Study Details for:
Butler, David, Julianna Alson, Dan Bloom, Victoria Deitch, Aaron Hill, JoAnn Hsueh, Erin Jacobs, Sue Kim, Reanin McRoberts, and Cindy Redcross (2012). What strategies work for the hard-to-employ? Final results of the hard-to-employ demonstration and evaluation project and selected sites from The Employment Retention and Advancement project, OPRE Report 2012-08, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [Minnesota Tier 2]
Additional Citations: LeBlanc, Allen, Cynthia Miller, Karin Martinson, and Gilda Azurdia (2007). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: Results from Minnesota’s tier 2 program, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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

Evaluation: Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

Program Studied: Minnesota Tier 2
See Study Characteristics tab below for more information about this program.

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

Populations Targeted Long-term welfare recipients, Parents, Single parents, Unemployed, Welfare population
Setting Urban only
Services Provided Case management, Education, Financial incentives or sanctions, Occupational or sectoral training, On-the-job training, Subsidized employment or transitional jobs, Supportive services, Training, Unpaid work experience, Work experience, Work readiness activities
Outcome Domains Examined Long-term employment, Long-term earnings

Findings

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 = 80.4 Adjusted mean = 78.4 2 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Minnesota sample 1,691 UI records, year 4

Number of quarters employed, years 1-4
Adjusted mean = 7.1 Adjusted mean = 7.0 0.1 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Minnesota sample 1,691 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

Total earnings, years 1-4, $
Adjusted mean = 22,456 Adjusted mean = 21,963 494 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) Minnesota sample 1,691 UI records, year 4

Study Characteristics

Toggle Participants & Program Details Participants & Program Details
Participant Detail All sample members were unemployed single parents who had received TANF benefits for at least 12 months. The vast majority of participants were female (93.2 percent), and most were African American (67.8 percent). Nearly 70 percent had received AFCD/ TANF benefits for over two years, and roughly one-third described themselves as suffering from health problems.
Program Services The program was built on the services provided by Tier 1, the pre-existing welfare-to-work program. Long-term Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who had participated in Tier 1 services for 12 months, were currently unemployed and had not worked in the prior three months, were not participating in education or training, and were not currently being sanctioned were randomly assigned to the Tier 2 condition. They worked with case managers whose caseloads had been reduced to 25 to 30 cases. Participation in Tier 2 was mandatory and could be enforced by sanctioning TANF benefits. Case managers performed detailed assessments of clients to identify the underlying challenges affecting them and their families and then referred clients to services that addressed those challenges. Clients had access to education or job training programs but were required to work 20 hours per week concurrently with participation in such programs. Clients searched for jobs for up to six weeks, and those still unemployed at the end of that period were placed in either unpaid employment or supported employment in which their paid employment was paired with job coaching or on-the-job training.
Program Duration Clients engaged in focused job search activities for up to six weeks, and those who could not obtain employment were placed in an unpaid work experience program. The study does not specify the length of the placement or the point at which services were discontinued.
Comparison Services Clients randomized to the control condition participated in Minnesota's pre-existing Tier 1 welfare-to-work program, which assigned TANF recipients to a case worker for an assessment. Case workers often managed between 75 and 100 cases. For up to four weeks, clients searched for jobs and attended an optional job-readiness seminar; if they did not find work within that period, they began an unpaid work placement or forfeited a percentage of their TANF benefits. Participation in job search was mandatory and could be enforced by sanctioning TANF benefits. Education and training activities were also available but not required.
Toggle Study Design Study Design
Strength of Evidence Description High; employment and earnings outcomes receive a high rating. TANF and Food Stamps outcomes receive a low rating because, in the absence of further information from the authors, we assume high attrition and a lack of baseline equivalence in the analytic sample for these measures.
Group Formation Eligible Tier 1 recipients were randomly assigned between January 2002 and April 2003, either to enroll in Tier 2 or to remain in Tier 1 (described below); half were randomly assigned to each condition. TANF recipients eligible for assignment for Tier 2 had the following characteristics: they had been assigned to a Tier 1 employment services provider for at least 12 months, they had not worked in the previous three months, they were unemployed at the time of random assignment, they were not participating in an education or training program, and they were not under sanction.
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 total measured income, that is, the sum of earnings, cash assistance, and Food Stamps, as well as the number of months during which participants received Food Stamps or cash assistance.
Subgroups Studied None
Other Domains Examined None
Toggle Study Setting Study Setting
Setting Details Hennepin County, Minnesota (primarily Minneapolis). Contractor agencies provided services under the supervision of the county's Office of Training and Employment Assistance.
Timing of Study 2002 through 2006
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/strategies_work.pdf