STEP Forward’s goal was to help cash assistance recipients and other low-income job seekers find local employment opportunities. The program provided a subsidy to local employers for hiring participants and supported participants with counseling and weekly job fairs that connected them with employers.
Participants volunteered for the program and received job counseling and help preparing for interviews from their case managers. Case managers then identified job opportunities with partnered employers suited to the clients’ skills and interests and scheduled job interviews. Employers were given a monthly subsidy of $1,000 for up to five months for each participant they hired at the prevailing market wage for at least 25 hours of work per week. STEP Forward held weekly job fairs where participants could apply and interview for open positions. Staff also made referrals for educational and social services not provided by the program. The program provided services to its participants until they found jobs and did not provide follow-up services during employment. STEP Forward participants had either left Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, unemployment insurance, or other public assistance programs; were current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients; or were from households with an annual income no more than 200 percent of the poverty line. Participation was voluntary. STEP Forward was implemented in San Francisco, CA.