The WASC delivered integrated, intensive retention and advancement services to low-wage workers to help fill the gap in services available to them and help them advance and increase their incomes.
The program provided information about and simplified access to financial work supports, such as the earned-income tax credit and child care subsidies. Retention and advancement services included career coaching and access to training and education to stabilize individuals’ employment and help them find better-paying jobs. The program helped participants secure funding for training and education costs through the Workforce Investment Act and other training funds. Additional incentives (gas, grocery, or gift cards) were offered to inactive participants to return and continue with the program.
The Bridgeport, CT, model focused primarily on providing training to participants, in particular vocationally oriented training programs. The San Diego, CA, model focused mostly on career coaching and advancing in current jobs. Workforce development and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) staff offered services at one-stop career centers. Participants received services for two years. Eligible participants earned less than $10 per hour and had a household income below 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
The program focused on individuals who were low-wage workers, reemployed dislocated workers, or both, and who had a limited prior connection to government assistance programs and were therefore most in need of assistance with work supports. A maximum of 50 percent of participants in each site could be Food Stamp recipients, and individuals receiving TANF were ineligible. WASC was implemented in Bridgeport, CT, as the Academy for Career Advancement, and was implemented in San Diego, CA, as Project Earnings, Advancement, Retention Now! The WASC Demonstration that tested WASC also tested WASC with Incentive Payments.