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Implementation and Relative Impacts of Two Job Search Assistance Programs in New York City the Job Search Assistance Strategies Evaluation (Martinson et al., 2019)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Not Rated

Review Guidelines

Absence of conflict of interest.


Martinson, K., Harvill, E., Litwok, D., Schwartz, D., De La Rosa, S. M., Saunders, C., & Bell, S. (2019). Implementation and Relative Impacts of Two Job Search Assistance Programs in New York City the Job Search Assistance Strategies Evaluation (Report No. 2019-46). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


  • The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Back to Work (B2W) program which provides job search assistance for low-skilled, unemployed TANF and cash assistance applicants in New York City.
  • The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using staff interviews and a staff survey.
  • The study found that the program was implemented as designed.
  • Considerations for study findings include the absence of information how study sites were selected, how staff were selected for interviews, how many staff were interviewed, and how qualitative data were analyzed.
  • The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in July 2022.

Intervention Examined

Back to Work (B2W)

Features of the Intervention

  • Type of organization: Job development organization; social service organization
  • Location/setting: Multi-site in New York State
  • Population served and scale: Job-ready TANF applicants, job-ready cash assistance applicants; 1,345 participants
  • Industry focus: Not included
  • Intervention activities: Daily attendance, group and individual job search assistance, training
  • Organizational partnerships: Not applicable
  • Cost: Not included
  • Fidelity: Not included

In New York State, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance applicants and other adults seeking assistance from Safety Net programs are required to participate in job search assistance programs while applying for cash assistance. B2W was a job search assistance program designed and administered by the New York Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (HRA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Operating since 2013 (but no longer operational), BW2 was designed for individuals applying for cash assistance who were unemployed but able to work. These persons were often low-skilled with little work experience or education. The program was provided by seven for-profit and non-profit HRA vendors in New York City. To receive cash assistance, participants of the B2W program were required to attend in-persons services Monday through Friday at the program office and to participate in 35 hours of job assistance services per week for four to six weeks. Other activities included daily one-on-one meetings with a case manager and participation in on-site job search assistance activities, notably group job search classes, training, and employment referrals from job developers. Support services (e.g., transportation) and referrals for services (e.g., health services) were available as needed.  

Features of the Study

The program evaluated B2W as implemented between October 2015 and October 2016. The study compared B2W with an alternate intervention, Independent Job Search (IJS), designed to provide job search assistance for job-ready individuals. For the purposes of the evaluation, B2W participants were also required to be job ready with at least an Associate degree, working or had worked during the last three months and self-reporting to be ready to look for and start a job. The authors conducted site visits to four of seven vendor offices providing B2W in Brooklyn and Queens, NY (America Works Brooklyn, America Works Queens, Goodwill Brooklyn, Goodwill Queens). The site visits took place nine months after the start of the study. During the visits, the researchers conducted interviews with program managers, case managers, job developers, and job search instructors. The researchers also conducted a web-based staff survey, with 81 of 102 staff responding. The survey analysis included tests to determine if there were statistically significant differences between staff responses for the two programs.


Intervention activities/services

  • The study found that the program was implemented as designed.
  • The study found that program staff upheld the program attendance requirements for participants to receive cash assistance.
  • The study found that participants conducted their job search largely as delineated by their employment plan.
  • The study found that employment plans for B2W participants were more directive than for IJS participants.
  • The study found that case managers met with B2W program participants more frequently than IJS participants.
  • The study found that job search topics emphasized in group activities were similar for B2W and IJS, except that staff reported that the use of online job search resources was a major emphasis significantly more frequently for IJS participants than B2W participants.
  • The study found the topics emphasized in one-on-one meetings with B2W and IJS participants were similar.
  • The study found that both B2W and IJS staff valued both rapid employment and making a good job match for participants.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2023

Topic Area