Chicago ERA provided career counseling and related services to low-income single parents who received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with the goal of increasing their earnings.

Chicago ERA provided career counseling and related services to low-income single parents who received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with the goal of increasing their earnings.

Chicago ERA matched single parents who worked 30 hours or more per week for at least six months and qualified for TANF benefits with a career and income advisor. The career and income advisor counseled the workers about how to advance in their current jobs and apply for higher-paying jobs. Participants could receive other education and training services and were encouraged to maintain contact with their case manage to verify their work hours. A30-hour work requirement was part of their TANF participation, and failure to work at this level could result in a sanction of their TANF benefits. The program served participants for up to 12 months, even if they left TANF. Services were provided to recipients of TANF who worked 30 hours or more per week for at least six months, resided in Cook County, were at least age 18, were single parents, and could speak English or Spanish. Chicago ERA was implemented in Chicago, IL. The evaluation of Chicago ERA also studied ERA programs implemented in Riverside, CA; South Carolina; and Texas.

Year evaluation began: 2002
Populations and employment barriers: Cash assistance recipients, Employed, Parents, Single parents
Intervention services: Case management, Education, Employment retention services, Financial incentives, Sanctions, Training, Job search assistance, Job development/job placement
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 $586 per year 0.03 1728
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $920 per year 0.04 1728
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 2% (in percentage points) 0.04 1728
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 0% (in percentage points) 0.01 1728
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-17 per year -0.01 1728
Long-term Mixed support favorable $-256 per year -0.09 1728
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods No evidence to assess support

Studies of this Intervention

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Study Quality Rating Study Counts per Rating
High High 1