Florida’s Project Independence helped individuals eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to join the workforce in order to become more self-sufficient.
After an orientation, participants were assigned to one of two service tracks depending on their past education and work histories.
In the first service track, participants who were deemed “job ready”—those who had completed at least 10th grade or worked for at least 12 of the past 36 months—conducted a two-week job search during which they contacted at least 12 employers. Those who were unable to find employment through the job search were assigned to a two- to three-week job club where staff provided guidance on best practices in finding a job. This included help developing resumes and interview skills. If the participant was still unable to obtain a job, a case manager conducted a formal assessment of the participant’s employment goals and educational needs, helped the participant develop an employability plan, and referred the participant to additional education or training activities available in the community.
In the second service track, participants who were deemed not “job ready” worked with a case manager who conducted a formal assessment to discuss career interests and help develop an employability plan, and referred the participant to basic education or training programs consistent with the plan.
Participants had to fulfill participation requirements or risked losing part or all of their AFDC benefits for noncompliance. All participants were provided with or were referred to support services as needed, including child care, tuition assistance, transportation, tools, and uniforms.
Participants could receive Florida’s Project Independence services for two years. Individuals were eligible if they qualified for AFDC, were younger than 60, were working fewer than 30 hours per week, were not in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, did not have a child younger than 3, and were not permanently ill or incapacitated.
Florida’s Project Independence was implemented in 9 counties in Florida, randomly selected from among the state’s 25 counties with the comparatively largest caseloads of welfare receipt (these counties collectively represented about 90 percent of the state’s AFDC caseload).