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The effectiveness of the Postemployment Services Demonstration: Preliminary findings (Rangarajan, Meckstroth, & Novak 1998)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Rangarajan, A., Meckstroth, A., & Novak, T. (1998). The effectiveness of the Postemployment Services Demonstration: Preliminary findings. Springfield, IL: Illinois Department of Human Services. [Portland]

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Postemployment Service Demonstration (PESD) program on employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt. This profile focuses on the Portland PESD program. The authors investigated similar research questions for other sites, the profiles of which can be found here.
  • The study used a randomized controlled trial to compare outcomes between individuals who received PESD services and a control group. Using survey data, the authors conducted statistical models to compare outcomes one year after PESD enrollment.
  • The study found that Portland PESD participants received significantly more monthly AFDC benefits than the control group.
  • This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Postemployment Services Demonstration, and not to other factors.

Intervention Examined

Portland’s Postemployment Services Demonstration

Features of the Intervention

The Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program is a welfare reform initiative under the Family Support Act of 1988 that attempts to promote work by increasing education and training. The Postemployment Services Demonstration (PESD) program was funded by the Administration for Children and Families and the Department of Human Services in 1993 to promote job retention and reemployment among newly employed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients. The PESD program provided additional case management services and support for employment expenses.

The PESD program in Portland, Oregon provided counseling and support, job search assistance, assistance in applying for and resolving issues related to benefits, payments for work related expenses, and referrals for additional services. The Portland PESD program targeted individuals who were deemed job ready by the JOBS program or had completed the JOBS program.

Features of the Study

The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of Portland’s PESD program on employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt. The authors identified newly employed welfare recipients who had been referred to or participated in the JOBS program between March 1994 and December 1995. Of the 804 newly employed individuals, the authors randomly assigned 425 individuals to the program group to receive PESD program services. The 379 individuals assigned to the control group received regular welfare services offered through the state and through the JOBS program. The study sample was predominantly female (95%) with an average age of 30 years old. The majority were White non-Hispanic (68%) and had a high school degree or equivalent (75%). Study data were collected through a survey distributed to a random subset of the program and control group participants who enrolled between July 1994 and August 1995. The study authors used statistical models to compare employment, earnings, and public benefit receipt outcomes between the program and control group one year after program enrollment.

Findings

Employment

  • The study found no significant differences in employment between the PESD program group and the control group.

Earnings and wages

  • The study found no significant differences in earnings between the PESD program group and the control group.

Public Benefits Receipt

  • The study found that the PESD group received $31 more in monthly AFDC benefits than the control group at the one year follow up. This finding was statistically significant. The study also found that the PESD group was 3.8% more likely than the control group to continue to receive AFDC benefits at the one year follow up, but this was not a statistically significant finding.
  • The study did not find any significant effects of the PESD program on receipt of food stamps, or the monthly dollar amount of food stamps received.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Postemployment Services Demonstration (PESD) program, and not to other factors.

Reviewed by CLEAR

June 2022

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