Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of Jobs-First GAIN on employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt. This profile focuses on the outcomes for the two-parent household sample. The authors investigated similar research questions for another contrast, the profile of which can be found here.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial that assigned individuals to the Jobs-First GAIN and control groups. Using program records, administrative records, and state unemployment insurance data, the study authors conducted statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and control participants at the one-year follow-up.
- The study found that the Jobs-First GAIN participants were significantly more likely to be employed, have higher earnings, and were less likely to receive public benefits compared to control group participants.
- This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Jobs-First Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) and not to other factors.
Jobs-First Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
Features of the Intervention
In 1988, Los Angeles launched Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN). The program provided classes and general education (English as a Second Language, basic education, GED preparation) to people who received welfare. In 1996, the program was updated to focus on securing employment rather than general education. The goal of Jobs-First GAIN is to help people who receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) secure employment.
Jobs-First GAIN began with an orientation (a six-hour group session and individual session), during which people enrolling in the program met with case managers who explained that it was expected that they would quickly find a job and begin work. The program also involved participation in job clubs, which taught skills related to finding jobs. Unlike job clubs in other programs, the job club for Jobs-First GAIN motivated participants to find jobs by emphasizing that jobs can build self-esteem and can lead to future higher paying jobs. Throughout the program, a "work first" message was presented, which emphasized the goal of the program was to find employment. Participants were reminded that the amount of time people could continue to receive welfare was limited and that they could combine their welfare income and their employment earnings. The completion of activities was enforced and participants were informed that if they did not complete program activities their welfare grants could be reduced.
Features of the Study
The study was a randomized controlled trial that assigned participants to either Jobs-First GAIN (treatment) or the control group. The sample consisted of AFDC recipients in two-parent households who attended a program orientation. Of the 5,048 eligible participants, 4,039 were assigned to the treatment group and 1,009 were assigned to the control group that did not receive Jobs-First GAIN services. Both parents in the same household were required to participate in the program, but only the first parent to attend orientation was included in the data. The two-parent sample was Hispanic (47 percent), White (28 percent) or African American (20 percent). Less than half of the sample was female (47 percent), with an average age of 36 years, and. The majority of sample participants were not employed (86 percent) and less than half of the participants (41 percent) had a high school diploma or equivalent. Data sources included the GAIN Employment Activity and Reporting System, state unemployment insurance earnings records data, and AFDC/TANF and food stamp payment records. The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and control group members for the first year of follow-up.
Earnings and wages
- The study found that treatment participants had significantly higher earnings than control participants in each quarter, earning an average of $1,082 more across the study period.
- The study found that the treatment group had a significantly higher average quarterly employment rate over the study period compared to the control group (54 percent vs. 42 percent).
Public benefits receipt
- Over the one-year follow-up, the study found that significantly fewer treatment participants than control participants were receiving AFDC/TANF payments in each quarter.
- The study found that treatment participants received AFDC/TANF for fewer months over the study period than control participants, and that treatment participants received $667 less in average AFDC/TANF payments over the study period. These differences were significant.
- The study found that Jobs-First GAIN also reduced food stamp receipt, with significantly fewer treatment participants than control participants receiving food stamps in each quarter.
- The study found that treatment participants received food stamps for fewer months over the study period than control participants, and that treatment participants received $310 less in average food stamps over the study period. These differences were significant.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Participation in each activity was based on attendance of at least one day in the activity. The authors note that most people in the treatment group did not participate in any Job-First GAIN activities after orientation. Also, the study reports a less stringent statistical significance level, considering p-values of less than 0.10 to be significant, though it is standard practice to consider statistical significance if the p-value is less than 0.05. Only results that demonstrate a p-value of less than 0.05 are considered statistically significant in this profile.
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 the Jobs-First GAIN program, and not to other factors.