Study Details for:
Freedman, Stephen (2000). The National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies—Four-year impacts of ten programs on employment stability and earnings growth, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; and U.S. Department of Education. [Grand Rapids— LFA]

Study URL: (Link not working?)

Evaluation: National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS)

Program Studied: Grand Rapids (Labor Force Attachment)
See Study Characteristics tab below for more information about this program.

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

Populations Targeted Parents, Single parents, Welfare population
Setting Urban only
Services Provided Education, Financial incentives or sanctions, Occupational or sectoral training, Supportive services, Training, Unpaid work experience, Work experience, Work readiness activities
Outcome Domains Examined Favorable Impacts FoundLong-term employment, Favorable Impacts FoundLong-term earnings


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

Ever employed, years 1-4, %
Adjusted mean = 87.8 Adjusted mean = 84.8 3 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) Grand Rapids LFA sample versus control 2,734 UI records, year 4
Toggle Long-term earningsLong-term earnings
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Earnings, years 1-4, $
Adjusted mean = 15,574 Adjusted mean = 14,173 1,401 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) Grand Rapids LFA sample versus control 2,734 UI records, year 4

Study Characteristics

Toggle Participants & Program Details Participants & Program Details
Participant Detail This study did not provide study sample characteristics for the early cohort. The baseline characteristics are based on the full sample. Across all three assignment groups in Grand Rapids, almost 96 percent of participants were female and their average age when the study began was about 28 years. The majority was white (50.1 percent), followed by black (39.3 percent). Participants had, on average, 1.8 children. Most (59.0 percent) held a high school diploma or GED at the time of random assignment and 46.0 percent had any earnings in the year before random assignment.
Program Services The Labor Force Attachment (LFA) program focused on rapid job placement. Staff encouraged clients to move quickly into work without being selective about which job to take. Staff could impose financial sanctions (by reducing welfare grant amounts) if clients did not participate in required activities.

In Grand Rapids, LFA program staff first assigned clients to a job club operated by public school staff in a community education center. After two weeks, clients began applying to jobs for up to three weeks. Clients had to make six in-person inquiries or send 15 inquiry letters per week. People who did not find a job during this period could go on to participate in unpaid work experiences, more job searching, vocational training, or basic education. Case managers, who had limited individualized involvement with clients, emphasized monitoring participation and enforcing participation rules by sanctioning nonparticipating clients. However, they could support clients by directly paying child care providers and reimbursing transportation costs.
Program Duration Job club lasted for approximately one month, and clients who completed job club but remained unemployed could receive several rounds of short-term education or vocational training for periods of nine months. The study did not specify how long the program monitored clients to examine whether a sanction should be applied to their case.
Comparison Services People in the control group could not receive any program services but were also not subject to participation requirements (and therefore the risk of nonparticipation sanctions) for program services or employment. These clients could, however, participate in employment-related activities available in their communities.
Toggle Study Design Study Design
Strength of Evidence Description High
Group Formation Evaluators randomly assigned single-parent Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients who were required to enroll in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program in Grand Rapids into the Labor Force Attachment (LFA) program, the Human Capital Development (HCD) program, or the control group. The random assignment occurred between September 1991 and January 1994, and followed a JOBS orientation (which not all JOBS-mandatory individuals attended, but they faced sanctions for failing to appear). For this study on the early cohort, researchers focused only on people randomly assigned through December 1993.

This review focuses on the LFA versus comparison contrast for Grand Rapids, and another review on this site examines HCD.
Effect Calculation The effects reported by the authors and displayed on this site are the raw mean differences between the groups, adjusted for baseline characteristics, prior earnings and employment, and prior welfare and Food Stamps receipt.
Notes on Reported Outcomes The authors reported employment and earnings outcomes for time points and variable definitions that are not the focus of this review.
Subgroups Studied Education level and employment in year before random assignment
Other Domains Examined None
Toggle Study Setting Study Setting
Setting Details The study took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Timing of Study Individuals were randomly assigned beginning in September 1991. The study reports impacts four years after random assignment.
Study Funding The NEWWS evaluation was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation), and by the U.S. Department of Education.
Study URL