The STEP program provided Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients with intensive case management and other supports to help them overcome barriers to employment and secure jobs.
STEP participants received home visits from community liaisons to identify and mitigate any barriers that might prevent participants from traveling to the program offices. In the program offices, participants were assigned a case coordinator, who conducted assessments to determine barriers to employment.
Case coordinators worked with no more than 20 participants at a time. The case coordinator and specialized vocational rehabilitation staff developed a plan to address the barriers, and participants began activities tailored to overcoming their barriers. Activities included life skills classes, adult basic education classes, general education diploma preparation, English classes, support groups, professional development, counseling, computer classes, and behavioral coaching. Some classes were available at STEP program offices, and others were available through referrals to other organizations in the community. The duration of services varied based on participants’ needs and motivations.
After case coordinators determined that participants were ready, participants worked with job coaches and job developers to find permanent employment. STEP offered bonuses of $20 to $125 to participants for finding employment and bonuses of $50 after 90 days of employment.
STEP participants were TANF recipients who were not exempt from the TANF requirement to participate in work activities.
The STEP program was run by the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service organization in Philadelphia, PA. It was a part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration that also evaluated the Transitional Work Corporation’s (TWC) transitional jobs program and the comparison between the TWC’s program and STEP.