Preliminary Findings from the Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN Evaluation
MDRC is evaluating Los Angeles County’s Jobs-First GAIN program, a mandatory Work First welfare-to-work program for single parents (AFDC-FGs) and members of two-parent households (AFDC-Us). First-year results indicate that the vast majority of welfare recipients who entered Jobs-First GAIN left the program within a year—many for employment. Most of those who left the program remained on cash assistance at the end of year 1. Relatively few enrollees participated in employment-related activities; most who did attended job clubs. A large proportion of enrollees received a grant reduction for noncompliance (a sanction), indicating that Jobs-First GAIN strongly enforces its participation mandates. The program produced substantial early increases in employment and earnings for AFDC-FGs and AFDC-Us, a necessary condition for future success. It also reduced first-year AFDC/TANF receipt and expenditures by moderate to large amounts. Additional follow-up for an early cohort suggests that welfare savings will continue through year 2. Jobs-First GAIN also decreased Food Stamp receipt; savings should persist in the second year of follow-up.