The Minnesota Tier 2 program was designed to increase workforce participation for long-term Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who were still not working after participating in Tier 1, the existing welfare-to-work program.
Participation in Tier 2 was mandatory and could be enforced by sanctioning TANF benefits. Participants worked with Tier 2 case managers from local service providers, who had caseloads of 25 to 30 cases rather than the 75 to 100 cases of a typical Tier 1 case manager. Case managers performed detailed assessments of clients to identify the underlying challenges affecting them and their families and then referred clients to services that addressed those challenges. They also monitored participation, including through home visits.
Clients had access to education or job training programs, but were required to work 20 hours per week concurrently with participation in such programs. Clients searched for jobs for up to six weeks, and those still unemployed at the end of that period were placed in either unpaid employment or supported employment in which their paid employment was paired with job coaching or on-the-job training.
As with the Tier 1 program, participants could receive child care assistance, transportation assistance, and support in job retention and advancement. Case managers met with clients when they neared their cash assistance time limits to plan for and conduct a formal program exit. Participants received services until they secured employment and left TANF or reached the time limit on TANF benefits of 56 months.
Long-term TANF recipients were assigned to participate in Tier 2 if they had the following characteristics: had participated in Tier 1 services for 12 months, were currently unemployed and had not worked in the prior three months, were not participating in education or training, and were not currently being sanctioned. Tier 2 was implemented in Hennepin County, MN.