Welfare-to-Work Grants Programs: Adjusting to Changing Circumstances. III. Adapting to the Economic and Policy Context

11/01/2003

The environment within which WtW grantees and programs operate is defined by the economy and by policies governing TANF and WIA. One might expect that both the local economy and state or local policies might affect WtW program operations, or cause administrators to change their service delivery system in some way. In general, though, we found that WtW grant-funded programs in the study sites have not made service delivery changes in response to the economy, TANF policies, or WIA policies. While the slow economy has reportedly affected how quickly participants are able to enter employment, administrators in most sites indicated that they did not find it necessary to change their programs because of the poor economy. Neither have the programs made changes because of the TANF time limits, in part because very few participants in these programs have reached their TANF time limit. No major changes were made to these WtW programs as a result of One-Stop Centers or WIA policies either. However, several program administrators noted that state TANF funds were becoming increasingly tight and that in some places TANF funds for work activities and related support services such as child care have been reduced and that those reductions affect WtW programs. That is, the fiscal effect of the poor economy on state budgets has affected some WtW programs that depended on state-funded services for their participants.

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