• 0.08,1.25
  • 0.05,3.00
  • 0.01,1.25

Oklahoma City’s ET&E program provided education and occupational training to single parents to help improve their employment prospects.

Oklahoma City’s ET&E program provided education and occupational training to single parents to help improve their employment prospects.

Clients were assigned case managers who helped identify education and job development opportunities that were appropriate for them. Education opportunities included life-skills workshops, adult basic education, GED courses, or English-as-a-second-language courses. Job development opportunities included vocational skills training, work experience (including internships), on-the-job training, or unpaid work. The program also offered reimbursements for child care and transportation expenses.

There was no limit on the duration of program services. A home visit with a social worker at the start of program participation helped confirm eligibility for the program. The social worker and participant also completed an employability plan at this time.

The program was available to heads of single-parent households if they (1) had not received Aid to Families with Dependent Children in Oklahoma within the past 60 days, (2) had children older than 1, and (3) were not members of the Sac and Fox Native American tribes. Individuals ages 16 to 19 were also eligible, even if their youngest child was younger than 1. Participation in the ET&E program was mandatory for those who were confirmed to be eligible, and case managers could sanction nonparticipating clients. The ET&E program took place in Oklahoma City, OK.

Year evaluation began: 1991
Populations and employment barriers: Cash assistance recipients, Parents, Single parents
Intervention services: Case management, Academic instruction, Sanctions, Soft skills training, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training, On-the-job training, Subsidized employment, Unpaid work experience, Work experience, 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 Supported favorable $126 per year 0.006 8677
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $418 per year 0.020 8677
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -1% (in percentage points) -0.030 8677
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 0% (in percentage points) 0.003 8677
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Supported favorable $-220 per year -0.080 8677
Long-term Supported favorable $-138 per year -0.050 6896
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Little evidence to assess support favorable 4% (in percentage points) 0.088 511

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
29%
White, not Hispanic
59%
Hispanic or Latino of any race
4%
American Indian or Alaska Native
6%

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) applicants in Oklahoma City were randomly assigned to two groups between 1991 and 1993, and impacts were measured two years after each participant was randomly assigned. Oklahoma City discontinued home visits in July 1993.

Organizations implementing intervention

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Oklahoma, Cleveland, and Pottawatomie County DHS offices implemented ET&E.

Populations served

AFDC applicants in Oklahoma City were eligible to participate in ET&E if they (1) were single parents, (2) had not received AFDC in Oklahoma in the preceding 60 days, (3) had children older than 1, and (4) were not members of the Sac and Fox American Indian tribes. Individuals were also eligible if they were ages 16 to 19 and did not have a high school diploma or GED, even if they had a child younger than 1. Eligibility for ET&T was resolved at the home visit. Home visits typically occurred 25 days after individuals submitted their application.

Almost all ET&E participants were female. Teen parents (younger than 19) accounted for about 10 percent of the participants. Roughly two-thirds of all individuals in the study had preschool-aged children (younger than 6) and close to half (41 percent) had a child younger than 2. The study did not provide information about the race and ethnicity of the population served.

Description of services implemented

At initiation, the social worker reviewed the ET&E program participant’s education and work history and would then ask the client to identify primary and secondary employment goals. The client chose the activities and providers, with suggestions from the social worker. Case managers helped participants identify education and job development opportunities that were appropriate for them. The possibilities for education or training activities were wide-ranging, and time spent on these was limitless. ET&E supported participation in a variety of activities, including the following:

  • Education. Education opportunities included life-skills workshops, adult basic education, GED courses, or English-as-a-second-language courses. ET&E participants generally attended these classes at adult education schools, public vocational technical schools, and community colleges. Almost all college attenders enrolled at community colleges.
  • Job development. Job development opportunities included vocational skills training, work experience (including internships), on-the-job training in the private sector, or unpaid work in the public or private sector (in exchange for the participant’s welfare grant). Job developers led two-week group workshops. Some participants were then assigned to up to 60 days of independent job search.
  • Supportive services. Although individuals received AFDC, ET&E covered 100 percent of the cost of child care. Oklahoma City also paid ET&E participants a daily allowance to cover transportation costs ($6 for a full day and $3 for a half day) and made funds available for work-related expenses, such as uniforms and work-required medical exams.
  • Case management. Case management activities included developing an employability plan, connecting individuals to service providers in the area, monitoring progress, arranging supportive services, and making recommendations to social workers who specialized in decisions related to sanctioning clients for noncompliance. Case management activities were initially carried out by social workers; later, because of an increase in caseload, the case management responsibilities fell on job developers.

Service intensity

Oklahoma ET&E was a low-enforcement, education-focused intervention, because of limited program and staff resources. Participants spent an average of six months in ET&E activities. ET&E’s two-year impacts showed that having a high school diploma or GED at application did not substantially increase participation in any employment-related activity.

Comparison conditions

The social worker provided individuals assigned to the comparison group with a list of the area’s education providers that they could contact on their own. They could also receive childcare assistance from the welfare department if they enrolled in an employment-related activity. Comparison group members did not receive daily allowances.

Partnerships

Oklahoma City ET&E could refer participants to community organizations for services such as basic education. Participants generally attended basic education classes at adult educations schools, public vocational technical schools, and community colleges. In addition, ET&E made licensed childcare and supportive services available, such as the employment-related day care program, called at-risk childcare for low-income working families.

Staffing

ET&E participants were assigned to case managers, job developers, and social workers. The study does not provide information on the number of staff or their training, degrees, or certifications.

Oklahoma City’s ET&E program’s case management strategy merged the income maintenance and the employment services functions of caseworkers into one position, in response to statewide budget cuts and caps. Social workers’ caseloads almost tripled from an approximate average of 65 in 1991 to 174 in 1993. Because of growing caseloads, social workers focused on the income maintenance functions of their case management role at the expense of the ET&E functions. As social workers’ caseloads rose, job developers took over more ET&E responsibilities. Social workers would refer some of their ET&E clients to job developers. As a result, just 39 percent participated in any ET&E activity within two years.

Local context

Between 1990 and 1995, Oklahoma City’s population grew by 5 percent. Between 1991 and 1995, its employed labor force grew by 6 percent, and the unemployment rate fell from 6 percent to 4 percent. Oklahoma City’s AFDC caseload grew from about 12,000 families in 1991 to about 14,000 families in 1995.

Fidelity measures

The study did not discuss any tools to measure fidelity to the intervention model.

Funding source

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ACF with support from the U.S. Department of Education. More than half (55 percent) of funds went toward services to AFDC recipients who were deemed to be at greatest risk of long-term welfare dependency. ET&E was hampered by limited funding, and administrators and staff did not strongly enforce the program’s mandate to participate.

Cost information

Oklahoma City’s ET&E program cost $1,951 per participant. Oklahoma City’s gross cost per person was $2,969. Data limitations prevented Oklahoma City from being included in the five-year cost-benefit analysis. The total return on Oklahoma City’s investment might become evident only after several years.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1