Texas ERA provided job search assistance, financial support, and case management services to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants and recipients with a goal of helping them find and maintain employment and advance into better jobs.
Texas ERA began with an orientation and then a four-day job search workshop. After the workshop, participants spent four to six weeks searching for jobs. Those that did not find employment during this time were then assigned to community service or volunteer positions. Participants who did find jobs became eligible for a $200 monthly stipend, as long as they were employed for at least 30 hours per week, participated in a post-employment advancement activity, or left TANF. Participants could also receive the stipend if they worked 15 hours per week while participating in an education and training activity.
The program also disregarded the first four months of participants’ earnings when calculating their eligibility for TANF. Texas ERA staff provided case management services, which included an employment assessment, goal setting and career planning, supportive services, barrier resolution, and job search assistance. Preemployment services were available for up to 7 weeks, and financial incentives for job retention for up to 12 months.
TANF applicants and recipients were eligible to participate. Participants remained eligible for the Texas ERA project as long as they were eligible for the monthly stipend—that is, they were employed for at least 30 hours per week, were participating in a post-employment advancement activity, or were no longer receiving TANF.
The Texas ERA project was implemented in three communities in Texas: Fort Worth, Houston, and Corpus Christi. The evaluation of the Texas ERA program also studied ERA programs implemented in Illinois; Riverside, CA; and South Carolina.