Bloom, D., Hendra, R., Martinson, K., & Scrivener, S. (2005). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: Early results from four sites. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [Riverside, CA – Training Focused]
- The study’s objective was to examine the effectiveness of a Riverside, California, program to increase the earnings of welfare recipients after one year. The Riverside Phase 2 site was one of two in Riverside that participated in the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project.
- The authors randomly assigned 1,912 employed single-parent participants in Riverside’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to one of two treatment groups (Work Plus or Training Focused) that received differing ERA services, or to a control group (Work Focused) that received standard public benefits and some limited case management. This review compared between the Training Focused program and the control group. The authors analyzed data from Unemployment Insurance (UI), TANF, and Food Stamps administrative records.
- The study did not find any statistically significant effects on employment, earnings, or benefit receipt.
- The quality of causal evidence provided in this study is high because it was based on a well-conducted randomized controlled trial. This means that we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to Riverside Training Focused program and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.
The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project—Training Focused (Phase 2), Riverside
Features of the Intervention
The ERA project was introduced in 1999 as a nationwide exploration of factors that help welfare recipients not only find employment but retain their positions and advance in their careers. Riverside included 3 of 16 sites across the United States to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement a program intended to improve welfare recipients’ employment outcomes. (The authors reported results for the Riverside sites separately, so CLEAR also reviewed the results separately.)
TANF recipients assigned to the Riverside Training Focused program could receive intensive case management and enhanced support services, all aimed at encouraging employment stability. Program staff encouraged clients to attend education and training activities and they could (with case manager approval) decrease or eliminate their work hours as long as they were participating in education and training activities. Specifically, clients assigned to this condition had to participate in work and training activities for a total of 32 hours per week, but faced no requirement about the amount of that total that was devoted to work hours. The program also provided clients with support services (for example, child care, transportation, and ancillary payments to participate in program activities); social services (such as mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse); referrals to public assistance programs (for example, TANF, Food Stamps, and Medi-Cal); and job search services.
Features of the Study
The authors randomly assigned eligible single parents in Riverside to one of three groups: a treatment group that was offered Work Plus services; a second treatment group that was offered the Training Focused program; or a comparison group (Work Focused) in which clients were eligible to receive TANF, Food Stamps, child care and transportation assistance, and medical coverage plus limited and reactive case management. This review focuses on the impact of the Training Focused program compared with the control group. The authors estimated the effect of the Training Focused program on employment, earnings, and benefit receipt 12 months after random assignment using UI, TANF, and Food Stamps administrative records. This report focused on the 1,912 single parents, across all three groups, who were randomly assigned from January 2001 to September 2002.
- The study found no statistically significant effect on earnings, employment, or benefits receipt 12 months after random assignment.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence provided in this study is high because it was based on a well-conducted randomized controlled trial. This means that we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the Riverside Training Focused program and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.