casetable

H. C. Covington (ach1@sprynet.com)
Mon, 11 May 1998 18:15:17 -0500


TABLE OF CONTENTS

               Page

         INTRODUCTION   1

         OVERVIEW OF THE REPORT   3

         JTPA, IT'S WORKING! Northwest Arkansas Economic Development
District, Inc.   15

         SETA/PIC WELFARE-TO-WORK PROJECT Sacramento Employment and
Training Agency (SETA) Sacramento County, California   19

         WELFARE-TO-WORK PILOT PROJECT Santa Ana, California   25

         ADULT CAREER EDUCATIONAL SERVICES (ACES) PROGRAM Curtis Park
Community Center, Denver, Colorado   29

         ADAMS COUNTY EMPLOYMENT CENTER Adams County, Colorado   35

         LEARNING INDEPENDENCE THROUGH EMPLOYMENT:
            PROJECT L.I.F.E. Louisville/Jefferson County, Louisville,
Kentucky
               41

         MASSACHUSETTS SKILLS PLUS PROGRAM State of Massachusetts   45

         WORK CONNECTIONS St. Peters, Missouri   51

         NEW HAMPSHIRE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM (NHEP) State of New Hampshire
57

         CUMBERLAND COUNTY JOBS/FDP Cumberland County, New Jersey   63

         FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (FDP) Morris/Sussex/Warren Offices of
Work Force Development Morristown, New Jersey   67

         SUFFOLK WORKS Suffolk County Department of Labor, Smithtown, New
York   73

         COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FOR INDEPENDENCE Newport, Rhode Island   79

         BECOMING RESPONSIBLE, INDEPENDENT THROUGH
            DEVELOPING GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (BRIDGE) Berkeley, Charleston,
and Dorchester Counties, South Carolina
               83

         WELFARE DIVERSION PROJECT State of South Dakota   87

         DALLAS COUNTY WORKFORCE SYSTEM Dallas, Texas   93

         VERMONT WELFARE-TO-WORK PROGRAM Rutland, Vermont   99

         VERMONT FAIR SHARE PROGRAM Washington County, Vermont   105

         VERMONT HOMEROOM PROGRAM Bennington County, Vermont   111

         VERMONT STATEWIDE WEEEV PROGRAM State of Vermont   117

         APPRENTICESHIP AND NONTRADITIONAL EMPLOYMENT
            FOR WOMEN (ANEW) PROGRAM SDA V, Renton, Washington
               123



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INTRODUCTION





In August 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, creating a new
system of block grants to the states, Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF), replacing the six-decades-old Aid to Families with
Dependent Children (AFDC) program. With this legislation, the focus of
welfare policy in the United States dramatically shifted from an emphasis
on providing financial assistance to a new priority: moving recipients into
employment and economic self-sufficiency. To help achieve this
welfare-to-work objective, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 authorized the
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to provide welfare-to-work grants to states
and, through the states, to the employment and training systems of local
communities, for the purpose of assisting the hardest-to-employ in the
welfare population to qualify for employment.



State and local employment and training agencies have a substantial record
of achievement in serving welfare recipients under the Job Training
Partnership Act (JTPA) and, under agreements with state and local welfare
agencies, in implementing the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS)
program.



To aid the employment and training system in carrying out its new and
expanded responsibilities under welfare reform, the Employment and Training
Administration (ETA) of DOL asked Westat, Inc., under its rapid response
contract with ETA, to conduct case studies of successful or promising
welfare-to-work programs that have involved the JTPA or Employment Service
delivery systems and to assemble these case studies in a casebook to be
distributed to all states and service delivery areas (SDAs).





Study Approach



On May 5, 1997, ETA issued a Field Memorandum (FM) to its Regional
Administrators requesting that they aim to solicit the nomination of at
least three welfare-to-work programs from each state, utilizing a
prescribed format developed in consultation with Westat.



As a framework for identifying promising or successful programs, states
were asked to use the following five key features shared by successful
programs, the first four of which were cited by the General Accounting
Office in its May 1996 report "Employment Training: Successful Projects
Share Common Strategy": (1) ensuring that participants are committed to
training and getting a job; (2) removing barriers that could limit a
participant's ability to finish training and get a job; (3) improving
participants' employability skills; (4) linking occupational skills
training with the local labor market; and (5) collaboration and partnership
with other agencies. The FM, however, encouraged the nomination of programs
with successful outcomes, even if they did not meet all five of these
criteria.


The Regional Offices were asked to review the nominations from the states
in their region and to select approximately five programs for submission to
the National Office of ETA. In this process, they were to review the
performance data of the SDAs that were involved in administering the
nominated programs and select those in the top quartile in their states in
serving welfare recipients. From the programs submitted by the Regional
Offices, 21 were selected by ETA for inclusion in the casebook.



Westat developed a standard format that would be used in profiling each of
the programs to be included in the casebook. Staff of Westat and its rapid
response subcontractor, Decision Information Resources, Inc. (DIR) prepared
the profiles using the information on the programs submitted by the states,
as supplemented and clarified in followup telephone discussions. To prepare
staff for conducting the telephone discussions and drafting the program
profiles, a training session was held at Westat on August 7, 1997, which
included presentations by representatives of ETA and the Office of Family
Assistance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Telephone interviews with program contacts were conducted in August and
September. Draft profiles were edited and submitted to program contacts for
review, and an overview of the programs was prepared in September and
October.




Contents of the Report



An overview of the case studies is included in this report and discusses:
the variation in program approaches and clients served; key features of the
programs; innovative practices; and principal lessons learned. The
remainder of the casebook contains the individual program profiles that
include the following for each program: program highlights; background;
overview of organizational responsibility for the program; recruitment and
selection of participants; services provided; outcomes; innovative features
of the program; lessons learned; and contact persons. Programs are ordered
in this casebook alphabetically by state. A matrix is included which shows
the key features of each of the programs.





Staffing



The study was carried out under the general direction of Ellen Tenenbaum,
Westat project director. The report was edited and the overview chapter
written by Lloyd Feldman, senior consultant to Westat. The profiles were
prepared by Frank Bennici, Marcus Conti, Thomas Ryan, Diane Steele, Dawn
Thomas, Patty Troppe, and Andrea Wilson of Westat, and Carol Boussy,
Gwendolyn Joseph, and Ann McCoy of DIR. The matrix was prepared by Ms.
Wilson.






OVERVIEW OF THE REPORT





In this section, we provide an overview of the 21 welfare-to-work programs
profiled in this report. It should be emphasized that, while all of these
programs are successful in aiding welfare recipients to make the transition
to full-time, gainful employment, each represents a community's unique
approach to the problem. These approaches were diverse and therefore this
overview cannot substitute for a reading of the individual cases and, for
those interested in a deeper understanding of the programs, discussion with
the program contact person listed at the conclusion of each profile.



In this overview, we will: (1) provide a sense of the substantial variation
in these program approaches and in the characteristics of the welfare
recipients they serve; (2) identify key features that are common to a
substantial number of the programs; (3) highlight some of their more
innovative practices; and (4) summarize the principal lessons that
welfare-to-work staff have drawn from their experience and which they offer
to other practitioners confronted with this difficult challenge.





Program Variations



While all of the programs selected for this casebook meet DOL's principal
criterion for inclusion -- success in moving welfare recipients to
self-sufficiency -- they vary considerably in several important respects:
program duration and philosophy; demographic characteristics of
participants; and funding patterns.



Program Duration and Philosophy. The duration of these programs rarely
exceed several months. However, a number of programs adhering closely to
the "work-first" philosophy and fashioning highly intensive short-term
programs report average program lengths of only a few weeks. These include:
Louisville (3 weeks); Sacramento (4 weeks); and South Dakota (4 weeks). By
contrast, other programs were designed to provide more extended services to
participants and, in these cases, participation may last, on average, a
year or more. For example, Cumberland County, New Jersey, with an average
program duration of 18 months, provides a wide range of services to ensure
the employability of participants: self-paced basic skills training, if
needed, followed by occupational training and job-search assistance. If
placement is not immediate, participants are enrolled in community work
experience. The Northwest Arkansas program emphasizes long-term
occupational training for high-paying, high-demand occupations -- the
average wage at placement is $9.22 per hour or more -- and, accordingly,
the average length of participation in the program is 24 months.



Demographic Characteristics of Participants. In almost all of these
programs, which reflect the AFDC/TANF population, the large majority or all
of the participants are women. A notable exception is the Vermont Fair
Share program in which the participants are predominantly male. Fair Share
is devoted to finding employment for noncustodial parents (usually male)
who are unable to make child support payments.



The enrollees in most of the programs profiled had higher levels of
education than the general AFDC/TANF population. In the majority of the
programs, two-thirds or more of the participants had a high school diploma
or higher compared with around 50 percent for the welfare population as a
whole. At either end of the spectrum are the Vermont Homeroom project,
which specifically targets welfare recipients who have not completed high
school (100% dropouts) and the Newport, Rhode Island computer technology
program (100% high school graduates).



Programs tend to mirror the ethnic composition of the welfare population in
individual communities. For example, all of the enrollees in the Rutland,
Vermont welfare-to-work program were white, 82 percent of the Charleston,
South Carolina enrollees were black, and 74 percent of Santa Ana,
California's program participants were Hispanic.



Funding Patterns. Funding patterns for the programs vary considerably but,
in almost all cases, the primary source of funds is either JTPA or the JOBS
program. In many instances, projects combine funding from both programs.
The large majority of programs utilize at least two different funding
sources. The Dallas program draws funds from five sources: JTPA; TANF; Food
Stamp Employment and Training; the Texas Education Agency; and an
association of private career schools. Several programs leverage
substantial financial or in-kind support from non-government organizations,
such as Denver's ACES program in which almost one-fifth of the funding is
provided by the local United Way. In Louisville, the L.I.F.E. pilot project
is funded by several state and local agencies out of their existing budgets
supplemented by financial support from a consortium of local employers.



Whether or not JTPA is the principal funding source in these programs, the
local JTPA agency is generally the primary implementing agency, under
contract with the state or local welfare agency in the case of JOBS-funded
programs. Exceptions are programs, such as South Dakota's, in which the
state Employment Service (ES) has the lead responsibility for
implementation.





Key Features



Each of the programs has a distinctive mix of services tailored to meet the
specific requirements of its clientele and the needs of local employers.
Thus, it is difficult to identify operating principles or patterns that are
common to all 21 cases in this report. However, there are certain features
that recur in a large number of the programs and, therefore, merit
particular consideration by welfare-to-work practitioners.



Coordination of Services. The large majority of these programs are
characterized by a close working relationship between the state or local
welfare agency and the local JTPA office. Where the JTPA office has the
lead for program implementation, welfare agency referrals are the primary
source of participants. This is usually supplemented by referrals from
community-based organizations (CBOs) and advertising in the local media.



However, some of these programs go well beyond the interagency referral of
clients in coordinating services for welfare recipients. In 9 of the 21
programs, services are provided in one-stop career center settings. At the
centers, at a minimum, JTPA, ES, and welfare agency representatives are
co-located. At many of the centers, welfare recipients also benefit from
the outstationing of vocational rehabilitation, housing, and social service
agency personnel.



A striking feature of many of the programs is the close teamwork that has
emerged between welfare and employment and training staff in program
planning and implementation. In New Hampshire, for example, the statewide
program is administered by interagency teams composed of representatives of
the welfare, ES, and JTPA agencies which were cross-trained and co-located
and are overseen by a multitiered interagency management system. In South
Dakota's Welfare Diversion project, the social service caseworker and Job
Service positions were blended into a new, flexible "employment specialist"
position. At the Adams County, Colorado Employment Center, JTPA and Food
Stamp staff share the responsibility for conducting work readiness training
for participants.



Emphasis on Case Management. Case management has traditionally been a basic
feature of AFDC and other welfare programs and, since the Job Training
Reform Amendments of 1992, has been of increased importance in JTPA
programs. It is thus not surprising that case management plays a major role
in the implementation of these welfare-to-work programs.



Typically, case managers are assigned to clients from the outset of these
programs. They assess participants' educational, occupational, and personal
skills, as well as deficiencies, and identify any barriers to employment.
Managers then work with clients in the development of a service plan
tailored to the clients' needs, as identified in the assessment. They also
identify barriers to employment, particularly the need for child care and
transportation, and make the necessary arrangements or referrals.



Case managers monitor clients' progress through any workshops and training
in which they participate and then work closely with the clients in the
job-search process and in followup after placement in a job. As described
in the profiles, the case managers assist clients during the job search and
post-placement in solving practical work-related problems, as well as
providing encouragement and emotional support.



Shift from Occupational to Work Readiness Training. Traditionally, JTPA
programs for economically disadvantaged adults have included a major
occupational skills training component, either in a classroom or on-the-job
setting. However, in most welfare-to-work programs responding to the
"work-first" imperative, skills training has been deemphasized and is
offered on either a very limited basis or not at all. Rather, the majority
of programs emphasize work readiness training, basic skills remediation (if
needed), and job-search assistance. Work readiness training plays a
particularly prominent role. This component usually combines job-seeking
skills, such as resume writing, interview techniques, and appropriate
business attire and demeanor with more general life skills training, such
as enhancing self-esteem, confidence-building, and goal-setting. The
Cumberland County, New Jersey. and the Sacramento County programs are among
those with particularly extensive work readiness training components.



Supportive Services Play a Major Role. In almost all of these programs,
supportive services are provided to overcome barriers to employment
frequently encountered by welfare recipients. Most prominent among these
services are child care and transportation assistance.



Program staff have devised a wide range of approaches to the child care
problem. The Adams County, Colorado one-stop center has a daycare facility
on-site and the Morris County, New Jersey program co-locates a
representative of the local child care agency at their offices so that
clients can move from case manager to child care assistance services during
their first visit. In the South Carolina BRIDGE program, participants
receive vouchers with which they can purchase child care from
state-approved providers.



Transportation, too, is arranged for in a variety of ways, most commonly by
providing bus tokens or passes where public transportation is available or
funds for gasoline if private vehicles are used. In another approach, the
Morris County, New Jersey program is linked to a local transportation
management service -- McRides -- which coordinates van and car pooling to
work.



Among the other supportive services noted by program staff is furnishing
participants with appropriate clothing that they can wear for interviews or
when they begin working. The Sacramento County program, for example,
provides each client in need with three to five complete business outfits.
Other supportive services frequently mentioned include referrals to
housing, medical, and substance abuse services.


Supportive services are of central importance in the South Dakota Welfare
Diversion Project. In addition to providing intensive job-search assistance
and job-readiness training for potential welfare recipients, the program
seeks to keep them off welfare through diversion payments, or one-time cash
grants, which can be used to pay bills or to help unemployed persons in
their job search by enabling them to purchase clothing for interviews or
for other job-related purposes.





Innovative Practices



Each of the programs profiled in this report represents a community's
unique approach to the challenge of moving welfare recipients from
dependency to work and, eventually, economic self-sufficiency. In
formulating these programs, many of which were launched only within the
last year or two, planners have incorporated special features that they
felt would enhance the prospects for program success. These are discussed
in each of the profiles. Highlighted below are several of these program
features that may be of particular interest to welfare-to-work policy and
program practitioners.



Major Business Role. Recognizing that the private sector is the primary
source of job opportunities for welfare recipients entering the labor
market, several programs enlist the local business community as active
partners in preparing these individuals for employment. In the Newport,
Rhode Island computer technology program, local chamber of commerce members
participate in the interviews of prospective participants, conduct the
program's workshops on work readiness, and provide internships to introduce
participants to the world of work. In the case of the Rutland, Vermont
Welfare-to-Work Program, a local manufacturer helped found the program and
his companies offer employment opportunities (including try-out employment)
and on-the-job training to program participants after they complete
job-readiness training at the Rutland one-stop career center. In
Sacramento, an employer advisory team develops industry-specific curricula
and supplies speakers for the program, hosts field trips, and participates
in graduation ceremonies.



Nontraditional Occupations for Women. The Renton, Washington program
focuses on preparing women on welfare for occupations in which women have
traditionally been underrepresented. Participants are introduced to the
construction trades, utilizing the facilities of the local technical
college. The program is guided by an advisory committee, which includes
construction employers, and a board of directors comprised of journey
workers, union representatives, and representatives from the building
trades council.



Privatization of Program Delivery. In a departure from the traditional
pattern of funding implementation of employment and training programs
through public sector agencies, the Dallas County Local Workforce
Development Board privatized its welfare-to-work initiative through a
direct contract with Lockheed Martin Information Management Services (IMS).
Former JTPA, one-stop career center, and Texas Workforce Commission staff
members were hired by Lockheed, which now coordinates the operation of four
one-stop centers in Dallas County where welfare-to-work clientele are
served.



Serving Noncustodial Parents. All but one of the programs profiled in this
report focus directly on welfare recipients. However, the Vermont Fair
Share Program attacks the problem of welfare dependency from another
direction. It provides placement and job-search assistance for unemployed
or underemployed noncustodial parents who are delinquent in their child
support payments. While few of these noncustodial parents receive AFDC/TANF
benefits, approximately 80 percent of their custodial family partners are
receiving such benefits.





Lessons Learned



Staff of each of the programs included in this report were asked to list
some of the most important lessons they have drawn from their experience in
administering these welfare-to-work programs. Their comments are included
in each of the program profiles. While their responses were diverse, there
were several interrelated themes that recurred in a large number of the
comments. Practitioners may wish to give particular consideration to these
points in designing future welfare-to-work programs.



Welfare-to-work programs should be able to draw upon a broad range of
services, and this requires a high level of interagency cooperation and
coordination. Program staff emphasized that the needs of welfare recipients
are wide-ranging and thus it is particularly important that program staff
have access to a broad array of services in formulating individual service
plans for welfare recipients. They felt that this can best be achieved
through a higher degree of interagency cooperation than may have been the
case in earlier programs. In this regard, they underscored the value of
co-location of service agencies; those programs delivered at one-stop
centers were particularly enthusiastic about the benefits of one-stop
service delivery.



Cooperation may also take the form of pooling of resources. As noted in the
discussion of funding patterns, several of the programs leveraged financial
or in-kind contributions from other agencies or organizations.



The case for interagency cooperation in serving welfare recipients was best
summed up by the staff of the Cumberland County, New Jersey program:

Cumberland County learned early on that cooperation was the best approach
to meeting the challenge of welfare reform. Overcoming 'turf' issues
contributed greatly to the local success of JOB/FDP. Local agencies that
participated in providing services to AFDC recipients agreed to work
together to achieve the goals of the program. Instead of attempting to be
the 'local hero,' each agency took ownership of a component of the reform
program while working with others to serve clients' needs.



The programs should be flexible in their approach to individual clients.
Many of the program representatives stressed the importance of flexibility
in providing services for welfare clients. The diversity of the clients'
individual needs cannot be met through a standardized, "one-size-fits-all"
package of services. This point was summarized by the staff of the Morris
County, New Jersey program:

....the single most important factor in a successful welfare-to-work
program is that it be client-driven. A successful employment-based case
management model should be based on fitting services to the specific needs
of the client rather than fitting the client into a pre-determined mold of
services.



This theme is closely linked with the previous one; flexibility relies on
the accessibility of a wide range of service options. As the staff of the
Vermont statewide WEEEV program observed:



A combination of comprehensiveness and flexibility, in which academic,
personal, and worksite training can be programmed as needed, provides a
chance for success for individuals with barriers to employment, whether
they are receiving welfare or not.



Several programs noted the importance of allowing for client choice in
formulating program approaches. In the case of the South Dakota program,
clients may receive a one-time cash grant (diversion payment) which they
can use, at their discretion, to overcome various barriers to employment,
such as lack of child care, appropriate clothing, or tools. In the
Massachusetts SKILLS PLUS program, the staff reported that their success
was attributable to the "customer choice" aspect of the program, in which
clients were able to select their own training program and vendor.



Case management is a key component. Many staff members emphasized the
importance of case management in the delivery of services to welfare
recipients. They noted that case managers play a key role at critical
junctures in the clients' passage, through a program, from welfare to work:
assessment at the program's outset; encouragement and removal of barriers
while the client is receiving services; active assistance in the job search
process; and postprogram followup after employment. The Newport, Rhode
Island program attributed the program's high completion rate (93%) to
effective case management which enabled staff to address any personal or
employment problems immediately. The Morristown, New Jersey program noted
that case management enables the client to gain access to all needed
resources of the program and to learn how to use their strengths to best
advantage.



Assessment is a critical step in the process. The staff of several programs
pointed to assessment as the crucial stage in the case management process.
They felt that an adequate assessment will correctly identify the client's
interests, skills, and barriers to employment, resulting in a mix of
services that will enable the client to make a successful transition to
sustainable employment. In addition, the South Dakota and Vermont WEEEV
programs viewed initial assessment as critically important in selecting the
best candidates for welfare-to-work programs. As the Vermont staff noted:


...the assessment stage of the recruitment and selection process is a key
to program success...the extra effort and thoroughness applied to this
activity is repaid in the program outcomes.



Involving employers and meeting their requirements can contribute
significantly to program success. Program staff, in their program
descriptions and comments on lessons learned, underscored the value of
involving employers in the design and delivery of welfare-to-work services
to participants. In addition to involving employers during the
training/work preparation process, the Louisville program stressed the
importance of encouraging employers to continue to play an active role
after program completion, by relaxing some of their hiring requirements
(e.g., high school diploma) and mentoring welfare recipients after they are
hired.



It is equally important that welfare-to-work programs, like all workforce
development programs, be responsive to employer requirements. The
Sacramento staff felt that this could be achieved through a careful
pre-screening of potential participants and selection of those who were
motivated to work. The Renton, Washington Apprenticeship and Nontraditional
Employment for Women program noted that, to keep program graduates
competitive, it was necessary to make modifications in program content
promptly in response to employer suggestions.



The qualities of the program staff can make the difference between program
success or failure. In a variety of ways, representatives of these programs
stressed the importance of the attitudes and orientation of program staff
in achieving a successful working relationship with welfare clientele. Some
referred to their staff's basic belief in the employment and training
approach to the problem of welfare dependency. Others noted the importance
of being compassionate and encouraging in relating to welfare clients. The
staff of Denver's ACES program summed it up as follows, in advising
welfare-to-work practitioners:



...to be honest, enthusiastic, encouraging, empathetic, and compassionate
in assisting this client population and, at the same time, continue to help
them remember their initial vision and goals of being in the program:
self-sufficiency.



Participants should consistently focus on the program's goals of employment
and self-sufficiency. Several programs echoed Denver's emphasis on keeping
participants focused, throughout the program, on the goal of achieving
employment and economic self-sufficiency. In the Suffolk County, New York
program, it is stressed to enrollees that participation in a training
program is not an end in itself but that the staff expect it to lead to the
participants' immediate employment in a specific field. Missouri's Work
Connections program seeks to create a general program environment for
participants that encourages employment.



Each program described in this casebook represents a unique blend of
program services and approaches to the problem of moving welfare recipients
into stable, gainful employment. The lessons program staff have learned and
that they offer to their colleagues in the employment and training
community are equally diverse. Yet, as the preceding paragraphs suggest,
certain key principles did emerge from their collective experience.
Clearly, welfare-to-work practitioners must consider the value of
interagency collaboration and flexibility in dealing with the welfare
population. Case management and careful assessment of participants can
prove to be critical components of a welfare-to-work service strategy.
Employers and a carefully selected professional staff can play critical
roles in the welfare-to-work process and, overall, that process should
unfold in an environment that stresses the basic shift from welfare
dependence to work and economic self-sufficiency.