Atlanta LFA 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 impose financial sanctions for nonparticipation. 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).