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. [Riverside, CA—Work Plus versus Training Focused]

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: Riverside, California—Work Plus versus Training Focused
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, Health services, Substance abuse and mental health services, Supportive services, Training, Work readiness activities
Outcome Domains Examined Short-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 = 64.4 Adjusted mean = 61.4 3 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 UI records, quarter 5

Employed 4 consecutive quarters, %
Adjusted mean = 49.3 Adjusted mean = 47.5 1.8 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 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 = 7,997 Adjusted mean = 7,830 167 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 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 = 87.1 Adjusted mean = 88.9 -1.8 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 TANF records, year 1

Annual amount of TANF received, $1
Adjusted mean = 3,124 Adjusted mean = 3,348 -224 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 TANF records, year 1

Ever received Food Stamps, %
Adjusted mean = 86.0 Adjusted mean = 81.6 4.5 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 Food Stamps records, year 1

Annual amount of Food Stamps received, $1
Adjusted mean = 1,411 Adjusted mean = 1,399 12 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Riverside report sample, Work Plus versus Training Focused 1,442 Food Stamps records, year 1

Study Characteristics

Toggle Participants & Program Details Participants & Program Details
Participant Detail Single-parent TANF clients who had participated in a Phase 1 (pre-employment) Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) program, who had reported obtaining a job, and who met a series of eligibility requirements were eligible for random assignment into Phase 2 (post-employment). Applicants to the program were required to have worked 20 hours or more during at least one week within the past 30 days, earning at least the state’s minimum wage, and had to expect to work an average of at least 20 hours per week for the next 30 days.

At the time of random assignment, people in the study were an average of 30 years old, and 21 percent black non-Hispanic, 45 percent were Hispanic, and 30.9 percent were white, non-Hispanic. Slightly more than one-third of sample members had three or more children, and 33.1 percent had a youngest child at least age 6 years. Fewer than half (42.7 percent) had no high school diploma or GED, and 77.5 reported that they were employed in Unemployment Insurance-covered employment in the year before random assignment.
Program Services Work Plus clients could receive intensive case management and enhanced support services, aimed at encouraging employment stability. Program staff encouraged clients to attend education and training activities after working at least 20 hours per week, with the philosophy that working reinforced the value of education and training and that working while in school or training increased the likelihood of program completion and the use of newly attained skills. The program also provided clients with support services (e.g., child care, transportation, and ancillary payments to participate in program activities), social services (e.g., mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse), referrals to public assistance programs (e.g., TANF, Food Stamps, and Medi-Cal), and job search services.
Program Duration Work Plus staff worked with unemployed clients for up to 60 days after the date of job loss, and then referred them back to Phase 1 job search services. Clients in the Training Focused group had received up to one year of services at the time of data collection. Many continued to receive services after one-year data collection.
Comparison Services Clients in the Training Focused group could receive intensive case management and enhanced support services, aimed at encouraging employment stability. Program staff encouraged clients to attend education and training activities, and they could (with case manager approval) decrease or eliminate their work hours as long as they were participating in education and training activities. Specifically, clients assigned to this condition had to participate in work and training activities for a total of 32 hours per week, but they faced no requirement about the amount of that total that was devoted to work hours. The program also provided clients with support services (e.g., child care, transportation, and ancillary payments to participate in program activities), social services (e.g., mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse), referrals to public assistance programs (e.g., TANF, Food Stamps, and Medi-Cal), and job search services.
Toggle Study Design Study Design
Strength of Evidence Description High
Group Formation After identifying clients eligible for the study, evaluators collected baseline data and then randomly assigned clients to one of three program groups: the Work Plus Group (the treatment condition for this study), the Training Focused Group (the comparison condition for this study), and the Work Focused Group (discussed elsewhere on this site in contrast to the first two conditions). This study focuses on 1,442 people (969 Work Plus, 473 Training Focused) who were randomly assigned between January 2001 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 Employment in UI-covered employment at baseline
Other Domains Examined None
Toggle Study Setting Study Setting
Setting Details The study took place in Riverside County, California, and the ERA programs were administered by the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and the Economic Development Agency (EDA).
Timing of Study This study examines the outcomes, 12 months later, of people randomly assigned from January 2001 through September 2002.
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