• 0.11,1.00
  • 0.12,2.00
  • 0.09,5.00
  • 0.11,1.00
  • 0.09,1.00
  • 0.10,2.00

The Atlanta LFA program focused on rapid job placement for single-parent Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients to promote self-sufficiency.

The Atlanta LFA program focused on rapid job placement for single-parent Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients to promote self-sufficiency.

Atlanta LFA encouraged clients to move quickly into work without being selective about which job to take. Participants first spent up to three weeks in a job club operated in Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program offices and led by a community action agency. Then, participants applied to jobs for 1 to 2 weeks and were required to make 6 in-person inquiries or send 15 inquiry letters to employers per week. Individuals who did not find a job during this period could go on to participate in more job searching, vocational training, basic education, or unpaid work experience. Case managers offered counseling to participants during this time as well as child care and transportation assistance when needed. Case managers also could enforce participation rules by imposing sanctions on nonparticipating clients that temporarily reduced their welfare grant amounts by $45 for a family of three (in 1993 dollars). The sanction could last until the participant agreed to participate in the program activity. The combined job club and job search time lasted for about five weeks, and individuals who remained unemployed at the end of the five-week period could receive multiple rounds of short-term education or vocational training for up to nine months. Eligible participants included single parents who received AFDC and who were required to enroll in the JOBS program as a condition of continuing to receive public benefits. However, AFDC recipients were exempt from JOBS if they had children younger than 3, were employed 30 hours or more per week, were medically unable to work, or were in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Atlanta’s LFA program, implemented in Atlanta, GA, was evaluated as part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies that also tested LFA programs implemented in Riverside, CA, and Grand Rapids, MI. The demonstration also compared the effectiveness of LFA programs versus Human Capital Development programs in Atlanta, GA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Riverside, CA, and evaluated programs in Portland, OR; Detroit, MI; Oklahoma City, OK; and two programs in Columbus, OH (Columbus Integrated and Columbus Traditional).

Year evaluation began: 1991
Populations and employment barriers: Cash assistance recipients, Parents, Single parents
Intervention services: Case management, Academic instruction, Sanctions, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training, Unpaid work experience, Work experience, Work readiness activities, Job search assistance
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 $2,343 per year 0.112 2938
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $858 per year 0.041 2938
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 4% (in percentage points) 0.094 2938
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 1% (in percentage points) 0.036 2938
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Supported favorable $-297 per year -0.108 2938
Long-term Supported favorable $-264 per year -0.096 2938
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Supported favorable 5% (in percentage points) 0.098 1890

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
95%
White
4%
Hispanic or Latino of any race
1%

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

The study covered the two-year impacts of the intervention, starting with random assignment in 1992 and ending in 1994. Further studies covered four- and five-year impacts of the intervention.

Organizations implementing intervention

Atlanta LFA was implemented by the Georgia Department of Human Services, which was the state agency for AFDC.

Populations served

All Atlanta LFA study participants were single parents who received AFDC benefits and were required to enroll in the JOBS program. At the time of random assignment, recipients of AFDC in Atlanta were 98 percent female. About 95 percent of recipients were Black, 4 percent were White, and 1 percent were Hispanic. About 56 percent of recipients were between the ages of 25 to 34, 31 percent were between 35 to 44, 8 percent were between 20 to 24, and 6 percent were older than 45. Just less than half (44 percent) of recipients did not have a high school diploma or GED.

AFDC recipients were exempt from the enrollment requirement if they (1) had children younger than 3, (2) were employed 30 hours or more per week, (3) were medically unable to work, or (4) were in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Description of services implemented

Atlanta LFA encouraged individuals to move quickly into work without being selective about which job to take. Case managers would typically assign participants to a job club, operated in JOBS program offices and led by a local Community Action Agency, within days of entering the program. The job club taught participants how to search for and apply to jobs, interview well, create resumes and cover letters, and identify their strengths. This time was also used to identify participants’ career interests and aptitudes. The job clubs lasted up to 3 weeks, with an average enrollment of 50 individuals and an average attendance of 25 people. After the job club, participants spent time in the phone room, where they called employers, scheduled interviews, and applied to jobs. They were required to make up to 6 inquires, either in person or by letter, per week. The job club staff also arranged job fairs for participants, which staff believed were an especially helpful tool for finding employment for the participants.

Case managers worked more closely with individuals who did not find a job during this period. Those individuals participated in a more intensive meeting where the case manager worked to better define the individual’s obstacles to work and to find services that could alleviate these obstacles. This could lead individuals to participate in more job searching, vocational training, basic education, or unpaid work experience. Case managers offered counseling to participants throughout the program as well as child care and transportation assistance. Case managers could also impose financial sanctions for nonparticipation.

Service intensity

Job clubs, which included classroom instruction, were 3 weeks long, for 15 to 30 hours per week.

Participants spent 1 to 2 weeks in the phone room for 15 hours per week.

Of the individuals assigned to Atlanta LFA, 74 percent participated in any LFA activity, and 26 percent were assigned to LFA but did not participate in any LFA activity. Of those who attended LFA orientation, about 70 percent participated in a job search. In addition, 26 percent participated in education or training. On average, individuals spent 6 months participating in a JOBS activity.

Comparison conditions

The comparison group for this study was randomly assigned. Individuals in this group could, on their own initiative, find employment-related activities in their communities. However, they could not participate in LFA activities and were not subject to LFA program requirements. These individuals were also eligible for child care assistance if they were participating in a JOBS-approved activity.

Partnerships

Staff contracted through a local Community Action Agency led the job club and phone room. Community-based nonprofits, operating under contract with Atlanta Public Schools, provided adult education programs.

Staffing

Case managers assigned participants to appropriate LFA activities, helped with child care arrangements, and assisted in removing barriers to participation when possible. They had about six years of work experience and two years of experience in their position, on average. The majority of case managers were Black and had at least a bachelor’s degree. Only 46 percent of staff felt they received helpful training, with the most helpful training being on-the-job training from fellow caseworkers or supervisors.

Income maintenance staff, who were authorized to impose and remove sanctions, referred individuals to JOBS and tracked the status of participants. An average caseload size was 432 cases. The majority of income maintenance staff were Black, had at least a bachelor’s degree, and had worked in their position for an average of 4.5 years.

The study authors did not include information on the number of staff.

Local context

Atlanta LFA took place in Fulton County in Atlanta, GA. At the time of the study, Atlanta was experiencing moderate population growth and was a major city in the southeast United States with several job sectors, such as health, finance, retail, and transportation, making for a strong economy. In 1993, the county averaged 23,113 AFDC cases per month with an AFDC grant of $280 for a family of three.

Fidelity measures

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

Funding source

Atlanta LFA was funded by the state AFDC agency, Georgia Department of Human Services. Education programs were typically funded by state and local education departments.

Cost information

The cost per LFA participant, in 1993 dollars, was $3,312, including $2,345 in operating costs and $968 in supportive services such as child care and transportation assistance.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1