Welfare rolls declined after Temporary Assistance for Needy Families became law in 1996, and there was widespread consensus that its reforms were a bipartisan success story. But the onslaught of the Great Recession exposed serious flaws in the law. This memo describes a two-part solution based on experience and evidence.
Subsidized employment programs use public funds to create jobs for the unemployed. This two-page memo describes how they can provide short-term income support to individuals with serious barriers to employment or to broader groups during poor economic times — while having positive effects on reducing recidivism, increasing child support payments, or reducing reliance on welfare.
The Employment Retention and Advancement Project
A program in Los Angeles offering individualized and flexible case management services to working welfare recipients did not substantially increase the use of work-based services by participants – and did not lead to greater employment or higher earnings than did the county’s existing postemployment program.
Will the Past Be Prologue?
In remarks given at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, MDRC President Gordon Berlin looks at the extraordinary challenges the current labor market presents to employment policy generally and WIA reauthorization specifically, outlines what we have (and haven’t) learned from research, and makes recommendations for future directions.
Implementation and Early Impacts for Two Programs That Sought to Encourage Advancement Among Low-Income Workers
While these two different programs in the Employment Retention and Advancement Project both increased service receipt, neither had effects on job retention or advancement after 1.5 years of follow-up.
This report presents a preliminary analysis of the cost of operating Britain’s Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) demonstration, which is being evaluated though a large-scale randomised control trial. This assessment of costs will become an important element of the full cost-benefit analysis to be presented in future ERA reports.
A Synthesis of Research
Most welfare programs seek to ensure that poor families have adequate income while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency. Based on studies of 28 programs involving more than 100,000 sample members, this synthesis compares the costs, benefits, and returns on investment of six welfare program strategies – from the perspectives of participants, government budgets, and society as a whole.