Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) on earnings and public benefits receipt outcomes. This profile focuses on the comparison between the Labor Force Attachment (LFA) and Human Capitol Development (HCD) models in Grand Rapids. The authors investigated similar research questions for other contrasts and sites, the profiles of which can be found here.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial at the Grand Rapids, Michigan site. Using administrative data, the authors conducted statistical tests to compare the impact of the LFA model (LFA-control group differences) and the HCD model (HCD-control group differences) on earnings and public benefits receipt outcomes.
- The study found that there was a significant difference between Grand Rapids JOBS LFA and HCD models' impact on public benefits receipt, with LFA participants receiving less public benefits than HCD participants.
- This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Grand Rapids JOBS LFA or HCD, and not to other factors.
Grand Rapids Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS)
Features of the Intervention
The Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program was created by the Family Support Act of 1988, which required people who receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to either seek and accept employment or engage in activities such as training, education, or unpaid work through the welfare department. The Labor Force Attachment (LFA) approach to JOBS typically began with a short course of classroom instruction on the job search process and supervised employment seeking; this phase was followed by some combination of continued job searching, short-term basic education or vocational training, subsidized employment, and unpaid work through the welfare department. The Human Capitol Development (HCD) approach used these same basic components, but education, training, and/or work experience preceded job search instruction and employment seeking. The program served AFDC recipients who were determined to not meet any JOBS exemption criteria (e.g., having children under the age of three; being pregnant; being employed).
Features of the Study
This study was part of a three-site investigation of LFA and HCD approaches to the JOBS program, a component of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies. This profile focuses on the LFA impact vs. HCD impact analysis for the Grand Rapids site.
The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of the Grand Rapids JOBS program. The study sought to enroll AFDC recipients who were determined to not meet any JOBS exemption criteria. Applicants who enrolled in the study between September 1991 and December 1992 were randomized to one of two treatment groups (LFA or HCD) or a control group. The authors assigned 994 applicants to the LFA treatment group, 985 applicants to the HCD treatment group, and 928 applicants to the no-treatment control group that did not receive program services but could independently pursue similar services in the community. The control group was also eligible to receive childcare while engaging in employment or training-related activities. Across all study groups at this site, participants were almost all (98%) female, with half (50%) identifying as White non-Hispanic, and two-thirds (66%) were parenting at least one child aged five or younger. The data sources for the study were state unemployment insurance data and AFDC data. The authors used statistical tests to compare the impact of the LFA model (LFA-control group differences) and the HCD model (HCD-control group differences) on overall earnings and public benefits receipt.
Earnings and wages.
- The study found that there was no significant difference between the impact of the LFA model and the HCD model on total income earned over the two-year study period.
Public benefits receipt.
- The study found that there was a significant difference in the impact of the LFA model and the impact of the HCD model on total amount of AFDC payments received over the two-year study period. LFA participants received $1,338 less in average AFDC payments than control participants compared to HCD participants’ average of $826 less than control participants.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Grand Rapids JOBS LFA or HCD, and not to other factors.