Skip to main content

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 Independent Job Search (IJS) program which provided job search assistance for 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 some details related to the study and analysis. These include information on 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

Independent Job Search (IJS)

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: Independent job search, availability of group and individual job search assistance and 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. IJS 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) in 2014.  The program was piloted in the summer of 2015, and later provided by seven for-profit and non-profit HRA vendors in New York City. To receive cash assistance, participants of the IJS program were required to participate in job search activities for 35 hours a week and to attend the vendor program office once a week for a period of four to six weeks. Participants could conduct their job search completely independently if desired but had the opportunity to participate in group and one-on-one job search assistance activities, job development, and training. Other activities included weekly one-on-one meetings with a case manager and support services (e.g., transportation) and referrals for services (e.g., health services) as needed.

Features of the Study

The study focused on the program as implemented between October 2015 and October 2016. The study compared IJS with an alternate intervention, Back to Work (B2W), which had been designed to provide job search assistance for low-skilled individuals with little education. For the purposes of the evaluation, IJS and B2W participants were required to be job ready. Job ready individuals were those who had at least an associate degree, were working or had worked during the last three months and reported that they were ready to look for and start a job when responding to job search efficacy questions. The authors conducted site visits to four of seven vendor offices providing IJS in Brooklyn and Queens, NY (America Works Brooklyn, America Works Queens, Goodwill Brooklyn, Goodwill Queens). During the visits, the researchers conducted interviews with staff (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 employment plans for IJS participants were less directive than for B2W participants.
  • The study found that case managers met with IJS program participants less frequently than B2W participants.
  • The study found that job search topics emphasized in group activities were similar for IJS and B2W, 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 IJS and B2W participants were similar.
  • The study found that both IJS and B2W staff valued both rapid employment and making a good job match for participants.
  • The study found that some IJS participants used one-on-one or group job search services more than once a week.
  • As IJS participants came to the program office less frequently, the study found that IJS participants were less likely to hear about service and job opportunities than participants in the B2W program.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2023

Topic Area