• 0.04,1.50
  • 0.06,1.50
  • 0.08,1.50

The TWC initiated a transitional jobs program to provide subsidized jobs to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients.

The TWC initiated a transitional jobs program to provide subsidized jobs to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients.

The TWC’s transitional jobs program began with a two-week orientation, and from 2004 to 2007, the TWC paid participants a stipend of $25 for each day of orientation that they attended. The TWC staff then used information from interest assessments and other orientation tools to place participants in a transitional, subsidized job where the TWC paid them minimum wage. The TWC also trained on-site partners to mentor participants in the workplace. Participants worked at those jobs for 25 hours per week for up to six months. Throughout the orientation and participation in transitional jobs, participants met regularly with career advisors. During the transitional jobs, they also participated in 10 hours per week of other professional development activities, including job mentoring, job search assistance, and general education diploma preparation. The TWC staff helped participants find unsubsidized employment, typically seeking positions paying more than minimum wage. Participants were eligible for retention bonuses of up to $800 after six months of full-time employment in a permanent job. The transitional jobs program was implemented in Philadelphia, PA. It was a part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration that also evaluated Success Through Employment Preparation (STEP) and the comparison between the TWC’s program and STEP.

Year evaluation began: 2004
Populations and employment barriers: Specific employment barriers
Intervention services: Case management, Academic instruction, Financial incentives, Sanctions, Subsidized employment, Transitional jobs, Job search assistance
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness rating and effect by outcome domain

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Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $1,318 per year 0.063 1217
Long-term Little evidence to assess support $0 per year 0.000 0
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 3% (in percentage points) 0.081 1217
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -2% (in percentage points) -0.048 1217
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-116 per year -0.042 1217
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-132 per year -0.048 1217
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods No evidence to assess support

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
White, not Hispanic
Hispanic or Latino of any race
Another race

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

Participants were randomly assigned from October 2004 to May 2006, and the authors assessed impacts for four years after random assignment.

Organizations implementing intervention

The TWC, a nonprofit that conducts workforce training and vocational rehabilitation, administered the transitional jobs program.

Populations served

Transitional jobs program participants were TANF recipients in Philadelphia who had received cash assistance for at least 12 months since 1997 or lacked a high school diploma or equivalent. Participation in the transitional jobs program was mandatory for participants to receive their TANF benefits. Nearly 80 percent of participants were Black or African American, not Hispanic, and roughly 17 percent were Hispanic or Latino of any race. A large (though unspecified) majority of participants were single mothers.

Description of services implemented

The transitional jobs program progressed as follows:

  • Orientation. Ten days of orientation consisted of soft-skills workshops, basic adult education assessments, an employment interest assessment used for matching participants to transitional work sites, assistance preparing resumes, and interviews at transitional work sites. Through 2007, the program paid participants $25 per day for attending the orientation sessions, for a maximum of $250.
  • Transitional employment. Following the interviews, participants were placed at transitional work sites with local nonprofits and government agencies; most of these positions were customer service or clerical. Participants were monitored and supported by a TWC transitional work career adviser, who helped them navigate challenges associated with their transitional job. After they were deemed job-ready by their transitional work career adviser, participants began working with their TWC sales representative, who provided job development services and helped with their search for unsubsidized employment. Participants were also required to engage in professional development activities during their transitional employment, such as job searching and job-readiness classes, GED preparation, and basic clerical and computer skills training led by TWC professional development facilitators.
  • Retention. After they obtained unsubsidized work, participants met with their TWC unsubsidized work career adviser. The career adviser helped them navigate new challenges that arose with their new jobs, oversaw the payment of their retention bonuses of up to $800 (for staying in their job for six months), and helped them find a new job if they lost their job.

Because of funding cuts near the end of the study period, several elements of the intervention changed. The pace of the intervention sped up as participants were officially enrolled in the program on the first day of orientation, instead of at the end of orientation. Participants could leave the program if they found unsubsidized work during the orientation period and began working with sales representatives earlier in the transitional employment process as the focus shifted to rapidly employing participants in unsubsidized jobs. Finally, professional development activities and staff were rolled back at all sites, with only four professional development workers employed across the entire program in the summer of 2006.

Service intensity

Participants could take part in subsidized transitional employment and other activities for up to 6 months. While in the program, participants had to work at least 25 hours a week in their transitional job and take part in at least 10 hours a week of professional development activities in order to receive TANF benefits. In addition, participants met with their unsubsidized work career adviser on a weekly basis after leaving subsidized employment. The authors did not specify the frequency of meetings with other career advisers or the sales representatives.

Comparison conditions

The study randomly assigned TANF recipients that either had received benefits for more than 12 months since 1997 or lacked a high school diploma or equivalent. Participants were assigned to the transitional jobs program at TWC, STEP, or a comparison group that received neither program. The comparison group was not required to participate in work activities to receive TANF benefits but was provided with a list of community resources and encouraged to pursue work activities on their own. The authors noted, however, that some individuals in the comparison group might have been told incorrectly that they were required to participate in work activities at some point during the course of the study.


The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, which administers Philadelphia’s TANF program, screened participants from among their clients and referred them to the study’s random selection pool. In addition, TWC partnered with government agencies and nonprofits in Philadelphia to place participants into subsidized transitional employment positions within their organizations and monitor their performance and compliance with the program.


At the start of the intervention, TWC staff consisted of teams of 10 to 12 staff members overseen by a team director. Each team consisted of three separate career advisers who worked individually with participants at each stage of the program (orientation, transitional work, and unsubsidized work). The team also had multiple sales representatives who worked with individual participants throughout the program by providing leads and coordinating with employers about unsubsidized work opportunities. Additional TWC staff assisted with the two-week orientation and professional development components of the program in an unspecified capacity. The study authors did not include information on staff training, degrees, or certifications.

Local context

The transitional jobs program was implemented entirely within the urban setting of Philadelphia, PA. Participants were drawn from four state TANF offices around the city.

Fidelity measures

The study did not discuss any tools to measure fidelity to the intervention model; however, the study authors note that the program changed to emphasize more rapid entry into unsubsidized work near the end of the study period because of funding cuts and resulting staff reductions.

Funding source

The transitional jobs program at TWC was funded by state and federal TANF funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation.

Cost information

The Transitional Jobs Program at TWC cost roughly $3,500 per participant, in 2006 dollars. This figure includes an average of $700 in direct payments to participants. Although they did not provide a detailed comparison of the program’s cost and benefits, the study authors found that the Transitional Jobs Program cost more per participant than the services received by the comparison group. But the study found that the program led to greater increases in employment and earnings as well as greater reductions in TANF payments for program participants during the first year of the study. More than 25 percent of the additional per-participant cost of the Transitional Jobs Program was recouped through reductions in public assistance payments. However, the authors found that the short-term increases in employment and earnings were not sustained over the long-term, despite there being some sustained decrease in receipt of public assistance over that time period.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1