employers. This was based on the belief that by strengthening the labor market and employer services, all job seekers in the community would benefit. One result of this shift in focus was that the contractual relationship between the TANF agency and the One-Stop operator, which had existed for many years, ended. This, in turn, meant that the previous link between the Pathways WtW program and the TANF work programs that had been implemented through the One-Stop vendor system ceased. Pathways in 2003 was considerably less integrated with other TANF services and funding than in 2001, and there was little likelihood of continuing the program with funds from either WIA or TANF.

Less dramatically, in Indiana, the WtW grantee (RVR) was also the WIA administrative entity for two local WIBs in 2001, but lost one of those contracts in 2002. This did not alter the nature of the WtW grant-funded programs, but did cause some fiscal pressure on the agency as a whole.

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