Study Details for:
Bloom, Dan, Richard Hendra, Karin Martinson, and Susan Scrivener (2005). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: Early results from four sites, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [Chicago]

Study URL: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/early_results.pdf (Link not working?)

Evaluation: Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

Program Studied: Employment Retention and Advancement Project (ERA)—Chicago
See Study Characteristics tab below for more information about this program.

Strength of Evidence: 1-High High (3 of 3)

Populations Targeted Employed, Parents, Single parents, Welfare population
Setting Urban only
Services Provided , Case management, Education, Employment retention services, Financial incentives or sanctions, Job development/job placement, Training, Work readiness activities
Outcome Domains Examined Favorable Impacts FoundShort-term employment, Short-term earnings, Short-term benefit receipt

Findings

Toggle Short-term employmentShort-term employment
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Ever employed, quarter 5, %
Adjusted mean = 57.0 Adjusted mean = 52.7 4.3 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 UI records, quarter 5

Employed 4 consecutive quarters, %
Adjusted mean = 47.5 Adjusted mean = 43.8 3.7 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 UI records, year 1
Toggle Short-term earningsShort-term earnings
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing
1 Zero values are used when calculating earnings for unemployed participants.

Annual earnings, $1
Adjusted mean = 6,518 Adjusted mean = 5,979 539 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 UI records, year 1
Toggle Short-term benefit receiptShort-term benefit receipt
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing
1 Zero values are used when calculating benefit receipt for people not receiving benefits.

Ever received TANF, %
Adjusted mean = 89.2 Adjusted mean = 89.4 -0.3 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 TANF records, year 1

Annual amount of TANF received, $1
Adjusted mean = 1,396 Adjusted mean = 1,589 -193 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 TANF records, year 1

Ever received Food Stamps, %
Adjusted mean = 99.4 Adjusted mean = 98.6 0.7 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 Food Stamps records, year 1

Annual amount of Food Stamps received, $1
Adjusted mean = 4,004 Adjusted mean = 3,928 76 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Chicago sample 990 Food Stamps records, year 1

Study Characteristics

Toggle Participants & Program Details Participants & Program Details
Participant Detail The report included about half of the total sample for the study, those for whom at least one year of follow-up data is available (sample members were randomized between February and September 2002). Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who worked 30 hours or more per week for at least six months but were still eligible for TANF were the target population for the study. The report examined only single parents.

At the time of random assignment, people in the study were an average 33 years old, and 86 percent were black non-Hispanic. Two-thirds had three or more children, and 51 percent had a youngest child at least age 6 years. More than half (57 percent) had no high school diploma or GED, and 67 percent were employed in Unemployment Insurance-covered jobs in the year before random assignment. (The authors noted that a large proportion of ERA clients who were required to have been employed for at least six consecutive months were working in informal jobs not covered by UI.)
Program Services People eligible for the program were recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who worked 30 hours or more per week for six months or more but were still eligible for TANF. ERA services aimed to increase their earnings. Clients were invited to an orientation session, were offered a $50 gift certificate for attending the session, and were asked to consent to participation in the study. Consenting clients who were randomly assigned to ERA in Chicago (operated by a for-profit company) could meet with a Career and Income Advisor who would help them develop a career and income advancement plan. The advisor counseled participants about how to advance in their current job and (more commonly) helped them apply for higher-paying jobs in companies that had relationships with the program. Services could include education and training, but fewer than one-quarter of program participants received those services. In addition to the 30-hour work requirement that was part of their TANF participation, clients had to maintain regular contact with their case manager; failure to do so could result in a sanction of their TANF benefits. The staff-client relationship often continued after people left TANF.
Program Duration The program served participants for up to 12 months after their date of random assignment, even if they left TANF.
Comparison Services People assigned to the comparison condition could continue to receive cash assistance and could participate in other programs that were normally offered in the community. The study reported that some clients received substantial support from the Illinois Department of Human Services, particularly if they worked fewer than 30 hours per week. People assigned to the comparison condition were subject to Illinois’s typical TANF work requirements.
Toggle Study Design Study Design
Strength of Evidence Description High
Group Formation Evaluators randomly assigned people eligible for the study to a treatment group (Illinois ERA) or a control group (usual services available in the community). This study focuses on 990 people (493 ERA, 497 control) who were randomly assigned between February and September 2002 and examines their outcomes, according to administrative records, 12 months later.
Effect Calculation The effects reported by the authors and displayed on this site are the raw mean differences between the groups, adjusted for baseline demographics.
Notes on Reported Outcomes The study also reports average quarterly employment and earnings as well as employment, earnings, and case assistance during the final quarter of year 1.
Subgroups Studied Participants' employment status at baseline
Other Domains Examined None
Toggle Study Setting Study Setting
Setting Details The study took place in Chicago and in St. Clair County (East St. Louis), Illinois, and was operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services, but this report includes results for people in Chicago only.
Timing of Study The report examined the study group from February 2002 through September 2003.
Study Funding The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the study, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Study URL http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/early_results.pdf