Navarro, D., van Dok, M., & Hendra, R. (2007). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: Results from the Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) program in Riverside, California. 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 impact of the Riverside Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) program on employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt after two years. The Riverside PASS site was one of two in Riverside, California, that participated in the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project.
- The authors randomly assigned 2,770 employed single-parent participants who had recently left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to a treatment group that received ERA services or to a control group that received standard TANF services. The authors analyzed data from Unemployment Insurance (UI), TANF, and Food Stamps administrative records and a survey administered 12 months after random assignment.
- The study found that Riverside PASS had positive impacts on earnings and employment in the first and second years after random assignment.
- 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 Riverside PASS, and not to other factors.
The Riverside Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) Program
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 two other sites in Riverside separately, so CLEAR also reviewed the results for those sites separately.)
Riverside PASS aimed to improve employment retention and career advancement among employed individuals who recently left TANF. Local PASS service providers contacted eligible individuals who were randomly assigned into the treatment group. Program participants received post-employment services and supportive service payments based on their needs. Available services included case management; counseling and mentoring; reemployment activities (such as assistance with job search and resume preparation); life skills workshops; referrals to training and education opportunities; supportive services (for example, child care, transportation, books, equipment); and referrals to social services programs.
Features of the Study
From July 2002 to June 2003, a total of 2,770 employed single parents who had recently left TANF were randomly assigned to a treatment group that received ERA services or to a control group that was eligible for other services and supports available in the community.
The authors estimated employment and earnings impacts by comparing regression-adjusted UI wage records of treatment and control group members over the first two years following random assignment. The authors also calculated program impacts for benefits receipt measures, including whether participants received TANF or Food Stamps, through two years after random assignment using TANF and Food Stamps administrative records.
The study was conducted at five sites in Riverside County, California:
- Center for Employment Training—serving Indio, Coachella, and Temecula
- Volunteer Center—serving Corona, Norco, and Lake Elsinore
- Valley Restart—serving Hemet, San Jacinto, and Perris
- Riverside Community College—serving Riverside and Moreno Valley
- Department of Public Social Services Rancho Mirage—serving Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage
- The authors found that people assigned to the Riverside PASS group were 3.0 percentage points more likely to be have been employed during the first year after random assignment and 5.6 percentage points more likely to have been employed during the second year compared with those assigned to the control group. These findings were statistically significant.
- The study also found that those in the PASS group were employed, on average, 0.1 more quarters in the first year and 0.2 more quarters in the second year than the control group, differences that were statistically significant.
- The authors concluded that PASS increased total earnings by a statistically significant margin: average earnings in the PASS group were $917 higher in the first year and $873 higher in the second year than the average earnings of the control group.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
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 Riverside PASS, and not to other factors.
Hendra, R., Dillman, K.-N., Hamilton, G., Lundquist, E., Martinson, K., Wavelet, M., Hill, A., & Williams, S. (2010). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: How effective are different approaches aiming to increase employment retention and advancement? Final impacts for twelve models. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families.