Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Training Focused intervention which provided post-employment services to TANF-eligible single parents at the county economic development agency’s offices.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using data from field research, including interviews, observations, the time study, and program tracking data.
- The study found that the conditions of the study may have limited participation in education and training activities, because most enrollees were already working full time and expected to travel during nonwork hours to the venues providing the activities.
- The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in November 2016.
The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project—Training Focused (Phase 2), Riverside
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: County Economic Development Agency
- Location/setting: Multi-site in Riverside County, CA
- Population served and scale: TANF-eligible participants, single parents; 718 participants
- Industry focus: Not included
- Intervention activities: Education and training; supportive services
- Organizational Partnerships: Employers; state TANF agency
- Cost: Not included
- Fidelity: Not included
The Training Focused intervention sought to increase attendance in postemployment education and training activities as well as employment and earnings outcomes among TANF recipients. The program was administered by the county workforce agency and mandated a minimum participation of 32 hours per week with no minimum weekly work requirement. The Training Focused program was developed to fill the need of a post-employment program which encouraged participants to maximize time spent on education and training even if that meant reducing hours worked. The intervention offered intensive and proactive case management along with financial support with a strong emphasis on long term vocational training and was staffed by five full time case managers, with three in the Riverside office, and one in each of the Hemet and Indio offices. The intervention was funded by the California Department of Social Services with additional funding from U.S. Department of Labor grants which paid for the training and education slots. There were 718 clients who were part of the Training Focused intervention and they were all TANF eligible single parents in Riverside County, CA.
Features of the Study
The study authors provided limited information about the implementation evaluation approach. They used data from field research, including interviews, observations, the time study, and program tracking data.
- The study found that case managers had an average case load of 55 clients and spent on average about 2 hours per day with clients, seeing an average of 5.3 clients for 23.1 minutes each with the most common form of contact being a telephone call.
- The study found that Training Focused case managers referred their clients to an array of vocational training and college classes offered at community colleges, proprietary schools, and community-based organizations.
- The study found that case managers preferred to refer clients to programs which integrated basic education with vocational training over traditional adult education offerings.
- The study found that due to EDA being the service provider for the training focused program, they were able to blend funding with another DOL grant – Access -- to maximize the number of education and training opportunities.
- The study found that EDA was able to offer supportive payments for childcare, transportation, books, uniforms, tools, housing and utilities as well as referrals to One Stop (AJC) partners' services.
- The study found that clients talked most about supportive service eligibility and issues, career goals and advancement, and specific employment and training options with their case managers.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The authors noted that participation in education and training activities may have been limited, because most enrollees were already working full time and expected to travel during nonwork hours to the venues providing the activities. Additionally, attending activities may have forced participants to reduce their hours and therefore decrease their income.
- The study found that EDA exhausted its Access funds in August of 2002 which led to a decrease of referrals to training and education activities, which in turn led to difficulty projecting the number of training and education slots available to clients.
- The study found that case managers noted the importance of customizing the recruitment messaging to each client based on the case file.
- The study found that EDA actively sought new funding sources following the expenditure of the Access grant and was able to secure $340,000 of additional funding.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors did not provide detailed information about study methods such as data collection and analysis.