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.
Final Results from a Test of Transitional Jobs and Preemployment Services in Philadelphia
An evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for long-term welfare recipients finds that: (1) transitional jobs substantially increased employment in the short term, but these effects faded after one year, and (2) it is difficult to engage welfare recipients in extensive preemployment services long enough to improve their employability.
Final Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration
The British ERA program’s distinctive combination of post-employment advisory support and financial incentives was designed to help low-income individuals who entered work sustain employment and advance in the labor market. It produced short-term earnings gains for two target groups but sustained increases in employment and earnings and positive benefit-cost results for the third target group, long-term unemployed individuals.
This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, examines what is known about welfare recipients with serious barriers to work, what states are doing to serve them, and what research says about which interventions are most effective.
Implications for Income Support Policy
On the eve of the 15th anniversary of federal welfare reform, MDRC President Gordon Berlin describes the implications of the Great Recession and its effects on the labor market for welfare policy and other safety net programs. The speech was given at the 2011 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. Participants in the CUNY project were more likely to have been employed for pay than youth in the control group. However, the project had no impacts on income, expectations, or a composite measure of school enrollment or high school completion.
The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. The implementation of the Colorado project deviated from the YTD model, and, while participants were more likely to have used employment services than youth in the control group, the program had no impacts on employment, income, or other measures.
Delivery, Take-Up, and Outcomes of In-Work Training Support for Lone Parents
This report presents new findings from Britain’s Employment Advancement and Retention demonstration, which tested the effectiveness of a program to improve the labor market prospects of low-paid workers and unemployed people. The report assesses whether coaching by advisers and financial incentives encouraged single-parent participants to take and complete training courses and whether training had an impact on their advancement in the labor market.