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Coordination and Integration of Welfare and Workforce Development Systems

Publication Date
Mar 19, 2000

Nancy Pindus
Robin Koralek
Karin Martinson
John Trutko

This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, under Contract No. HHS-100-95-0021, Delivery Order 29.В  The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

 

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the program staff of the twelve communities included in this study. They were most cooperative in scheduling the site visits and were generous with their time.

Oversight and review were provided by Nancye Campbell, Administration for Children and Families, and Audrey Mirsky-Ashby, Canta Pian, and Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to the authors of this report, the study team included Daryl Dyer, Pamela Holcomb, and Demetra Smith Nightingale.

Ordering Information

For a printed copy of this report, send your name, mailing address, and the title of this report to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

(202) 690-5880
(202) 690-6562 (fax)

List of Abbreviations/Acronyms

ABE

Adult Basic Education

AFDC

Aid to Families with Dependent Children.  Replaced by the TANF program.

DOL

U.S. Department of Labor

EITC

Earned Income Tax Credit

ES

Employment Service, also referred to as Job Service or JS

GAO

U.S. General Accounting Office

GED

General Equivalency Diploma, "high school equivalent"

HHS

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

JOBS

Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program.  The work program for AFDC.

JTPA

Job Training Partnership Act.  The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 replaced the Job Training Partnership Act.

LMI

Labor Market Information

PIC

Private Industry Council

PRWORA

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.  This Act replaced the AFDC program with the TANF program.

SDA

Service Delivery Area

TANF

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.  Replaced the old AFDC program.

UI

Unemployment Insurance

VR

Vocational Rehabilitation

WIA

Workforce Investment Act of 1998.  This Act (WIA) replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA).

WIN

Work Incentive Program

WtW

Welfare-to-Work Grants Program

Introduction

The policy context for both welfare programs and employment and training programs operated by the workforce development system has changed dramatically in the past few years. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 requires welfare agencies to focus more than in the past on moving welfare recipients into employment. PRWORA provides funding to welfare agencies in the form of a block grant, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), to support efforts to achieve this objective. The need to move more TANF clients into work activities and jobs means that TANF agencies need to expand or develop structural and organizational arrangements that make this possible, including coordinating with the workforce development system.

The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program provides additional funding to serve welfare recipients, but the resources flow through the employment and training system, now commonly called the workforce development system. WtW creates new incentives for the workforce development system to coordinate with the welfare system on behalf of welfare recipients. The workforce development system is also changing, moving towards universal access to employment related services and the use of technology to serve job seekers and employers better.

States and localities are responding to this dynamic environment in different ways, and their responses reflect historical relationships as well as current policy objectives. This study builds on earlier research in the area of service coordination and integration, and provides a current description of local operational interaction between welfare and workforce development programs. It is based on a review of the literature and site visits to twelve localities in six states. The main intent is to add to the understanding about how welfare recipients receive employment-related services. The study identifies different approaches to coordination, the advantages of coordination for clients, and factors that promote or impede coordination.

Welfare and Workforce Development Systems

The term "welfare" is commonly used in two ways  to refer to the broad array of "safety net" programs that support the needy; and to refer specifically to cash assistance for families. This study focuses on the latter, especially benefits and services funded under TANF.

The TANF block grant replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program (JOBS), and the federal Emergency Assistance program. Federal TANF block grant funds may be used for cash welfare payments to families with children, work activities for adult recipients, and supportive services designed to help recipients move from welfare into work. The new rules built into PRWORA increase the emphasis on work by imposing a five-year lifetime limit on receipt of federal welfare benefits (and permitting states to impose even shorter time limits), and require states to ensure that recipients are engaged in work activities.

The term "workforce development system" refers to a broad range of employment and training services and programs whose purpose is to enable job seekers and students to access a wide range of services and information about jobs, the labor market, careers, job placement, education and skills training, financing options, skills standards or certification requirements, and supportive services. The system also serves employers by posting job listings for employers and facilitating contacts with job seekers. While there is variation across states, there are several programs and agencies most likely to be part of the workforce development system. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) authorized the provision of employment and training services, through Private Industry Councils (PICs) in designated local service delivery areas (SDAs)(1), to economically disadvantaged adults and youths, dislocated workers, and special populations such as veterans, Native Americans, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The Employment Service (ES), authorized by the Wagner-Peyser Act, provides general labor exchange services to members of the labor force in need of jobs and employers seeking workers. The ES is operated through state employment security agencies, and is sometimes called the "Job Service." At the state and local levels, employment security agencies also develop and disseminate labor market information (LMI) and administer the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. In many, but not all states, both the ES and the JTPA administering agency are the same agency at the state level; and in several localities, the ES is the local administrator of JTPA (Martinson 1999).

In most states, much attention in the workforce development system is now focused on creating user-friendly one-stop career centers that provide job seekers and employers with access to a broad range of employment and training services at particular locations or through electronic linkages. As of April 1998, 46 states had received grants from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish one-stop centers. In many states these centers have become the focal point of the workforce development system, a trend reinforced by the recent enactment of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, which mandates the creation of one-stop career centers in all states by July 2000. The WIA was enacted to restructure and streamline multiple workforce development funding streams and ensure that employment and training services would be available to the public in the most efficient manner possible.

The Workforce Development System and Welfare Recipients

Employment-related programs administered by the workforce development system have been involved to varying degrees in state welfare programs over the past three decades. The ES had joint responsibility, with state welfare agencies, for the Work Incentive (WIN) program (the pre-JOBS program for AFDC recipients) in the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, the ES continues in some states to have a major role in providing employment-related services to TANF recipients (e.g., job search and job placement), even though there is no formal nationwide role for the ES in TANF work programs. ES-provided welfare services have often been delivered from locations separate from the main ES offices, sometimes with ES staff co-located with welfare staff, or vice versa.

In the past decade, a variety of models for providing employment-related activities for AFDC recipients were developed by states and localities under the JOBS program. The JOBS program left decisions about how to structure JOBS services largely up to states, but did stipulate that states and localities make use of existing education, employment, and training services in the community. Therefore, while welfare agencies were the lead administrative entity for JOBS, they entered into any number of arrangements, both at the state and local level, to operate JOBS programs and services. While there has been no comprehensive survey on how JOBS employment services were delivered in all states, descriptive information shows that welfare agency staff in many states provided job search assistance and other employment services. But, in a number of states, welfare agencies contracted with the ES or JTPA to deliver these services. In some states, JOBS programs were integrated into one-stop career centers that often included ES, JTPA, education, and other services. Also, because the emphasis in JOBS was on education, many arrangements included community colleges and other education providers. TANF, with its emphasis on work-first, stimulated new or increased (depending on past arrangements) linkages with the workforce development system.

The WtW Grants Program, authorized under the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1997, creates new incentives for the workforce development system to coordinate with the welfare system on behalf of welfare recipients. The grants are to be used by states and localities to help the least employable welfare recipients and the non-custodial parents of recipient children move into jobs with potential for upward mobility.(2)  WtW grants complement TANF in that the WtW federal funds are to be used for work-related activities and not for cash welfare payments. WtW grants are administered through the JTPA system of local PICs, in coordination with state and local TANF agencies.

Nearly all WtW grantees expect to receive most of their participants through referrals from the TANF agency. And, in order to assist their participants effectively, staff in WtW programs must be knowledgeable about the state's welfare policies, programs, time limits, and work requirements. Similarly, TANF agencies are actively encouraging or requiring clients to work and/or participate in work programs, one of which can be WtW. Thus, more than in the past, each type of agency has a need to understand policies and programs of the other (Nightingale, et al.1999).

Service Coordination and Integration in the Literature

A literature review completed earlier in this project (Martinson 1999, included as Appendix A of this report) formed the basis for the working concepts of coordination and integration applied to this study. Coordination generally refers to situations where two or more organizations work together, through a formal or informal arrangement, to meet one or more goals such as improving the effectiveness and/or cost-effectiveness of programs, improving access to services, avoiding the unnecessary duplication of services, and improving performance. There is generally a distinction between service integration and coordination. Integration is characterized by features such as common intake and "seamless" service delivery, where the client may receive a range of services from different programs without repeated registration procedures, waiting periods, or other administrative barriers. In contrast, coordinated systems generally involve multiple agencies providing services, but clients may have to visit different locations and re-register for each program to obtain services. Integrated services are sometimes, but not always, physically co-located.

Prior research into the coordination of employment and training and welfare programs offers only limited evidence of successful, sustained coordination and no single model or incentive that promotes successful coordination (Martinson 1999). Since this earlier research, there have been many changes in the political and economic context in which welfare and employment and training programs operate. Our study builds on this prior research, and also tries to identify what is new or different given the current environment.

Recently, several studies on service integration have been conducted that examine the new policy environment in both systems. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) conducted a study examining how employment services were provided to TANF recipients in five states (Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) (GAO 1999). While all of the states studied were early leaders in federal welfare reform and/or one-stop career center development, at the state level, four of the five states (Wisconsin being the exception) maintained the separate systems for workforce development and welfare that existed before the passage of federal welfare reform legislation. More integration occurred at the local level  three of the states brought in the workforce development system to varying degrees to deliver employment and training assistance to TANF clients in some localities. This study also found that no clear consensus existed on which approach best serves the welfare population  a survey of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regional officials indicated that 17 states use workforce development structures, 14 use welfare-dedicated structures, and the rest use various combinations.

Another study which focused on the implementation of the WtW Grants Program in four cities (Chicago, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and San Francisco) found that one of the most challenging aspects of establishing the program was coordinating relationships and procedures between the welfare and workforce development systems (Leonard 1999). Places that had strong working relationships prior to the WtW program were able to coordinate more effectively. The study noted that the lack of coordination contributed to the low number of referrals made to the program and resulted in a duplication of services in many instances.

A study of implementation in the first 11 states that received WtW formula funds (Trutko, Pindus, et al. 1999) also noted that, in the early months of implementation, one factor slowing recruitment of WtW-eligible participants was the need for workforce development agencies and welfare agencies to establish policies for sharing case information and referring eligible individuals to WtW. The study found that, in states where workforce development agencies had well-established relationships with welfare agencies at the state and local levels because of collaboration on JOBS or TANF work-welfare initiatives (such as Illinois, Michigan, and Oregon), these prior relationships helped to facilitate WtW start-up.

Finally, one study found that policies adopted under welfare reform may actually hinder coordination and other improvement efforts occurring in the workforce development system (Grubb, et al. 1999). This study on the reform of workforce development systems in ten states found that welfare reform and its focus on work-first was in direct contradiction with the workforce development system's mandate to improve skills and raise wages. Moreover, the pressures of welfare reform often exacerbated state and local tensions, alienated employers (who received poorly qualified referrals), and had spillover effects on policies for the non-welfare population.

These studies on service coordination and integration cover an early implementation period for new programs in the welfare and workforce development system. However, at this early stage, it appears that integrating the services provided by these systems continues to remain difficult, with no single preferred model.

Study Objectives, Scope, and Methods

The purpose of this study is to provide a current "snapshot" of coordination between the welfare and workforce development systems in the context of welfare reform and the stronger welfare focus on employment. Site visits examined the interaction between welfare and workforce development programs from the perspective of services receipt for the TANF client. The following understandings about service coordination guided our data collection and analysis:

  • Some degree of coordination or integration exists between the welfare and workforce development systems.
  • Coordination and integration improve service for the TANF client.
  • Agencies pursue coordination or integration because, in addition to improved service for their clients, there are potential benefits for their organizations.
  • Coordination and integration are influenced by:
  • Policy changes,
  • Past relationships, and
  • Environmental factors, such as the economy and demographics.
  • Agencies face challenges to coordination and integration including organizational, philosophical, and logistical barriers.

Sites selected represented a range of organizational structures, historical experiences, and economic and demographic variables, but were not selected randomly and do not provide a nationally representative sample. Site selection criteria included the proportion of welfare clients served by the JTPA system, the current state structure of the JTPA and welfare systems, urban/rural setting, and economic conditions. This approach contrasts with studies that focus on "best practice" sites.

Site visits were conducted between May and August 1999 to:

  • Missouri: Kansas City and Sedalia
  • Ohio: Cleveland, Dayton, and Painesville
  • Oregon: Portland and Salem
  • Pennsylvania: Beaver County and Pittsburgh
  • Rhode Island: Providence
  • South Carolina: Charleston and Manning

Site visits were conducted over a two day period. Discussions were held with about 10 to 12 respondents from local TANF agencies and workforce development agencies, including the ES, JTPA providers (and administering agencies), and WtW providers, with discussions tailored to the situation in each site. Agency directors, supervisors, and service delivery staff were included in the discussions. (Additional information about site selection, the study sites, and data collection methods can be found in Appendix B.)

This study primarily addresses local operational interactions between the TANF program and the main workforce development programs, within the context of state policy, by closely examining local service delivery. Two important limitations of the study should be noted. First, our observations and findings are based on only 12 site visits. While some broader conclusions are warranted based on similar findings across several sites and additional documentation in the literature, the study results are not nationally representative. Second, this study did not collect information directly from clients. Thus, the descriptions of client flow and service receipt are developed from discussions with service providers and administrators.

Structure of the Report

The structure of remainder of this report addresses the understandings stated above. Chapter II provides an overview of services provided and describes coordination and service delivery from both the client and the agency perspective. Chapter III discusses factors that promote coordination, and Chapter IV addresses challenges to coordination. The report concludes with lessons learned about coordination in the current service delivery climate and implications for the future. Appendices to the report include an earlier literature review completed for this project, a description of study methods and the sites included in the study, and a summary of agencies providing work-related services in the study sites.

Footnotes

1.  The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 replaces JTPA and replaces SDAs with local workforce investment areas. At the time of our site visits, states had not completed this transition. Therefore, in this report we refer to the relevant agency as the "JTPA/WIA agency."

2.  Three-quarters of the federal WtW funds are allocated to states according to a formula based on each state's share of the nation's population living in poverty and the number of adults on welfare. The rest of the funding is awarded to a variety of entities including state or local agencies, non-profit organizations, and Private Industry Councils on a competitive basis.

Coordination and Service Delivery

This chapter presents the findings of our field work from the service delivery perspective. Our focus is on TANF clients who are subject to work requirements, including how clients access services and what services are available to them. TANF clients can also access workforce development services independently, and many of the services described below for TANF clients are available to other job seekers as well. However, the various scenarios for service access and client flow outside of TANF were beyond the scope of this study.

In the second part of this chapter, we discuss how coordination can improve service for the client and for the agency, based on discussions with program staff, review of program materials, and on-site observations.

Overview of Services Provided

The general flow of services for an individual applying for cash assistance has changed under TANF. Prior to TANF, the typical sequence of activities at the welfare office was: eligibility screening, intake for cash assistance benefits, followed by an orientation on work-related program rules and services for those required to participate in work activities. Under TANF, the service sequence more often includes orientation for all clients, whether required to work or not. An individual applying for TANF now is generally provided with information materials and participates in an individual or group orientation, which typically provides an overview of the program, including eligibility requirements, the time-limited nature of TANF, the requirement to participate in work or work-related activities, and the circumstances under which someone might be exempt, at least temporarily, from work participation requirements.(3) Those not exempt must follow state/local rules regarding participation in order to receive TANF benefits.

A variety of activities and services are available to those who must meet TANF participation requirements (see Exhibit 1). As an individual moves from welfare intake into work, s/he may participate in the following activities and services: intake and eligibility determination; assessment; pre-employment or work preparation services (e.g., job readiness training, family life skills, general equivalency diploma (GED) or adult basic education (ABE) classes, basic skills training, job specific skills training); job development/placement services (e.g., job search/job club/job placement, labor market information); work experience; and post-employment services (e.g., retention services, advancement services). Under TANF, however, clients are more likely to engage in short-term pre-employment activities and job search than in skills training and education. In addition, case management services are provided to the client as s/he moves through these services.

Exhibit 1
Services for TANF Clients Required to Participate in Work Activities
Case Management
Pre-employment Services
  • Assessment
  • Job Readiness Training
  • Family Life Skills
  • GED/ABE
  • Basic Skills Training
  • Job-Specific Skills Training
Employment Services
  • Job Search/Job Club/Job Placement
  • Resource Room (Job Bank)
  • Labor Market Information (LMI)
  • Job Development
  • Work Experience
Post-Employment Services
  • Retention Services
  • Advancement Services (may include additional skills training)

Organizational Approaches and Client Flow

The enactment of TANF--with its emphasis on time-limited receipt of welfare benefits, work-first, and moving large numbers of TANF recipients off the welfare rolls into full-time, unsubsidized employment--has created an impetus for strengthening coordination between the welfare and workforce development system. Several key agencies/organizations can be involved in providing work-related services to TANF recipients: the welfare agency, the ES, the JTPA/WIA administering agency, the WtW administering agency, community colleges, and other subcontracted service providers, including community-based organizations and for-profit service providers.

In order to provide employment services to welfare recipients and help them move into jobs, state and local welfare agencies can (1) "go it alone" and provide the full gamut of employment-related services to move TANF recipients to jobs on their own, or (2) link with the workforce development system to share some or all of the work-related functions required to move TANF recipients into jobs. For example, a welfare agency might choose to run a four-week job readiness workshop for TANF recipients using its own agency staff, at one of its own agency offices. Alternatively, the welfare agency might choose to link with a workforce development agency (such as a JTPA/WIA agency) that may already be running such workshops and refer non-exempt TANF recipients to the workshop.

There are many potential services--particularly work-related services--where it might make sense for a welfare agency to link with a workforce development agency. Welfare agencies could:

  • keep some functions totally in-house--for example, intake, eligibility determination, and sanctioning, and also some employment-related services such as job search;
  • share responsibility for other services with a workforce development agency--for example, initial orientation, assessment, ongoing case management, provision of support services, and provision of post-employment services; or
  • rely almost entirely upon workforce development agencies for other services--for example, job readiness training, family life skills, GED, or ABE classes, basic skills training, job specific skills training, supported work experience, and job development/placement services (e.g., job search/job club/job placement, and labor market information).

In general, we found that those services most directly associated with cash assistance, such as eligibility determination and sanctioning, were the most likely to be kept in-house by the TANF agency. Orientation, case management, and support services were more often shared by coordinating agencies. TANF agencies were more likely to use workforce development providers for more specialized services such as job skills training, GED preparation, and job development services.

In our site visits, however, we found substantial variation in the extent and scope of coordination between welfare and workforce development agencies. Appendix C provides detailed information on which agencies provide which services in each of the study sites. In some localities, there were few links between the two systems; in other localities, the two systems were highly integrated with one another. For example, the local sites we visited varied substantially in terms of the numbers of and types of organizations linked, the ways in which coordination had evolved, the types of work-related services integrated, and numbers of individuals referred between agencies.

To further illustrate the range of service delivery configurations, we have identified three broad organizational approaches: welfare-centered, shared responsibility, and highly integrated. Exhibit 2 identifies the approach that best describes each of the study sites. These are broad classifications, and several variations were observed within the welfare-centered and shared responsibility models. The boxed examples from our site visits illustrate, from a service receipt perspective, the various approaches to providing work-related services for TANF recipients.

Exhibit 2
Service Delivery Approaches
Welfare-Centered

Sedalia, Missouri
Cleveland, Ohio
Providence, Rhode Island
Charleston, South Carolina
Manning, South Carolina

Shared Responsibility

Kansas City, Missouri
Painesville, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Beaver County, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Highly Integrated

Dayton, Ohio

Welfare-Centered

This is the traditional welfare agency approach, adapted to meet the participation requirements and time limits of TANF. Five of the sites visited follow a welfare-centered approach (Sedalia, Cleveland, Providence, Charleston, and Manning). The following characteristics distinguish these programs:

  • Clients typically receive most of their work-related services at the welfare agency and the welfare agency staff or policy determines the plan of services.
  • Referrals to other workforce development programs are most likely to occur after the client has participated in a series of activities provided by the welfare agency.
  • Even when services are provided by workforce development agencies under contract to the welfare agency, the services are exclusively for welfare recipients. That is, welfare recipients generally are not served with other customers of the workforce development programs.

Charleston provides an illustration of this approach, where the welfare agency is the hub of work-related services for TANF clients. Providence, which focuses on education and training for those who are not yet close to reaching their TANF time limits, offers an example of a variation in this approach.

Overall, in site sites visited, the welfare-centered approach offered some examples of good coordination with workforce development agencies, but the range of work-related services may be limited based on the sequence of activities and providers established by the welfare agency. On the other hand, those services that are required are primarily consolidated in one location and readily accessible to the client.

Charleston:  Work-Related Services at the Welfare Office
  • A new TANF applicant signs in with the receptionist and is assigned to an orientation session. The TANF agency has 30 days in which to approve the application for cash assistance, during which time the individual is conducting a self-directed job search. Following approval for cash benefits, the client's case is officially opened and s/he meets with a case manager to develop a plan for work-related services.
  • Next, a client may complete a basic skills assessment. Typically, a client will then attend two weeks of family life skills and two weeks of job club before participating in eight weeks of self-directed job search. All of these activities are directed by welfare agency employees and are held at the welfare office. The family life skills classes address a broad range of topics, such as time management, self-esteem, personal and family health, and family budgeting. Job club addresses job readiness skills such as resume preparation, interviewing skills, and appropriate workplace attire and behavior.
  • Job search involves using resources at the welfare office such as help wanted advertisements from daily newspapers, job requests submitted by employers, and job listings provided by the state ES. The client is expected to use these resources and any personal referrals to complete three to four employer contacts per week.
  • If the client has not obtained a job after completing these activities, the TANF agency has a variety of other workforce-related classes and training options that they provide in-house. These include computer-based programs that help the client identify job interests, learn about skills needed for particular jobs, and brush up on basic skills. Work experience placements are also offered. If a TANF client is in need of more specialized services, such as vocational rehabilitation or substance abuse treatment, the case manager makes a referral to the appropriate agency. When a client has fewer than 12 months left on cash assistance, s/he is referred to the WtW program operated by the JTPA/WIA agency at the one-stop career center. Welfare staff work with the one-stop center to facilitate communications and problem-solving for individual clients, especially if questions come up about participation requirements, sanctions, or approved work activities.
Providence:  Early Emphasis on Education and Training
  • A client entering the welfare office is seen by an eligibility worker who determines eligibility for TANF cash assistance. If the client is mandated (or volunteers) to participate in employment activities, s/he is referred to a social worker at the welfare office. 
  • The social worker completes an assessment and employment plan with the client. During the first two years on TANF, clients can choose from a range of programs, and many are referred to education and training. The social worker will discuss GED classes, basic skills training (e.g., math and reading), and training programs for specific jobs, such as customer service and certified nurse aide, depending upon the client's interests and background. The social worker then makes the agreed-upon referral and monitors the client's participation. Employment-focused activities like job search workshops are required after two years, but are also available to those who are "job ready" and interested in obtaining a job as soon as possible. Employment-focused activities are provided by the ES under contract to the welfare agency and are held at the ES. Very few, if any, direct referrals are made from TANF to WtW or JTPA/WIA. These programs do their own recruitment of TANF clients.

Shared Responsibility

In six of the programs visited (Kansas City, Painesville, Portland, Salem, Beaver County, and Pittsburgh), responsibility for providing work-related services to welfare clients was shared by the welfare agency and the workforce development system, usually the JTPA/WIA agency. Although the services provided are very similar to those provided in the welfare-centered programs, the following characteristics distinguish programs described as shared responsibility:

  • Clients typically receive work-related services from welfare and workforce development providers simultaneously.
  • Welfare and workforce development providers are more likely to work as a team in providing case management, job readiness, and other services.
  • Rather than a fairly "generic" sequence of services for all clients, a number of work-related service packages are available to clients, with some packages designed for particular subgroups of clients. Clients are assigned to particular service packages through a combination of client preference, case manager referral, and criteria established by the welfare agency and the workforce development provider.

Beaver County offers an example of a shared responsibility approach that includes the welfare agency, the JTPA/WIA agency, and a community college. A variation of this approach, where a range of organizations participate in an upfront assessment program, was observed in Salem.

Beaver County:  Welfare Agency, Job Training Agency, and Community College as Partners
  • The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) program is designed to provide a comprehensive package of services to promote self-sufficiency. A client is eligible for SPOC if s/he is receiving TANF and/or food stamps, has completed an 8-week job search, and does not meet WtW eligibility requirements, but needs additional training in order to obtain employment. Participation in SPOC requires a referral from a welfare caseworker. Services include GED preparation, job readiness/job search, paid work experience, subsidized employment, retention services, and skills upgrading. 
  • The SPOC program is operated by Beaver County Community College, under a subcontract with the JTPA/WIA agency. All services are provided on-site at the community college. Clients are served by a case management team that includes the SPOC case manager, the coordinator of work programs for the JTPA/WIA agency, and a welfare case manager.
  • A client begins with an open entry/open exit program (e.g., class topics run in a repeating sequence so a client can start with any class session) that includes job readiness, job search, parenting, and life skills. During this period a client also meets individually with a job developer and accesses the resources of the community college's career planning and placement office. 
  • Subsequent activities and schedule are tailored to the client's needs. For example, a client may fulfill her/his work activity requirement by participating in a GED class three afternoons a week and working in subsidized employment 25 hours per week 
Salem:  Up-Front Assessment Program for all TANF Applicants Involves Partner Agencies
  • As part of the pre-application process, a TANF applicant must participate in a 45-day up-front assessment program. Salem's up-front assessment program, called Basic Employment Skills Training (BEST), is an open-entry/open-exit program (e.g., class topics run in a repeating sequence so a client can start with any class session) made up of 16 different topical presentations related to getting and keeping a job. BEST components are taught by the welfare agency and partner agency staff such as the community college, the JTPA/WIA agency, the housing authority, the child care information service, and the county mental health agency.
  • During this period, a client also engages in monitored job search activities and receives ongoing assistance, if needed, from her/his case manager and other partner staff. BEST is designed to be a 45-day program, but participants often find a job during that time and do not complete all of the components.

The shared responsibility approach generally requires a greater degree of coordination than the welfare-centered approach. Successful implementation of this approach can offer a wider choice of services for clients and build on the specialized expertise of various workforce development providers. However, depending upon the complexity of the arrangement, inadequate communication can create confusion for clients as they interact with multiple agencies.

Highly Integrated

Only one site visited, Dayton, had highly integrated welfare and workforce development services for TANF clients. Highly integrated programs have the following characteristics:

  • TANF clients receive all of their welfare and employment and training services through one system, although services may or may not be provided in a single location.
  • TANF clients receive work-related services alongside other job seekers and there is no distinction made between welfare recipients and other customers.
  • Since all staff are part of the same system, there is "no wrong door" for the client. That is, any service provider that the client encounters will be familiar with the services available and able to initiate the enrollment process.

In Dayton, all services are provided at one of the largest one-stop career centers in the country, known as the Job Center. Furthermore, for most services, including welfare eligibility determination and enrollment, the one-stop is the only location in the city. Unlike any other county in Ohio, the Montgomery County (which includes Dayton) welfare agency and the JTPA/WIA agency merged several years ago. Thus, a major partner in the one-stop integrates welfare and workforce development functions. The Job Center serves all job seekers, not only those receiving cash assistance. The Job Center does not distinguish between welfare recipients and others when filling employer requests for job candidates. The Dayton example illustrates an approach to providing work-related services to TANF clients that may be viewed as the furthest along a continuum of welfare-workforce system coordination.

Dayton:  Highly Integrated Services at a One-Stop Career Center
  • An individual applies for TANF at the One-Stop Career Center, where s/he is greeted at the center's reception desk. The receptionist refers the individual to the appropriate provider within the Center based on the services s/he is requesting. The Job Center is the only location in the city for welfare eligibility determination and enrollment. If the individual is in need of TANF, he/she is sent to the welfare agency (i.e. Department of Human Services, DHS) reception area. Here, the individual will first meet with a DHS screener, who discusses general types of assistance available and completes the first few screens of a client record in the welfare data system. In this county DHS is merged with the JTPA/WIA agency, so many of the other services the client receives are also provided by DHS staff or contractors. 
  • After viewing an orientation video, the TANF applicant is referred to one (of the nine) DHS units housed at the Job Center. During the initial visit, the individual will meet with a DHS eligibility specialist, a DHS work activities specialist, and a DHS-contracted (through Goodwill Industries) case manager. The applicant will also be introduced to the many other types of services available throughout the Job Center. All of this occurs in the initial visit, which typically takes 2-3 hours. 
  • The DHS eligibility specialist will take the individual through the eligibility determination process for cash assistance, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other types of assistance, and will discuss grant diversion--if it seems appropriate. Necessary data screens will be completed to determine eligibility and the individual receives a listing of documents s/he will need to submit to DHS before her/his application can be finalized. 
  • Next, the TANF applicant meets with a DHS work activities specialist to discuss TANF work requirements and the various available work assignment options. The DHS work activities specialist also takes the client to the Job Center's Job Bank to familiarize the individual with the job search resources available at the Center (including computerized job listings maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services). Following this meeting, the applicant meets with a Goodwill case manager, who reviews the various types of support services that are available. 
  • The Goodwill case manager tracks the client's progress throughout her/his involvement in TANF, helping to arrange for support services, serving as an advocate in securing needed services, and troubleshooting problems as they arise. In subsequent visits to the Job Center to meet with the Goodwill case manager, the TANF recipient may access a variety of services available at the Job Center through the 47 agencies located on-site. For example, among the services available for job seekers (anyone from the general public may use Job Center facilities) are: lists of available job openings; labor market information; information on all local education, training, and re-training programs; hiring requirements; assistance with job search skills; resume preparation; free access to a telephone and fax machine; and typing and word processing tests/tutorials. 
  • TANF recipients also take part in the activities that the Job Center hosts for area employers. For example, the Center screens and tests job seekers, takes job applications, sponsors job fairs, and provides space for employers to conduct recruitment and even some job training activities. The Center also works with employers to customize training programs, link employers with educational and training facilities, and provide funds for training of TANF recipients, dislocated workers, and others. Companies come to the Job Center to recruit workers, including entry-level workers, as well as high-skilled workers. TANF participants are blended in with other job applicants from the general public for many recruitment activities conducted by employers at the Job Center and in referrals of applicants to fill job openings.

Advantages of Coordination for the Client

Although coordination occurred in different ways, for sites that were able to achieve a relatively coordinated program, it generally resulted in a variety of advantages for TANF clients, such as availability of a wider range of services, easier access to services, and improved case management due to information sharing by staff. These benefits, each of which are discussed in turn below, may be particularly helpful in serving clients facing multiple barriers to employment.

Referrals to more services and to a wider range of services

Availability of expanded services is often the result of referral agreements or contractual relationships between coordinating agencies. For example, linkages between a welfare agency and ES bring job listings and labor market information to welfare clients and introduce welfare clients to a resource that can continue to serve them as they progress in the job market. Linkages between a welfare agency and a JTPA/WIA agency may result in availability of a wider range of employment and training services for welfare recipients, including increased access to employers. More than half of the sites visited refer some clients with physical or mental disabilities to vocational rehabilitation agencies.

Coordination may also lead to greater intensity of services to clients. Linkages with other agencies may reinforce the services that are provided through the welfare agency. For example, WtW programs may provide more comprehensive or more intensive job preparation services for those with greater barriers to employment. Linkages between the welfare agency and community colleges might enable the welfare agency to more thoroughly assess the abilities and occupational interests of clients or may provide customized training opportunities.

Both welfare and workforce development providers indicate that more of their current caseload is hard-to-serve, that is, they face multiple barriers to employment and, once employed, require additional supports to remain employed. Typical barriers include substance abuse and mental health problems, low basic and family life skills, and little to no work experience. This population requires intensive services to help them become job-ready. More intensive services might result from the agency being able to combine resources to serve a client. For example, welfare and workforce development agencies may be able to use resources from their respective programs to provide a more comprehensive package of support services for a client. The following are brief examples from our site visits.

  • In Manning, ES staff go to the welfare office one day a week to register individuals with the Job Service and introduce them to job listing information. They also conduct a job search program when this service is requested by the welfare office. The program includes topics such as how to dress for work and how to apply for job openings.
  • In Charleston, the welfare agency has several memoranda of understanding with agencies to provide services for welfare clients, including the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Department, the local school systems (primarily for adult education), and Trident Technical College. Welfare clients participated in a customer service certification course at Trident Technical College geared towards job openings in call centers. The welfare agency's Workforce Consultant/Job Developer is working with the Trident Technical College to develop additional training components that would be beneficial for welfare clients.
  • In Kansas City, the workforce development agency added additional components focusing on life skills to its job readiness training for WtW clients. ES staff in Kansas City noted a change in their customers over the past three to four years, with many more customers lacking social skills and an understanding of the world of work. They are responding by looking more broadly at customers' situations, focusing on their barriers, and referring them for additional assistance or counseling. In part, this is due to their co-location and cross-training with TANF and other social service programs.

Improved Access to Services

In several sites, a major benefit of coordination is improved access to services, either through simplified referral processes or more convenient location of services. A simplified client referral process might mean the client faces fewer obstacles when seeking services from another agency because the agency knows about the welfare program and has already received some basic information about the client. Coordination tends to make each of the agencies more aware of services that the others are providing, resulting in more appropriate client referrals. Thus, clients are less likely to be turned away or to find that the services do not meet their needs. There are certain leverage points in the client flow process where improved access seems particularly helpful to the client and where coordination can be most effective. Examples include access to on-the-job training, to employers, and to specialized training or support services.

  • The welfare agency in Kansas City sends information on all WtW referrals to the JTPA/WIA agency via fax. The information, which is sent weekly, includes name, social security number and "time on TANF." This process eliminates some of the up-front paperwork for the WtW staff and creates a smoother referral process for clients.
  • In Pittsburgh, the welfare office and its contractors use common forms for intake and client tracking. The Automated Information Management System (AIMS), a state system, is used by welfare caseworkers and by agencies that receive referrals, so client information is easily shared.
  • In Manning, most welfare clients referred to VR come with a written referral and a physician's statement listing their disabilities. This helps the VR counselor identify the client's functional limitations.

One benefit of coordination for clients is the convenience of having several or all agencies in one location. In some instances, agencies are co-located in the same building or at a one-stop. Another approach used in many programs we visited is out-stationing of staff--i.e., the full or part-time locating of staff at another agency. Nine of the 12 sites visited in our study either co-located some services or outstationed workers. Both types of coordination can facilitate referrals to another agency (e.g., clients might be seen the same day by the other agency) and reduce travel time and other access barriers for clients. For example:

  • In Salem, TANF case managers work closely with partner staff. Informal and formal joint staffings with partner staff and clients represent a key component of Salem's approach to providing more comprehensive and coordinated services. The TANF agency shares its facilities with staff from the ES, the JTPA/WIA agency, VR, Child Support Enforcement, county mental health services, county drug treatment, the housing authority, and many others. Co-location of partner staff facilitates staff's ability to hold informal joint staffings in order to discuss how best to address an individual client's needs as they arise.
  • In Charleston, welfare case managers refer customers to the one-stop for employment and training services. Partners at the one-stop include the JTPA/WIA agency, the local technical college, public school adult and community education programs, ES, Goodwill Industries, the Department of Social Services, Henkels &McCoy, Incorporated (a computerized learning lab funded through JTPA), and other community-based human services organizations.
  • The Job Center in Dayton, Ohio is located on the outskirts of Dayton's downtown and is easily accessible by car or bus (e.g., six buses stop at the center each hour and there are a total of about 1,000 parking spots at the center). The Job Bank is centrally located within the Job Center (next to the reception desk) and anyone--whether receiving welfare or not receiving welfare--can use the facility. TANF and ES jointly staff the Job Bank, providing counseling, job leads, individual assessments, and a range of other services to help job seekers to secure employment.

Improved Case Management

A third benefit of coordination for clients is improved case management. When staff of coordinated programs share information and communicate regularly, they can better understand and address the client's needs. Several of the sites visited indicated that staff of partner programs meet regularly to discuss specific client cases or meet together as a team with clients.

  • In Charleston, the VR counselor participates in joint staffings with welfare case managers and conducts in-service training as needed. VR staff noted that, as joint staffings with welfare case managers increased, referrals for VR services became more frequent and appropriate. Counselors send copies of the Individual Plan for Employment to the welfare case manager and provide weekly updates.
  • In Pittsburgh, staff of the welfare agency and the JTPA/WIA agency speak almost daily. The county welfare agency shares space with the Job Center located on the south side of town. Direct service teams for the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) program include the SPOC case manager and job developer (who are subcontractors to the JTPA/WIA agency), as well as the welfare case coordinator and a Job Service representative. These teams meet together with clients on a regular basis.

In summary, our site visits identified a number of examples of coordination between welfare and workforce development programs. The sites visited varied in the extent to which the welfare agency was the center of work-related activities for TANF clients, but benefits to clients were noted in each of the service models.

Advantages of Coordination for Agencies

Efforts to promote coordination often involve changes in agency operations which, in addition to improving service delivery to clients, can provide other advantages for staff and administrators. Organizational strategies that facilitate coordination, such as state and local level contracts, co-location of staff, and joint planning affect the daily interactions and job responsibilities of staff. These activities may have a positive effect on interagency communication, resource sharing, access to specialized services, and relationships with the community.

Increased Knowledge and Communication Among Agency Staff

Coordination often results in increased knowledge and communication among the staff of coordinated agencies. Through monthly planning meetings of managers across agencies and the weekly, or sometimes even daily, contact that occurs between case managers in coordinated agencies, workers find that they learn much more about the other programs and develop ongoing working relationships. As a result, caseworkers and other service providers find it easier to make referrals, solve problems concerning individual clients, and monitor clients across programs. Sometimes, coordination will include the development of shared case management systems, which lead to better monitoring of services provided to clients.

  • In Salem, TANF case managers work closely with staff from the WIA/JTPA agency, ES, VR, and other partner agencies. Co-location of partner staff facilitates the staff's ability to hold informal staffings to discuss how best to address clients' needs. Weekly staff meetings are held at the TANF agency to provide a forum for service providers to talk about their programs and the services that are available for TANF recipients.
  • In Charleston, staff at the one-stop center use a common intake form for everyone who comes in and consider each individual's personal situation and barriers to employment before referring them to the appropriate partner agency. One-stop staff are creating a single management information system for use by partner agencies.
  • In Manning, a signed memorandum of agreement outlines the responsibilities of TANF and WtW staff. Primarily, TANF case managers are responsible for identifying potential clients, determining their eligibility for WtW, and referring them to the WtW program. Case managers from both programs participate in the initial meeting with prospective clients. WtW case managers conduct WtW eligibility screenings on-site at the TANF office. They then enroll clients and conduct assessments. Monthly evaluations of individual clients' progress, including verification of employment, are reported to the TANF program. TANF recipients continue to report to their TANF case manager, as needed.

Resource Sharing and Reduction of Duplicative Agency Efforts

Several of the sites report that coordination enables them to obtain additional resources to serve their clients. This is accomplished by sharing resources, such as staff, facilities, information, and information systems. For example, linkages between TANF and ES might provide the TANF agency with access to available job listings within the ES computerized job bank. Co-location of two agencies within the same building may enable agencies to share conference or classroom space.

Coordination may also help to reduce unnecessary duplication. For example, much of the information needed by agencies serving the same or overlapping populations can be elicited in a single interview, if the agencies jointly plan the intake interview and forms. This approach can realize time savings both for the agency and the client. Joint planning can avoid duplication of services by dividing agency tasks and responsibilities and can also assist in identifying additional funding sources.

  • Agencies in Kansas City have developed a unique way of accessing all available funding sources. The JTPA/WIA agency that operates the WtW program enrolls clients and then allocates funding based on eligibility requirements. They fax a list of clients to a local coordinating council that serves as the fiscal agent for welfare and work-related grants. The coordinating council has access to state-level TANF and Child Support Enforcement databases, enabling them to verify TANF participation and child support payments. The JTPA/WIA agency uses this information to determine which funding stream(s) should be used to pay for a particular client's services. This eliminates the need for the TANF agency to provide the WtW program with a list of TANF recipients that may be WtW-eligible, an often time consuming process.
  • In Portland, as part of the planning process for one-stop implementation, agencies determined which services each organization would provide in an effort to avoid duplication. For example, ES used to facilitate job search workshops; now, they refer customers to a JTPA/WIA provider for this service.
  • In Sedalia, the JTPA/WIA agency is working with the county's local collaborative on several initiatives, including a multicultural forum, transportation, and "brainstorming" on an application for WtW discretionary funds. Collaboration between the JTPA/WIA agency, the TANF agency, and the local collaborative is credited with starting a fixed route bus service in Sedalia.

Agencies Can Specialize in Areas of Expertise

Coordination may allow agencies with complementary strengths to focus on what they do best. For example, some agencies may have closer linkages with certain types of employers that are better suited to the specific needs of clients or are located in communities that are more accessible for clients. Some agencies offer the specialized support services needed to prepare clients for employment and keep them employed.

  • In both Manning and Charleston, welfare case managers work closely with VR counselors, who provide services for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Caseworkers have indicated that VR is an important resource as many of the clients remaining on welfare face barriers to employment that require these specialized services. In Manning, VR outstationed a counselor at the welfare agency one day per week until a local VR office opened in the town. In Charleston, VR outstations a counselor at the welfare office one day per week, and the counselor participates in joint staffings with welfare case managers.
  • In Painesville, agency administrators see the complementary nature of the roles of the TANF agency and the JTPA/WIA agency. For example, it was noted that the JTPA/WIA agency brings a close relationship with employers, which enhances the chances of job placement for TANF recipients. The JTPA/WIA agency is under contract to the county welfare agency to provide orientation and a job club/job search program for TANF recipients. The services are provided at the JTPA/WIA agency, which is located just down the street from the welfare office. Also, the JTPA/WIA agency can refer TANF recipients to JTPA for longer-term training, and the agency has knowledge of, and links to, local training providers.

Improved Image with Clients, Employers, and the Community

Through coordination, some agencies improve their image with clients, employers, and the public-at-large. This enhanced image results from several factors. In some cases, it is simply because coordination results in more effective and efficient delivery of services to clients, providing a clear point of contact for referrals and streamlined procedures. In some instances, an enhanced image results from an ability to alter the community's perception of an agency because it is linked with another agency or agencies. For example, two agencies might come together in a locality to form a single integrated entity, which is given a new name. This new entity may--in the view of clients, employers, and the public-at-large--be able to draw upon the perceived strengths of each individual organization and shed an image of bureaucracy or inefficiency.

  • In Dayton, respondents indicated that a focus on serving a wide range of customers helped to broaden the base of organizations willing to co-locate at the one-stop. The center made a conscious effort to not project an image of serving only welfare recipients. Early connections with employers and the Chamber of Commerce gave the one-stop center credibility and a focus on job placement. A concerted effort was made to bring a diversified population to the center, which included professional and highly-skilled workers.
  • In Charleston, all one-stop decision making is done by consensus in an effort to promote a team-building atmosphere. Three teams were created to guide the operations of the one-stop. The Executive Management Team is comprised of the executive directors from each of the partner agencies and meets monthly. They provide regular and final input into center operations. The Center Management Team is comprised of the partner agencies' on-site directors. They guide day-to-day operations and problem solve. The Functional Team is made up of line staff and focuses on continuous improvements for the one-stop.

In summary, agencies may benefit from coordination in a variety of ways. Beyond improving client services, a relatively coordinated program can improve interagency communications and improve resource utilization. Staff at all levels of the organization may face fewer administrative barriers and the organization's relationship with the community may benefit as well.

Footnotes

3.  Under TANF, states are required to engage a specified proportion of recipients in federally defined allowable work activities. States have flexibility in determining who is subject to the work requirement and the range of allowable activities.

Factors that Promote Coordination

In this chapter, we examine factors that promote coordination, paying particular attention to what distinguishes the current environment and operational relationships from past coordination initiatives. Prior research indicates that there is no single model of coordination and no method that guarantees coordination. Yet, across the sites visited, many of the same factors are in evidence and play important roles in promoting coordination.

Previous History of Coordination

A previous history of working together was often cited as an important factor in agency coordination. In many of the sites visited, current organizational relationships reflect the arrangements that were in place as far back as the WIN program in the 1960s and 1970s. For example, ES continues to be an important partner in work-welfare activities, as noted in 8 of the 12 of the sites visited. In several of the sites, current relationships between the welfare and workforce development systems build upon the structure established for administering the JOBS program.(4)  In Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, the JOBS program represented the first time that welfare and JTPA agencies worked together to serve clients.Having worked together on prior initiatives often meant that agency staffs had an awareness of the other programs' objectives and operations and had developed collegial relationships.

  • In Providence, the ES agency has had a contractual relationship with the welfare agency to provide a range of employment services to welfare recipients for over 20 years. They continue to provide job search and job readiness activities under TANF, and are also adding a job retention component.
  • In Kansas City, the welfare agency and the JTPA/WIA agency began co-locating staff and sharing responsibility for services in 1994 under an AFDC waiver demonstration - the 21st Century Welfare-to-Work Program. The welfare agency provides eligibility and application processing and case management services, while job development and job matching is handled by the JTPA/WIA agency. The WtW program was built on the same model, whereby the welfare agency continues to provide case management services and the JTPA/WIA agency provides more specialized workforce development services.
  • In Pittsburgh, the welfare agency staff report that they have always had a good working relationship with the JTPA program, dating back to implementation of the JOBS program in 1987. This description was echoed by staff of the JTPA/WIA agency. Employment and training caseworkers from the welfare office are on site at the JTPA/WIA agency two days per week, and staff of the two agencies speak almost daily.

Local Economic Factors

A strong economy and low unemployment often lead to high levels of coordination among welfare and employment and training agencies. The tight labor market in many locales has created an environment conducive to the placement of TANF recipients in the workforce. As a result, both workforce development agencies and employers work more closely with the welfare agency to employ TANF recipients.

TANF clients have become sought after "customers" by some workforce development programs. When employers have fewer job applicants to a higher number of job openings they are more receptive to working with programs serving disadvantaged clients (Burbridge and Nightingale 1989). Current labor market conditions have forced many employers to seek out alternative sources, such as WtW and TANF work programs, for recruiting job applicants. In several sites, it has also forced employers to dispel many of their reservations about hiring welfare recipients (i.e., that welfare recipients do not make good employees because of their lack of skills and work experience). Coordination between welfare and workforce development agencies provides more customers for the workforce development agency and the employers they serve, and it enables the welfare agency to offer a wider range of employment-related opportunities for clients. A well-coordinated system and a good economy allow TANF and workforce development agencies to share in the success of placing clients in gainful employment.

As the welfare system has become more employment-focused, welfare agencies have expanded their relationships with employers to create more opportunities to place clients in jobs  both subsidized and unsubsidized. Some TANF agencies have found that coordinating with workforce development providers improves access to employers. In some locations, employers have found themselves bombarded by agencies and organizations trying to place job applicants, and coordination helped to streamline communications and improve relationships with employers.

  • In Charleston, job placement efforts are coordinated through an interagency team of job developers that includes representatives from JTPA/WIA, the welfare agency, WtW, and the ES. They meet on a regular basis to consolidate their efforts and create a united front when approaching employers. The team is designing a marketing package describing the different workforce development programs for area employers. Job developers target employers either by industry or by location and contact them on a regular basis to place clients.
  • In Kansas City, a local collaborative provides training sessions to employers that are designed to dispel the myths and common perceptions about hiring welfare recipients. The response from employers is reported to be quite positive.

Technology

Technology is having a broad impact on the nature of welfare-workforce system coordination, in some cases making physical location far less important for coordination. Labor market information provided by the DOL as well from state ES agencies, is available on the Internet. Software for preparing resumes, writing cover letters, assessing job interests and skills, and brushing up on basic math and language skills is readily available. These services can be offered at any location that has a computer. On our site visits, we saw computers being used to access labor market information, prepare resumes, and assist in career choices and job searches, at welfare offices, at JTPA/WIA agencies, at one-stop career centers, at community colleges, and at the offices of private employment and training contractors. For the client, this results in fewer separate trips and a choice of locations for some services. For example, a client could check job listings or prepare a resume while at the TANF office to meet with a case manager or after attending a work readiness class at the workforce development agency. For agency staff, technology improves access to information about the programs and services offered by other agencies and facilitates referrals of individual clients.

  • In Painesville, the welfare agency and JTPA/WIA agency have been part of a wider effort in the county to establish a "virtual one-stop" that would link human service agencies in the county via the Internet. The Internet site will include a listing of local job openings and information about availability of local services. Partners in this effort include: the welfare agency, the JTPA/WIA agency, ES, VR, the local Chamber of Commerce, the local community college, and others.
  • The Beaver County welfare office electronically refers job-ready clients to the Job Service on a daily basis. The welfare office also receives weekly updates of job listings from the Job Service.
  • The one-stop in Charleston has an area set aside as an "Internet café" that offers free Internet access to one-stop customers as well as self-serve coffee.

Greater Financial Resources

States and localities have new levels of financial resources available to fund services for welfare recipients and other needy families. There are a number of funding streams within each community that can be used to move individuals from welfare to work including TANF, WtW, JTPA/WIA, and ES. Of these, TANF block grants and WtW grants provide increased funding and flexibility for a wide range of employment-related services for the TANF population. With declining welfare caseloads, less money is needed for cash assistance, but the TANF block grant amounts are fixed. Thus, welfare agencies have more funds available for work-related services. WtW grants provide a new source of funds to meet the often intensive needs of the least-employable portion of the welfare population. In addition to the availability of TANF and WtW funding, the good economy in many places has resulted in increased local resources from tax revenues.

Availability of resources extends services to more clients, provides funding flexibility, encourages coordinated planning, facilitates co-location and one-stop implementation, and stimulates the addition of new services. For example, there is no limit on the length of time an individual can be served under WtW, and the welfare agency can use block grant funds to provide a variety of supportive services, including child care, transportation, uniforms, and other job-related expenses. Welfare and workforce development providers can partner to fund services, such as child care and transportation, that may facilitate an individual's success while enrolled in an employment and training program, and to provide ongoing follow-up and retention services after an individual obtains employment.

  • In Sedalia, the provision of supportive services is shared by the welfare agency and the workforce development agency's community-based organization subcontractors, using workforce development funds when TANF dollar limits are reached.
  • In Manning, child care and transportation arrangements are jointly coordinated by WtW and welfare staff. If the welfare program cannot fund the child care and transportation services needed by a client, WtW assumes the cost.

With greater financial resources, agencies are more willing to share resources and to come together for planning purposes. WtW represented a new source of funding which, in some sites, provided an incentive for joint planning.

  • In Kansas City, a special committee of the county's community partnership for human services deals with welfare-to-work efforts. One of their goals is to assure that WtW grant funds are used to fill identified service needs or gaps and not duplicate existing efforts.
  • In Charleston, both the welfare agency and ES were active partners with the JTPA/WIA agency in the development of the WtW program. They reviewed contractors' proposals in conjunction with the JTPA/WIA agency, and have remained involved in the WtW program.

The availability of resources has helped to support the creation of one-stop service centers or has led to the co-location of services in several of the sites visited. With increased funding, some agencies are more likely to enter into arrangements that provide space, equipment or staff services to another agency at a lower cost, which encourages coordination.

  • In Dayton, the one-stop career center was created in a refurbished warehouse. The county commissioners made a strong commitment to the project  putting up a total of $1 million per year in local funds to help support start-up and ongoing operations of the Center. In addition, each of the 47 co-located agencies has contributed funds to the operations.
  • The welfare agency in Salem provides space and equipment within the TANF office to partner agencies at no cost. This has encouraged partners who might otherwise have been resistant, to co-locate and to coordinate services with the welfare agency.

Available funding, coupled with federal incentives, is stimulating new services such as post-employment support, job retention, and advancement services. TANF provides strong incentives for welfare recipients to find immediate work, but the five-year limit on cash assistance also creates an incentive for building the basic education and occupational skills of welfare recipients so that they can transition to higher-skilled and higher paying jobs along a career path. WtW funds can be used for training or education once a person has begun work, either as a post-employment service in conjunction with work or as a work-based activity. In response, some welfare agencies are initiating post-employment training and retention services and promoting coordination with WtW programs to provide additional training opportunities and workplace support.

  • In Providence, the welfare agency developed a job retention unit which markets the earned income tax credit (EITC), child health insurance, and child care benefits to employers and individuals. The job retention unit works directly with employees at work sites and is also working with certain employers to develop career ladders.
  • The welfare agency in Salem is in the process of establishing a transition unit to continue working with TANF clients for the first 30 days of employment. They anticipate increasing this transition period to three months once the service is established.

State Initiatives

Some states have taken a pro-active role in improving state-level coordination and in encouraging local coordination. States have promoted coordination through state-level organizational decisions, contracting processes, and initiatives specifically directed towards local level collaboration.

State level organizational decisions include reorganizations of state-level agencies and organizational mandates that more directly affect local operations, such as requiring local welfare agencies to have referral agreements with community colleges or JTPA/WIA agencies. Such reorganizations may be helpful in avoiding conflicting policies across programs, minimizing duplication, and sending a message to local agencies of the importance of coordination.

  • In South Carolina, welfare reform legislation requires coordination with the technical college system. The authorizing legislation requires that the welfare agency, in conjunction with the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, design curricula that "target and train" TANF recipients for "top growth occupations" as identified by the state ES.
  • In Ohio, there are challenges to coordination between the county-administered TANF program and the state-administered ES agency. At the time of our site visits, discussions were underway at the state level for a proposed merger of the two agencies.(5)

In addition to coordination among state-level agencies, several states have also made decisions about the delivery of programs at the local level. The contracting process is one approach used to implement those decisions and stimulate coordination at the local level.

  • In Pennsylvania, The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Program, developed in 1987, was the result of a state-level decision to operate the JOBS program through the JTPA system. The state contracted directly with local JTPA agencies to provide services. With welfare reform, the state welfare agency has developed at least a dozen work-related programs that are available to welfare participants. A number of these programs are operated under statewide contracts to employment and training providers.
  • In Oregon, the state used the contracting mechanism to bring together the welfare agency, JTPA providers, and community colleges to deliver coordinated employment and training services to welfare recipients when JOBS was first implemented. In fact, under the Family Support Act/JOBS authorizing legislation, the welfare agency was prohibited from administering employment and training services, and thus the existing education, employment and training systems were guaranteed a strong role in providing work-related services to welfare recipients.

A few states have taken additional steps to promote local level coordination, by mandating some type of local interagency coordinating council. While we learned that some of these efforts met resistance at first, consistent support from the state over a period of time helped agencies to overcome differences

  • In Pennsylvania, the state mandated Local Management Committees (LMCs) to coordinate the SPOC Program. Representatives from JTPA/WIA agencies, welfare offices, ES, and local education agencies serve on the LMCs. In Pittsburgh, the LMC meets monthly and administers the state-level contract with the local JTPA/WIA agency. In Beaver County, the LMC evaluates proposals and selects contractors for programs.
  • In Missouri, a state initiative, Caring Communities, has been instrumental in encouraging and funding local community partnerships. Caring Communities is a collaborative effort of Missouri's Departments of Education, Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Labor, Economic Development, and Corrections, which supports local efforts to have strong families and communities. The Local Investment Commission (LINC) in Kansas City and the Pettis County Community Partnership in Sedalia are the local partnerships operating under this initiative in Missouri. Both groups have been active in local welfare reform and welfare-to-work initiatives.

In summary, a strong economy, technological advances, greater financial resources, and state initiatives are key factors that promote coordination. Examples presented highlight some of the responses found in the sites we visited. We also learned of many other initiatives still in the planning stages and of continuing challenges to coordination.

Footnotes

4.  See Burbridge and Nightingale, 1989 for a discussion of organizational relationships in the WIN program and the JOBS program. 

5.  On December 14, 1999 the Governor of Ohio signed a bill merging the Ohio Department of Human Services and the Ohio Bureau of Employment Security to create the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Challenges to Coordination

There are several challenges to coordination that study sites encountered. Even successful coordination efforts had to overcome obstacles along the way. These challenges involve programmatic barriers, logistical barriers, and managerial barriers. An underlying factor in discussions of challenges to coordination is personality issues. Personality issues are often the difference between overcoming a barrier and finding that barrier to be insurmountable to coordination. These issues are present in many of the coordination efforts reviewed, including cases where strong positive leadership or longstanding friendships between agency directors are credited with successful coordination, and cases where individuals who are resistant to change or do not work well with other managers result in less successful coordination.

Programmatic Barriers

Different Program Goals

One challenge to coordination encountered in many sites is the difference in the philosophies that guide the welfare and workforce development agencies. In response to PRWORA, many welfare agencies have adopted a work-first approach, which supports the work participation and caseload reduction goals that the agencies must meet, and reduces the possibility that welfare clients will exceed the time limit for cash assistance. In other words, the focus is on getting a job quickly and minimizing time on TANF.

Workforce development agencies, on the other hand, have historically subscribed to the human capital investment approach, preferring to train clients for a better job rather than placing clients in a job with low wages and little advancement potential. While many workforce development specialists acknowledge the value of any work experience, even unpaid work experience, for someone who has never been in the workforce, they encourage clients to take every opportunity they can for training. One employment and training worker suggested that clients should use the time available on TANF to take advantage of WtW and other programs so that when they do get a job, it will be a better job and they will have the skills for continued employment and advancement, thus reducing the chance of ever needing welfare again.

Workforce development agencies in several locations noted a concern about the push to place TANF recipients who are not yet ready to work. Because of time limits, some respondents felt that TANF agencies are placing clients in the workforce before they are fully job ready. Some employment and training providers fear that this could harm relationships that they have developed over time with local employers.

Different Concepts of Coordination

Another issue is that agencies may be unable to agree on the nature of collaboration that they are implementing and the services to be provided by each agency. For example, agencies may disagree on what the one-stop should be--co-location, sharing staff, or a computer system that facilitates referrals and information sharing. They may also disagree on who should perform client assessments (and what that entails), or on how long clients should be engaged in TANF work activities before being referred to another agency for services.

Different Performance Standards

Since many agencies are held accountable to performance standards, including the number of job placements, they may be reluctant to refer clients to another provider and lose the opportunity to get "credit," or count that client among their successes. Some performance-based contracts are structured so that agencies are only paid for job placements--that is, the agency does not get paid if the client is not placed in a job after completing the job readiness class. Agencies then have to work out the issue of who should pay for the class when a client completes the class, but is not able to obtain a job.

Declining Welfare Caseloads

In June 1999, there were over 5.3 million fewer individuals on TANF than in August 1996, when PRWORA was enacted--a decline of 44 percent nationally.(6) In the states we visited, caseload declines ranged from 12 percent in Rhode Island to 65 percent in South Carolina. The decline in TANF has had three important effects related to coordination. First, the number of TANF clients in JTPA has declined due to a combination of declining TANF caseloads, TANF time limits, and work-first approaches. In 1994, AFDC recipients accounted for 35 percent of participants in JTPA adult programs (Nightingale 1997). The proportion of JTPA participants on TANF/AFDC fell to 32 percent in 1996 and 29 percent in 1997.(7) Second, there are fewer clients either eligible for or seeking work-related services from TANF agencies, workforce development agencies, community-based organizations, and others. Third, the decline in welfare caseloads enables caseworkers in some TANF offices to spend more time with each client.

In some sites, the caseload decline has reduced referrals and interactions between agencies. Some TANF caseworkers were less inclined to work with other agencies since they had the time to provide more services themselves. However, in other sites, because caseworkers had the opportunity to get to know individual clients better, they were more likely to identify additional services needed. This encouraged their coordination with other agencies in order to facilitate access to additional services for clients.

Logistical Barriers

Geographical Issues

In several sites, coordinating agencies must contend with different geographical boundaries for their service areas. Some JTPA/WIA agencies, especially in rural areas, have large multi-county service areas and must work with several county welfare offices, each with its own local needs and personalities. For example, in Sedalia, Missouri the JTPA/WIA agency is serving TANF recipients from 13 different counties (an area that is 240 miles by 100 miles). In some communities physical barriers such as rivers and major highways, coupled with inadequate public transportation systems, preclude single service locations or impede coordination between agencies that are not in close proximity to each other.

Long-term leases and space limitations

Despite their willingness to co-locate, agencies may be reluctant to actually do so because of lease and other facility constraints. Many agencies either own their buildings or are committed to long term leases. In other cases, the space available for co-location may be too small to accommodate the needs of all potential partner agencies.

Confidentiality

Concern about preserving client confidentiality often hinders agencies' ability to work together to resolve client-specific issues. It also makes it difficult to either store information or access other agencies' management information systems that are needed to verify program eligibility or participation in work activities. Several sites have addressed this issue by allowing access, but restricting certain data fields based on each agency's "need-to-know."

Incompatible client forms and management information systems

Programs have developed forms and paperwork specific to their individual needs. Often, this paperwork, and the management information systems that were developed from it, is not compatible with the forms and systems used by partner agencies. Respondents told us that even when they try to have as much common paperwork as possible, federal and state reporting requirements still vary considerably by agency.

Union rules and civil service regulations

Differing rules and personnel systems create barriers to integration between different government agencies and private organizations. Unions may object to integration of staff between agencies due to fears of job loss and problems resulting from workers being paid at different wage rates even though they are sitting next to each other and doing essentially the same work.

Managerial Barriers

"Turf" Barriers

Perhaps one of the most common barriers is "turf" issues, including the fear of losing decision-making autonomy and distrust of other agency administrators or staff. Case managers, and other staff, may feel that their job security is jeopardized when other agencies are providing similar services to their clients. Agency staffing needs and responsibilities are changing. Examples include the reduced staffing requirements of ES offices due to telephone claims processing for unemployment insurance and automated access to job postings and labor market information, and the expanded role of welfare case managers beyond eligibility and benefits processing. These changes may affect the morale of workers and result in fewer client referrals to other agencies.

System complexity

The availability of multiple resources has resulted in a proliferation of programs and access points, with many similar or overlapping services. Several different agencies and community based organizations within a single jurisdiction may be providing job readiness, family life skills, and job placement services. This causes confusion for clients, organizations, and staff as they try to sort through the process of moving from welfare to work, and may result in fewer referrals or in clients not following through on appointments.

Time commitments

Planning and maintaining service coordination takes a considerable amount of time and effort from staff at all levels. In several sites, staff from the welfare and workforce development agencies serve on inter-agency committees that were formed to address the collaborative effort. The time dedicated by staff to working on the collaborative is in addition to the other functions that they perform as part of their jobs. For example, in Charleston, three teams were created to guide the operations of the one-stop and all decision making is done by consensus in an effort to promote a team-building atmosphere. In Portland, the establishment of one-stop career centers involved a long planning process. Respondents indicated that a considerable amount of time and effort was put into overcoming turf issues among local organizations. Several sites mentioned the time-consuming nature of developing procedures for WtW referrals and documentation of participation in a work activity when the activity was provided by an agency other than the TANF agency.

In summary, all sites encountered programmatic, logistical, and/or managerial barriers to coordination. Sites varied in their approaches to these challenges and in the extent to which the barriers were overcome.

Footnotes

6.  http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/aug-sept.htm

7.  1996 JTPA Standard Program Information Report (SPIR) and 1997 JTPA Standard Program Information Report (SPIR), U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Conclusions

This study provides a snapshot of welfare and workforce system coordination in a limited number of sites at a point in time where welfare programs are work-focused and workforce development systems are reorganizing to provide one-stop services to a broad population. As a result, there is an increased interest in coordination between welfare and workforce development agencies and a greater awareness in each other's programs and services. Several key findings emerged.

Key Lessons Learned

The overriding message of this study is that there is no one answer to service delivery coordination, and no ideal time schedule or set of rules that will make coordination happen. The following points highlight lessons to consider when examining any coordination initiative.

Importance of past relationships

Past relationships and coordination approaches, especially those developed in implementing the WIN program and the JOBS program, were important factors in current coordination models and activities.

Coordination efforts had to overcome barriers

Programs and agencies generally encounter one or more serious barriers to coordination. Even successful efforts may not be fully developed--in the sense that one or more other agencies that could be involved are not involved or are only partially collaborating.

Coordination can occur under a variety of organizational approaches

We found examples of good  although generally more limited  coordination in sites where the welfare office was the dominant provider and service location as well as in systems that shared responsibility for service delivery across welfare and workforce development providers. Only one of our study sites, Dayton, was highly integrated, both physically and functionally. Different levels of coordination may be appropriate in different communities.

Service systems need to fit local conditions

One model does not work everywhere. For example, planners must consider issues of scale  a one-stop with all services in one location works in Dayton, but may not work in a larger city. In some localities, a decentralized, neighborhood-based structure may be more effective.

Implications for the Future

The current environment is very dynamic, with economic growth, a changing labor market, new funding sources, more local variation in welfare programs, and implementation of new workforce development policies. In this context, specific examples may quickly become outdated, but it is useful to consider implications for the future that look beyond the current description provided by this study.

Coordination can benefit the hard-to-serve client

It appears that the ability to access many referral services and take a more holistic approach to addressing barriers to work is especially important for the hard-to-serve client. Looking ahead, however, the increased reliance on technology may not meet the needs of those clients who require more personal attention. However, technology may free-up time for providers so that they can devote more attention to the hard-to-serve. Location, access, and referral mechanisms need to be considered from both vantage points  maximizing the effective use of technology and facilitating the progress of the hard-to-serve.

Coordination is a process, not an event

State and local responses to policy changes in the welfare and workforce development arenas reflect historical relationships as well as current policy objectives. Coordination models we observed have evolved over a number of years, and required time and energy on the part of agency staff over a sustained period.

Integration is a means, not an end

Integration should not be promoted for its own sake, but for the improvements it can bring to service delivery. Some of the desired service delivery outcomes can be accomplished in other ways, without a fully integrated system, and in some communities such alternative arrangements might offer the best solution.

Finally, the nature of underlying relationships between these two systems has not changed over time  those who coordinated historically found it easier to do so with WtW and other changes  good management and determination still drives successful coordination. Personality and informal mechanisms continue to be important factors that determine the success of coordination. Many of the barriers to coordination (turf issues, differing reporting requirements, and different philosophies) still exist, and probably always will. Because of the effort coordination requires and the significant barriers faced in some communities, systems with more limited coordination may be more effective in serving clients than poorly managed but technically more "coordinated" efforts.

Creative approaches are being spawned due to greater resources available per client, the need to address multiple barriers faced by many who are still in the welfare system, and the rapid expansion of computer technology and computer-based labor market information. Combined with the tight labor market, which is increasing employer involvement, the current environment offers unprecedented opportunities for partnerships aimed at finding employment for welfare clients and preparing them for better quality jobs. Policies that seek to enhance the factors that promote coordination and minimize barriers will support these efforts.

Bibliography

Burbridge, Lynn C. and Demetra Smith Nightingale. 1989.  Local Coordination of Employment and Training Services to Welfare Recipients. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Grubb, W. Norton, Norena Badway, Denise Bell, Bernadette Chi, Chris King, Julie Herr, Heath Prince, Richard Kazis, Lisa Hicks, and Judith Combes Taylor. 1999.  Toward Order From Chaos: State Efforts to Reform Workforce Development Systems. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

Leonard, Paul. 1999.  Welfare to Work Block Grants:  Are They Working? Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

Martinson, Karin. 1999.  Literature Review on Service Coordination and Integration in the Welfare and Workforce Development Systems. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Nightingale, Demetra Smith, John Trutko, and Burt Barnow. 1999.  Status of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program After One Year. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Nightingale, Demetra Smith, Russell Jones, Carolyn T. O'Brien, and Kathleen Brennan. 1997.  The Structural Link Between JTPA and State Welfare Reform Programs in 1997. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Trutko, John, Demetra Nightingale, and Burt Barnow. 1999. Post-Employment Education and Training Models in the Welfare-to-Work Grant Program. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Trutko, John, Nancy Pindus, Burt S. Barnow, and Demetra Smith Nightingale. 1999.  Early Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

U.S. Census Bureau. 1994.  State and County Demographic and Economic Profiles. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. Census Bureau. 1996.  State and County Demographic and Economic Profiles. Suitland, MD: U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1998.  PY96 JTPA Standardized Program Information Report (SPIR). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1999.  PY97 JTPA Standardized Program Information Report (SPIR). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1999.  Change in Welfare Caseloads Since Enactment of New Welfare Law. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/aug-sept.htm

U.S. General Accounting Office. 1999.  Welfare Reform:  State's Experiences in Providing Employment Assistance to TANF Clients. Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office.

Appendix A: Literature Review on Service Coordination and Integration in the Welfare and Workforce Development Systems

By Karin Martinson

The Urban Institute
2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

January 1999

This paper was prepared at the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, under HHS Contract No. HHS-100-95-0021. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

 

This paper will review studies that have described and analyzed the coordination and integration of employment and training services, with specific attention given to the coordination of welfare-to-work programs and the workforce development system. Overall, prior research on the coordination of workforce development and welfare programs offers only limited evidence of successful, sustained efforts. Moreover, there appears to be no single model or incentive that promotes successful coordination.

What is meant by service coordination and integration?

Over the years, the terms "coordination" and "integration" as well as "collaboration" and "linkages" have often been used interchangeably and with varying connotations and meanings. More recent studies have reached some consensus and define coordination as situations where two or more organizations work together, through a formal or informal arrangement, to meet one or more goals such as improving the effectiveness and/or cost-effectiveness of programs, avoiding the unnecessary duplication of services, and improving performance (Trutko, et al., 1991; Holcomb et al., 1993). While many of the terms are interchangeable, there is generally a distinction between service integration  which implies logistic and physical proximity  and coordination  which refers to agencies' efforts to work together to achieve specified goals. Clearly, coordination can occur without operational integration, and physical integration does not necessarily improve system or program coordination. Based on this distinction, most of the studies in this area have focused on coordination rather than service integration.

What is the workforce development system?

The workforce development system generally refers to a broad range of employment and training services whose purpose is to enable job seekers, students, and employers to access a wide range of information about jobs, the labor market, careers, education and training organizations, financing options, skills standards or certification requirements, and needed support services. There is not currently one typical workforce development system. In most (but not all) states, much recent attention has focused on creating user-friendly one-stop career centers that provide job seekers and employers with one-stop access to a broad range of employment and training services at particular locations or through electronic linkages. As of April 1998, 46 states received grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to establish one-stop centers, and in many states these centers have become the focal point of the workforce development system.

Most state workforce development system reforms strive to build a more integrated system from the existing array of federal and state programs. After several years of consideration, Congress last summer enacted the Workforce Investment Act that restructures and streamlines multiple funding streams for scores of programs which aim to provide employment and training assistance to various segments of the population, particularly the economically disadvantaged. Under the new workforce legislation, all states must establish one-stop career centers. However, many state and local jurisdictions and agencies had already moved ahead with their own approaches to integrate multiple programs or funding streams and to coordinate staff in different programs in order to develop systems which are intended to improve the quality of jobs and workers in their local economies.

While there is clearly variation across states, among the agencies that have been involved in workforce development systems are the JTPA programs, the Employment Service, community colleges, other vocational and adult education providers, and vocational rehabilitation providers.

The Workforce Investment Act requires the involvement of these agencies as well as employment and training activities provided through the Community Service Block Grant, Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Veteran's Affairs. In some states and localities, welfare-to-work programs operated by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are systematically included in workforce development systems. In others, there is no formal linkage and welfare recipients are served like any other job seekers. The new legislation does not specifically require welfare-to-work activities operated by the TANF system to be part of the workforce development system.

Employment-related programs provided under the workforce development system have been involved to varying degrees in state welfare reform programs over the past three decades. The ES had joint responsibility with state welfare agencies, for the Work Incentive (WIN) program in the late 1960's, and in some states continues to this day to have a major role in providing employment-related services to welfare recipients (e.g. work registration, job search, job placement, workfare management), even though there is no formal nationwide role for the ES in welfare offices. ES-welfare services have usually been delivered from locations separate from the regular mainstream offices, sometimes with ES staff co-located with welfare staff. In many, but not all states, both the Job Service and JTPA are the same agency; and in several states and localities, the Job Service is the local administrator of JTPA.

In the past decade, there have been more varied models under the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program for providing welfare recipients with employment-related activities. While there has been no comprehensive survey on how the JOBS employment services were delivered in all states, descriptive information shows that in many states, staff of the welfare agency provided job search assistance and other employment services. But in a number of states, welfare agencies contracted with the ES or JTPA to deliver services. In some states, JOBS programs were integrated into one-stop career centers that often included ES, JTPA, education, and other services. In many states, the ES and/or the JTPA system had interagency contracts or agreements with the welfare agencies to operate all or some of the JOBS program, but again, no formal nationwide responsibility. As states revamp their welfare systems in response to TANF and the Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grants program (which provides supplemental funds to help welfare recipients with the most serious employment problems both move into and keep jobs), JTPA and other employment and training programs will continue to be affected.

Given the range of government programs providing employment, education, and training services, the integration and coordination of these services (or lack thereof) has been a concern of policymakers and program administers over the past two decades. To assist in these efforts, several studies have focused on ways to improve the coordination of employment and training services for low-income and other populations (Bailis, 1989; Trutko, et al., 1991; and Holcomb, et al., 1993). Many of these studies focus on the coordination between JTPA and one-stop service centers and a range of other programs including welfare-to-work programs operated through JOBS or TANF, the employment service, adult and vocational education, economic development, and rehabilitation services. Based on a review of this literature, this section discusses models of coordination as well as the benefits and barriers of service coordination. The paper also discusses issues raised in the literature specifically related to the coordination of the workforce development and welfare system. Finally, based on previous studies, this section identifies factors that could potentially foster coordination.

Service Coordination Models and Strategies

Studies of state and local service coordination efforts have found that many diverse approaches have been taken in coordinating services. Several studies have developed "models" which allow one to characterize different coordination efforts. In this section, three general ways in which these linkages have been categorized in past studies are discussed. These models offer useful ways of thinking about the variety of state and local efforts to integrate the workforce and welfare systems.

System-oriented and service-oriented coordination. The General Accounting Office (GAO) categorized service coordination efforts as either "system-oriented" or "service-oriented" depending on their goals (GAO, 1992). System-oriented efforts have ambitious goals which are focused on reforming the delivery system. These types of efforts are intended to:

  1. develop new human service delivery systems or alter the way existing agencies are structured,
  2. create new services to fill gaps in available services or address unmet client needs, and
  3. reduce conflicts and inconsistencies among service programs to make it easier for clients to apply to and be accepted by programs.

To accomplish their goals, these efforts seek to change the way agencies plan and fund programs.

Service-oriented models have more modest goals and attempt to link clients to existing services and unite various service providers without altering program budgeting or funding processes, service agency responsibilities, or organizational structures. These efforts link clients with existing services through such methods as the colocation of providers and the use of case managers. In general, there have been limited attempts at system level reform  although the recent Workforce Investment Act is a good example of this type of effort. Most state and local initiatives to coordinate services fall into the service-oriented model.

Top-down and bottom-up integration. While the coordination of service delivery systems usually takes place at the local level, studies have shown that the initiative to coordinate may either be locally-developed ("bottom-up" coordination) or may be encouraged or imposed by federal or state officials ("top-down" coordination) (Trutko, et al. (1991); Bailis (1989)). With top-down integration, federal and state officials may promulgate "requirements" that local agencies coordinate the delivery of specific types of services, or offer advice or incentives to promote collaboration. Coordination is often mandated in legislation; at other times, requirements are contained in administrative communications ranging from personal initiatives of key officials, to joint policy statements, to agency regulations. For example, the new Workforce Investment Act promotes "top-down" coordination by requiring the establishment of state and local Workforce Investment Boards and the submission of state and local plans detailing how coordination will occur.

According to Trutko et al. (1991), "top-down" initiatives to promote coordination are sometimes influential in shaping the decisions made by local program administrators. They tend to command attention  and sometimes compliance  throughout the covered jurisdiction. But they may not lead to noticeable changes because local level officials resist (or simply ignore) the pressures to coordinate as they try to maintain the status quo. Thus, "top-down" efforts to promote coordination can be helpful in bringing attention to the issue, but they do not guarantee that anything will happen.

In contrast, "bottom-up" coordination arises from the initiative of one more local program administrators without reference to particular federal or state initiatives or requirements. The initial idea to coordinate service delivery may come from local elected officials or local program administrators as a way to facilitate obtaining services for their clients, sharing costs, or improving administrative efficiency. The presence of strong local advocates for coordination in situations like these can be a major factor in initiating and maintaining a coordinated relationship. However, those at the federal or state level cannot rely upon local initiatives such as these for efforts they hope will be implemented throughout their jurisdictions, and they cannot expect "bottom-up" initiatives to show any consistent pattern or model.

Typology of Service Coordination Initiatives. A study by Holcomb et al. (1993) of one-stop service integration found considerable variation across a number of dimensions, including the scope of the service coordination. To illustrate the various dimensions of service integration, this study developed a typology for viewing coordination based on the programs and agencies involved, the service or activities that are coordinated (from the user's perspective), and the target group.

  1. Agencies and Program Involved. At the state and local level, there are a variety of programs and agencies that can be involved including the JTPA programs, the employment service, cash assistance programs, secondary and post-secondary academic education, vocational education, economic development, and vocational rehabilitation. Depending on the agency, there can be a single or a range of programs within each agency included in the coordination initiative.
  2. Services and Activities Involved. There are also a wide range of services or activities around which coordinated or integrated service delivery may occur. This includes activities involving client services such as intake and eligibility determination, assessment and case management, and delivery of employment and training services. In addition, coordination can occur around activities involving agency operations such as planning, training and information exchange, integrated MIS systems, and collocation of facilities.
  3. Target Population. Coordination can involve different populations of constituents including all job seekers, disadvantaged workers, dislocated workers, UI claimants, welfare recipients, youth, homeless, and ex-offenders.

The Benefits of Service Coordination

Several studies point to the substantial benefits of coordination which can potentially accrue to both clients and programs (Trutko, et al. (1991), Holcomb et al.(1993)). With respect to clients, coordination often enables clients to access a wider range of services than would otherwise be available. Because agencies may be able to reduce duplicative services with coordination, they may be able to provide new, expanded, or more intensive services that will benefit their clientele. Clients may also experience a reduction in the barriers to accessing services  primarily through a simplified referral process that reduces the cost and time associated with accessing services.

From the agency perspective, the primary benefit of coordination is to eliminate the costly duplication of services and to re-focus resources on the provision of new or expanded services. Agencies may also experience access to additional resources, greater flexibility in using funds, the ability to offer a wider range of services targeted at client needs, increased knowledge and communication among agency staff, enhanced ability to serve different target groups, and an improved image with clients, employers, and the communities served.

While there are clearly benefits to coordination, the literature emphasizes that it is important to view coordination as a means to end  namely, a more effective and comprehensive service delivery system for clients to improve their long-term outcomes  rather than an end in and of itself. Grubb et al. (1990), finding only very limited duplication in the provision of services even with relatively uncoordinated efforts, stressed that the primary goal of service coordination should be to make programs more effective. Bailis (1989) emphasizes that service integration efforts cannot be judged by the coordination process (as he finds most studies have done) but whether it achieved the intended results of greater effectiveness, reduced costs, and fewer demands on clients.

Barriers to Service Coordination

While there are clearly many benefits to both clients and programs of coordinated services, the literature and the experience of states and localities show that there are a number of barriers that make coordination difficult. The most commonly cited barriers in the literature are described below.

Bureaucratic barriers and turf-protection. Turf issues are cited in virtually every study of coordinated service delivery as one of the major barriersВ  if not the most important barrierВ  to the establishment and maintenance of coordination. According the Bailis (1989), turf issues refer to the desire to maintain autonomy and thus avoid having individuals in other agencies affect things within one's own organization. Burbridge and Nightingale (1989) note that there is a common fear among agencies that coordination may somehow result in the agency being taken over or in a loss of decision-making autonomy. Even officials who can clearly see the benefits of coordination are often fearful of yielding their authority to another agency or relinquishing control outside of their own agency. The Trutko et al. (1991) study of JTPA coordination cites several barriers closely related to turf issues, including different perspectives on performance and service to clients, fear of loss of agency autonomy, distrust of the agencies, and lack of ownership.

Different philosophies or missions. One common problem in service coordination efforts is that agencies often perceive their missions to be different. Each state and local program has its own philosophy regarding which clients should be served, how they should be served, and how success should be measured. Trutko et al. (1991) note that JTPA is often described as being "performance driven" because of its emphasis on performance standards and the involvement of the private sector. The Employment Service generally emphasizes finding workers for employers, and past welfare programs have widely varying philosophies and missions. Holcomb et al. (1993) note other differences that can deter service coordination including the relative emphasis on social services versus employment and training; viewing participation in employment and training as a requirement, an entitlement, or an option; and the importance of cost considerations. These philosophical differences across agencies may lead to an exacerbation of turf issues or other coordination problems.

Differences in Performance Measures and Obtaining Credit for Services and Results. Employment, training, education, and welfare programs are accountable to various oversight bodies and they generally must provide evidence on their performance. Holcomb et al. (1993) finds that the performance standards that each program is accountable for can differ substantially, altering perspectives of agency administrators and complicating efforts to coordinate. For example, in the past, JTPA was judged on job placement standards and JOBS on participation rates. In addition, programs may be reluctant to refer participants to other agencies if they can not be assured of receiving credit for positive outcomes. Burbridge and Nightingale (1989) note that some agencies may be discouraged from integrated service delivery because of the loss of control over the flow of clients through the system and difficulty in meeting numeric service goals.

Incompatible Management Information Systems.В  One of the most frequently encountered barriers to service integration is inconsistency in data collection and management across programs. This barrier is mentioned in most studies of service integration and coordination. The study by Holcomb et al. (1993) on one-stop service coordination attributes incompatibility in data collection systems to several factors including: JTPA eligibility requirements and performance standards which drive the system's data collection; less complex data collection for employment service and vocational education programs; and the different concerns of welfare departments such as attendance documentation for enforcing mandatory participation.

Different eligibility restrictions.В  State and federal eligibility requirements are sometimes mentioned as barriers to service coordination among agencies operating employment and training programs. Employment, training, education, and other programs often have restrictions on who can be served. For example, JTPA includes categorical eligibility requirements (e.g. 90 percent of the Title II-A participants must be economically disadvantaged) and residency requirements (participants must live in the service delivery area). Programs coordinating with JTPA often have different eligibility requirements and/or serve a different geographical area. If programs serve ineligible participants, the organization may have its expenditures disallowed during an audit and may be required to reimburse the government for the program.

Clearly, the combination of these factors can be daunting to coordination efforts and are most likely responsible for the general lack of coordination evidenced in past studies.

Coordination of the Welfare and Workforce Development Systems

While the studies discussed above raise issues about the coordination of employment and training services generally, a number of researchers have looked specifically at issues involving the coordination of the welfare and workforce development systems. Most of these efforts have focused on state-level integration, with less attention given to collaboration at the local level.

Researchers have identified two areas which specifically hindered the coordination between these two systems in the past (Bailis, 1989; Grubb et al., 1990). First, particularly in the early years of JTPA, the workforce system was not focused on providing services to the more disadvantaged individualsВ  the group typically served through the welfare system. Because of its performance standards, some JTPA programs emphasized the provision of services to the job-ready rather than to those who may need additional and more intensive services to become employed. Second, there have been differences in objectives and time frames between the two programs which hinder coordination. Even before the new welfare law, many welfare-to-work programs operated by the welfare system took a primary interest in efforts to find job placements quickly, and thus had less interest in placing clients in the longer-term training provided by the workforce system.

Several recent studies have focused on measuring the level of coordination between the workforce and welfare systems and have generally found relatively low levels of service coordination. The Urban Institute developed typologies which classify state-level agreements or arrangements between JTPA and welfare-to-work efforts (Nightingale, et al., 1997). These typologies document the extent to which formal state-level agreements exist between JTPA and welfare-to-work efforts or whether there have been major state-level reorganizations related to welfare reform. As described below, they identified four general models (or levels of interaction) and submodels (not listed):

  1. Structural Integration of Welfare and JTPA System at the State Level. The administration of JTPA and welfare-to-work programs is integrated within a single employment and training or workforce development agency at the state level.
  2. Formal Interaction between Welfare and JTPA System at the State Level. There is no state level integration per se, but the agency which administers JTPA has formal administrative responsibility for all or some aspects of TANF work programs, and/or the welfare agency has transferred all or some TANF work funds to the agency that administers JTPA.
  3. Formal Interaction between Welfare and Employment Security System (and indirect role for JTPA) at the State Level. A formal financial or non-financial agreement exists at the state level for the state Employment Service agency, which also administers JTPA, to provide some or all TANF work services locally.
  4. Minimal or no Formal Role for JTPA or Employment Security at the State Level. No formal state contracts or interagency management team.

This study found that major state-level restructuring due to welfare reform was rareВ  slightly less than one-half of the states fell into the category of little or no formal state-level relationships as of the summer of 1997 and only two states had fully integrated the two systems. However, the study emphasized that much of the responsibility for deciding the role of JTPA in welfare reform is maintained at the local level, and there may be greater levels of coordination than was evident in their state-level study.

Policy reports by the National Governors' Association (NGA) indicate that many states are involved in efforts to restructure the administration of workforce development programs and services provided. Moving ahead of the federal legislation, most states (39) have establish consolidated state-level human resource investment councils (HRICs) to promote state-level coordination and collaboration among workforce programs and 20 states have also established local workforce boards. However, as found in the Urban Institute study, the NGA reports also indicate that high levels of coordination between the workforce and welfare system are less common. The most common activity of the workforce system in welfare reform is the provision of job search, job placement, and employer outreach activities for TANF recipients (occurring in 29 states). In most of these states, TANF funds are transferred to the employment and training agency through a contract. Higher levels of service coordinationВ  such as using one-stop centers as the primary vehicles through which welfare recipients access employment-related services, occurred in nine states. NGA also found that the decision to contract with the workforce development agency is made at the local level, especially in states with county-administered welfare systems.

Pines and Callahan (1997) find some coordination between the workforce and welfare system, however, the coordination between these systems lagged behind service integration in the areas of school-to-work and one-stop shops. This study concludes that coordination was greater in these programs because the school-to-work and one-stop shops were specifically designed by federal sponsors to incorporate an integrated approach. The authors find that coordination occurs best when authority is devolved to the states but with either strong encouragement or a federal requirement for integrated planning and implementation.

Finally, one study (Elliott, et al., 1998) used site visits to 13 states to identify major workforce development issues and gauge how their workforce programs were being affected by the newly enacted welfare legislation. This study found that states' workforce development systems were maintaining their own identity and, in most cases, remained administratively distinct from welfare-to-work programs operated through TANF. Substantively, however, workforce development was being driven by the principles of welfare reform with its strong emphasis on rapid employment. In discussions with state workforce officials, this study identified three major areas for the workforce system to address in order to assist the poor in becoming self-sufficient: engaging employers in the program, redesigning education and training programs to complement the work-first orientation, and providing post-employment services.

Factors to Promote Coordination

Compared to the past, the current environment may be more fertile for higher levels of service coordination between the welfare and workforce systems. First, given the new workforce development legislation, the two systems share more common goals. Both systems are more focused on rapid employment, and must develop education and training and post-employment services within this work-oriented environment. Second, the workforce systemВ  which had a mixed record on serving the most disadvantagedВ  will now be a key provider of services to this group through the Welfare-to-Work grants program. These circumstances could provide more opportunities for service coordination than we have seen in the past.

Several of the studies reviewed have identified factors that could foster service coordination. Most point out that these factors may promote, but do not necessarily guarantee, improved coordination.

  1. Federal level. Strategies include: expanding efforts to document and communicate information about the benefits of coordination and support for these efforts; providing information on successful examples of coordination, providing technical assistance, guidance, and problem resolution; loosening restrictions that prevent blended funding; and setting an example by continuing coordination at the national and regional level.
  2. State level. Strategies include: providing high-level support for coordination; strengthening statewide coordinating committees; providing localities with technical assistance and problem resolution; promoting the integration of automated systems; and providing for cross-training of staff.
  3. Local level. Strategies include: developing an understanding of the objectives and operations of other programs; increasing joint planning among local agencies; introducing cross-training of staff; and documenting and evaluating coordination efforts.

Finally, this literature review also indicates that service coordination in and of itself is not enough. Coordination efforts must achieve of the goal of helping welfare recipientsВ  particularly those who may face significant barriers to workingВ  receive the services they need to obtain and keep employment.

References

Compared to the past, the current environment may be more fertile for higher levels of service coordination between the welfare and workforce systems. First, given the new workforce development legislation, the two systems share more common goals. Both systems are more focused on rapid employment, and must develop education and training and post-employment services within this work-oriented environment. Second, the workforce systemВ  which had a mixed record on serving the most disadvantagedВ  will now be a key provider of services to this group through the Welfare-to-Work grants program. These circumstances could provide more opportunities for service coordination than we have seen in the past.

Several of the studies reviewed have identified factors that could foster service coordination. Most point out that these factors may promote, but do not necessarily guarantee, improved coordination.

  1. Federal level. Strategies include: expanding efforts to document and communicate information about the benefits of coordination and support for these efforts; providing information on successful examples of coordination, providing technical assistance, guidance, and problem resolution; loosening restrictions that prevent blended funding; and setting an example by continuing coordination at the national and regional level.
  2. State level. Strategies include: providing high-level support for coordination; strengthening statewide coordinating committees; providing localities with technical assistance and problem resolution; promoting the integration of automated systems; and providing for cross-training of staff.
  3. Local level. Strategies include: developing an understanding of the objectives and operations of other programs; increasing joint planning among local agencies; introducing cross-training of staff; and documenting and evaluating coordination efforts.

Finally, this literature review also indicates that service coordination in and of itself is not enough. Coordination efforts must achieve of the goal of helping welfare recipientsВ  particularly those who may face significant barriers to workingВ  receive the services they need to obtain and keep employment.

Appendix B: Methodology and Site Selection

The information included in this report is primarily drawn from site visits conducted to 12 localities in 6 states between May and August, 1999. This appendix summarizes criteria used to select sites, brief descriptions of each study state and local site, and the range of interviews conducted.
 

Site Selection

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the range of experiences and practices across the country. Accordingly, we selected sites that provided variation across several dimensions, including:

  • the proportion of welfare clients served by the workforce (JTPA) system;
  • the current structure of the JTPA and welfare system within the state;
  • geographic location;
  • TANF caseload; and
  • the state of the economy.

The characterization of the state/JTPA welfare structure model was taken from Nightingale et al. (1997), which provides a relatively recent look at states from the standpoint of welfare and workforce system coordination and responses to welfare reform. States were grouped into four categories ranging from those that have more integration of JTPA and welfare reform programs at the state level to those states that have fairly traditional and separate structural arrangements for JTPA and welfare at the state level. Six states were included in the study--Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

As with the states selected for the study, the local sites provide variation across a number of dimensions. The criteria used to select the local sites included: demographic location (large and medium; urban, suburban, and rural sites); the percentage of JTPA participants on AFDC as of 1996; and whether or not the site received a WtW competitive grant. We also selected sites that would provide for an adequate mix of urban and rural sites. Another factor that was important, given the nature of the study, was that the locality have a significant portion of families living below the poverty line. We selected local sites using service delivery areas (SDAs)  the regional service delivery systems under JTPA. In some cases, the SDAs have the same boundaries as cities or counties. In other cases they incorporate a broader area including several counties. Table 1 outlines the 12 local sites selected based on these criteria.

Table 1
Study Sites
State/Locality % JTPA IIA on AFDC(1) Demographic Location Percent Below Poverty Line Population(2) Comp. WtW Grant
Missouri
Kansas City
Sedalia
High
Medium
Urban (medium)
Rural
13
18
634,057
34,724
Yes
No
Ohio
Cleveland
Dayton
Painesville
Medium
High
High
Urban (large)
Urban (large)
Rural/Suburban
14
12
6
1,398,169
570,490
223,003
Yes
No
No
Oregon
Portland
Salem
Low
Low
Urban (medium)
Rural
13
13
600,811
239,324
Yes
No
Pennsylvania
Beaver County
Pittsburgh
Medium
High
Rural
Urban (large)
13
12
187,979
1,309,821
No
Yes
Rhode Island
Providence High Urban (medium) 12 580,015 Yes
South Carolina
Charleston
Manning
Medium
Medium
Urban (medium)
Rural
17
29
281,983
29,415
No
No
1.  Based on 1996 data, sites with over 40 percent of their JTPA IIA participants on AFDC were categorized as high; those with 25 to 40 percent were categorized as medium; and those with less than 25 percent were considered low. Source: 1996 JTPA Standard Program Information Report (SPIR), U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2.  County-level total resident population. Source:  State and County Demographic and Economic Profiles, U.S. Census Bureau.

Overview of Study Sites

This section provides a brief overview of the sites selected for this study. It includes descriptions of state TANF requirements and relevant local economic and demographic conditions. Table 2 summarizes key administrative and TANF policy features of the six states.

Welfare programs in Missouri are state-administered. The state has a 60 month lifetime time limit for assistance. Clients are expected to be engaged in a work component or activity within the first 24 months. However, this is not restricted to job search or employment  education such as ESL or GED classes counts towards the participation requirement. Mothers may be exempted from TANF work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. Sanctioning tends to be discouraged in the sites included in this study.

  • Kansas City is located in Jackson County. The area has been experiencing a strong economy in recent years with an unemployment rate of approximately 2.5 percent.(3)  Several new employers have moved into the region, and although many "mom and pop" operations have been forced to close in recent years, this influx of larger employers has boosted the economy and created a surplus of employment opportunities.
  • Sedalia is located in Pettis County. The area currently has a good economy, with varied employment opportunities including chicken and pork processing, retail, and small manufacturing companies. Sedalia's unemployment rate is approximately 4 percent.

Ohio's welfare programs are county-administered. While benefit levels and time limits are set by the state, counties have considerable latitude in setting other policies. TANF recipients are allowed 36 months on TANF assistance and must remain off assistance for 24 months before becoming eligible for an additional 24 months of benefits. The state has a work attachment emphasis; adults are required to participate in work-related activities to receive TANF assistance.

Table 2:
Key State Administrative and Policy Features
Feature State
Missouri Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
TANF Administration State- administered County- administered State- administered (with local flexibility) State- administered (with reg. variations in benefit levels) State- administered State- administered (with some local flexibility)
WtW Administration Department of Economic Development N/A  State did not apply for formula WtW funds Department of Human Resources Department of Labor and Industry Department of Labor and Training Employment Security Commission
TANF Time Limits 60 months; must be in work component within 24 months 36 months; 24 months off before eligible for an additional 24 months 24 out of 84 months(4) 60 months; must be working or in work activity within 24 months 60 months; must be in work component within 24 months 24 out of 120 months; 60 month lifetime limit
Work Activity Approach Work attachment emphasis; education (GED, ESL) counts as work activity Work attachment emphasis Work attachment emphasis; 45 day up-front job search and job readiness Work attachment emphasis; education and training count as work activity; focus on work when close to 24 months Education and training count as work activity in first 24 months Work attachment emphasis; up-front job search
Sanction Policy Requires a face-to-face interview; sanctioning is generally discouraged Three tiers:  1 month, 3 month, and 6 month loss of benefits Graduated, with full family sanction if continued noncompliance Partial sanction during first 24 months on TANF; full-family sanction after 24 months Partial sanction until compliance Full family sanction for at least 1 month after compliance for first sanction, but implementation of sanctions has eased
Work Activity Exemptions Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 3 months old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old
State Policy/ Initiatives Regarding Coordination "Caring Communities"  funds local collaboratives; One-Stop Career Centers being implemented State requires TANF recipients to register with ES; implementation of One-Stops varies by county State focus on coordination under JOBS and under welfare reform waivers in 1993 and 1996; One-Stops being implemented Since 1987, JOBS Program  Single Point of Contact (SPOC)  operated through JTPA system; One-Stops being implemented Cross-agency welfare reform implementation planning team meets regularly; One-Stops being phased in State established the Business/Industry Relations Division in Dept. of Social Services; county TANF agencies created Work Force Consultant positions; one-stops being phased in
Caseload Decline(5) Aug. 1996 June 1999 (recipients) 43% 12% 53% 43% 12% 65
4.  In Oregon, individuals are exempted from the time limit if they fully comply with the JOBS program participation requirements.

5.  http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/aug-sept.htm

Mothers may be exempt from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. The state has a three-tiered sanction policy that varies by county.

  • Cleveland is located in Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County is the largest of eight counties in the Greater Cleveland area. The City of Cleveland, with a population of slightly more than 500,000 is the focal point of the Greater Cleveland area. The economy has shifted in recent years from one reliant on diversified durable goods manufacturing to one that is more services-based. Unemployment is generally low (4 - 5 percent), though there are some pockets of higher unemployment, especially within inner city areas of Cleveland.
  • Dayton is the largest city in Montgomery County. The City of Dayton serves as an employment hub to nearly 35 suburban communities. Although manufacturing has historically been at the heart of Dayton's economic base, the economy has enjoyed sustained growth in the services sector in recent years. Unemployment has been in the 3 - 4 percent range, with many employers facing critical shortages of skilled manpower. The TANF and JTPA agencies in Montgomery County are merged.
  • Painesville is located in Lake County, approximately 10 miles northeast of Cleveland. The county is predominantly suburban with rural pockets. The local economy has been strong with low levels of unemployment (about 4 percent) and a strong demand for workers.

Welfare programs in Oregon are state-administered. However, regions and counties are allowed considerable flexibility in designing and implementing their programs. The state follows a work attachment model; clients are encouraged to enter the workforce as soon as possible. In fact, prior to receiving their cash grants, TANF applicants must participate in a 45-day up-front "assessment period" made up of work search activities, services, and supports. If, during the 45 days, issues are identified that would preclude an applicant from going to work, their TANF case is opened earlier. Mothers can be exempted from the TANF work requirement until their youngest child is three months old. The state has implemented a graduated sanction policy that eventually results in a full-family sanction after three separate instances of noncompliance or if a client remains non-compliant for four or more months.

  • Portland is located in Multnomah County. The region has a strong, broad-based economy with a low unemployment rate of approximately 3 to 4 percent. Northeast Portland is considered inner-city with a high concentration of minority residents and a significantly higher unemployment rate. Portland has a large non-native English speaking population that accesses supportive services.
  • Salem, the state capitol of Oregon, is located in Marion County. The region is currently experiencing a strong economy with unemployment around 5.5 percent. The leading local employer is state government.

Pennsylvania has a state-administered welfare system. However, TANF benefits vary by region. Pennsylvania's welfare policy makes a clear distinction between welfare recipiency during the first 24 months and welfare recipiency after 24 months. During the first 24 months on TANF, all non-exempt recipients not working 20 hours per week must conduct an independent job search for a minimum of 8 weeks. If employment is not found during the 8 week job search, recipients are required to participate in other work-related activities. Work-related activities include job search; job readiness/job preparation programs; subsidized employment; work experience; on-the-job training; community service; or any approved employment and training program. After 24 months on TANF, all recipients must either be working or participating in work-related activities for a combined 35 hours of work and classroom training in order to qualify for cash assistance. Mothers are exempted from work activities until their youngest child is one year old. Adults are subject to a partial sanction during the first 24 months on assistance. Recipients are subject to full-family sanctions after 24 months on cash assistance.

  • Beaver County is located in the Pittsburgh Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is mainly an industrial and urban community with rural pockets. The area's population is predominantly white and there is a high proportion of elderly residents, fueling strong demand for Certified Nurse Aides. Beaver County has no central city; the population is clustered in several centers through the county. Until the early 1980s, the economy was largely dependent on the steel industry, but now it is much more diversified. The unemployment rate is approximately 4 percent, with the majority of new jobs in manufacturing and customer service.
  • The city of Pittsburgh is surrounded by Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania. The area has been experiencing a strong economy in recent years with an unemployment rate of approximately 4 percent. Stable industries, such as the primary metals and health services industries, account for a 16 percent share of the region's workforce, and have helped spawn the growing robotics, biomedical, and information technologies industries in the region. As in Beaver County, there is a high proportion of elderly residents in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County, fueling strong demand for Certified Nurse Aides. Pittsburgh also has a very active and generous philanthropic community.

Welfare programs in Rhode Island are state-administered. The state has a five-year time limit for adults; children can continue to receive assistance after the adult reaches the time limit. Adults receive an automatic extension if they "play by the rules." During the first two years on TANF, individuals have considerable choice regarding which activities they participate in; an emphasis is placed on education and training options. Individuals may be exempted from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. The state imposes a partial sanction until the client is in compliance.

  • Providence, like most of Rhode Island, has a very robust economy with an unemployment rate of approximately 3 percent. The TANF caseload is racially diverse  approximately one-half are Caucasian, one quarter are Hispanic, and most of the remainder are African-American.

South Carolina has a state-administered welfare system. The TANF program has a time limit of 24 out of 120 months, with a 60 month lifetime limit for assistance. Clients are required to participate in a two-week up-front job search before their application for assistance is approved. Additional work requirements are imposed throughout the 24 months on assistance. Mothers can be exempt from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. A recent change in administration has led to a shift in focus from work-first and caseload reductions to child and family well-being. This has resulted in an ease in the implementation of the state's full-family sanction policy.

  • Charleston is located in Charleston County. The county includes two urban areas  Charleston and North Charleston  and a substantial rural area, predominantly on the islands surrounding the city. The local economy depends heavily on seasonal tourism. Local agriculture has diminished greatly in recent years, as has the resulting migrant population. The economy is strong with an unemployment rate around 3.5 percent. Primary employers are in the service sector, including food service, colleges and universities, and hospitals.
  • Manning is located in Clarendon County. The area is very rural and the local economy has been lagging behind the rest of the state. The unemployment rate in July 1999 was 7.7 percent. Primary employers are in the food services, housekeeping, and manufacturing sector. Most jobs require a high school diploma, which poses a problem since 21 percent of the county population has less than a ninth grade education.

On-Site Discussions

An average of 10 to 12 discussions were conducted with a variety of respondents from local TANF agencies and local workforce development agencies, including the Employment Service, JTPA providers (and administering entities), and WtW providers at each site. Respondents included agency directors, supervisors, and service delivery staff. Table 3 displays the programs that participated in this study, by site. Some of these programs are operated by the same agency or organization. For example, the SDA in Kansas City operates both the WtW and JTPA programs and is also responsible for much of the TANF work component.

The key areas covered in the discussion guide included:

  • Overview of local TANF operations, including organizational structure;
  • Overview of local workforce programs, including organizational structure;
  • Population served;
  • Services provided  referrals and client monitoring, pre-employment and employment services, supportive services, post-employment services, and job placement and retention;
  • Labor market context; and
  • Coordination between TANF and workforce development system  major partners, history of service coordination, interorganizational arrangements, nature of service coordination, policy and programmatic changes, employer linkages, local initiatives, challenges, and effects of coordination on the organization and on clients.
Table 3
Programs Included in the Study
Site Program
TANF WtW JTPA ES VR One-Stop Other Contractors (6)
Missouri
Kansas City
Sedalia
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
  X
X
X
X
Ohio
Cleveland
Dayton
Painesville
X
X
X
N/A(7)
N/A
N/A
X
X
X
 
X
  N/A(8)
X
N/A
 
Oregon
Portland
Salem
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
  N/A
N/A

X
Pennsylvania
Beaver County
Pittsburgh
X
X
X
X
X
X
X   N/A
N/A
X
X
Rhode Island
Providence X X X X   N/A  
South Carolina
Charleston
Manning
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
N/A
 
6.  For the purposes of this table "Other Contractors" includes not-for-profit community based organizations, for-profit service providers, and community colleges.

7.  The State of Ohio did not receive any formula WtW funds.

8.  One-Stops were not fully implemented at the time of our visits.

Footnotes

3.  The unemployment rates in this section are based on rates reported by respondents at the time of our site visits (May - August, 1999). 

Appendix C: Summary of Agencies Providing Work-Related Services

Models/Sites
Welfare-Centered Shared Responsibility Integrated
Sedalia Cleveland Providence Charleston Manning Kansas City Painesville Portland Salem Beaver County Pittsburgh Dayton
TANF Eligibility Determination TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF-
JTPA agency
1/
WtW Eligibility Determination JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
  Contractor
2/
TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
 
JTPA Eligibility Determination JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
TANF-
JTPA
agency
Benefit Payment TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency TANF agency
Case Management TANF agency Contractor (to
JTPA-
WIA)
TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency Contractor TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
3/
TANF agency
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
4/
TANF - JTPA agency Contractor (to TANF)
Assessment TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency TANF agency
ES Contractor (to TANF)
TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency Contractor TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
Contractor
5/
Contractors TANF agency
JTPA-
WIA
TANF-
JTPA agency
Job Search/ Job Club/ Job Placement JTPA-
WIA
ES
TANF agency ES Contractor
6/
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA ES
JTPA-
WIA
ES Contractor JTPA-
WIA ES Contractor
TANF agency
ES Contractors
TANF agency
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
TANF-
JTPA
agency
ES
Resource Room ES TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
  JTPA-
WIA
ES
ES ES JTPA-
WIA
Contractor ES Contractor ES
Contractors
JTPA-
WIA
TANF-
JTPA
agency
ES
LMI ES TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
ES ES JTPA-
WIA
ES
ES JTPA-
WIA
ES ES ES JTPA-
WIA
ES
TANF-
JTPA
agency
ES
Job Development   TANF agency ES TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
ES
  JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA Contractor
Contractor ES
Contractors
JTPA-
WIA
TANF-
JTPA
agency
ES
Job Readiness Training JTPA-
WIA
ES
TANF agency ES Contractor (to TANF) TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency Contractor TANF agency JTPA-
WIA Contractor
7/
Contractors TANF agency
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
TANF-
JTPA
agency
ES
Family Life Skills TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
  ES TANF agency TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
  Contractor TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
Contractor
8/
Contractors Contractors  
GED/ABE Contractor (to TANF) Contractor (to TANF) Contractor (to TANF) MOU
with
school systems (TANF)
  JTPA-
WIA
Contractor Contractor   Contractors JTPA-
WIA Contractors
Contractor (to TANF)
Basic Skills Training JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
Contractor (to TANF) JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA Contractor
JTPA-
WIA Contractor
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
TANF-
JTPA
agency
Job Specific Skills Training   JTPA-
WIA
ES MOU
with technical college (TANF)
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
Contractor Contractor JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
TANF-
JTPA
agency
Retention/ Advancement   TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency
ES
    JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency
Contractor
TANF agency
ES
Contractor
JTPA-
WIA
Contractors
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
TANF-
JTPA
agency
Contractor
Work Experience TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency   TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
TANF agency JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
JTPA-
WIA
Contractor JTPA-
WIA Contractor
JTPA-
WIA Contractors
JTPA-
WIA
TANF-
JTPA
agency
Contractor
1.  The TANF and JTPA agencies in Montgomery County are merged.

2.  In Portland JOBS and WtW funds go through a local Community College.

3.  The State welfare agency contracts directly for some work-welfare programs.
Other contracts are through the JTPA-WIA agency.

4.  The State welfare agency contracts directly for some work-welfare programs.
Other contracts are through the JTPA-WIA agency.

5.  In Salem JOBS and WtW funds go through a local Community College.

6.  The ES (The State Department of Labor and Training) subcontracts with a non-profit to provide
job search services to non-English speaking TANF clients.

7.  Basic Employment Skills Training (BEST) is facilitated by the TANF agency and partner agencies including,
ES, JTPA-WIA, and the Community College.

8.  Basic Employment Skills Training (BEST) is facilitated by the TANF agency and partner agencies including,
ES, JTPA-WIA, and the Community College.