Florida's Project Independence

Benefits, Costs, and Two-Year Impacts of Florida’s JOBS Program

| James J. Kemple, Daniel Friedlander, Veronica Fellerath

This is the final report of a five-year evaluation of Florida’s statewide Project Independence program — Florida’s version of the federal-state Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) Program. The program was intended to reduce public assistance costs by assisting welfare recipients to become self-sufficient. Project Independence emphasized relatively low-cost, independent job search services for the majority of its recipients and provided more expensive education and training services for those considered least able to find work on their own.

The study found that for women with school-age children, Project Independence was effective, modestly increasing their employment and earnings and reducing their reliance on welfare, at no net cost to taxpayers. But for women with younger children, for whom child care outlays were higher and the program’s achievements smaller, taxpayers lost money and welfare families had less income.