SFTW provided low-income, noncustodial parents with support to find transitional jobs; SFTW’s goal was to improve employment outcomes and participants’ ability to pay child support.
SFTW started with a three- to five-day job-readiness workshop, during which participants took assessments and engaged in job-readiness activities. Participants were then assigned a case manager, who helped participants become more job ready; develop soft skills; and address barriers to work, such as a lack of clothing, transportation, or housing. Case managers also served as job coaches and helped match participants to transitional jobs based on their skills and interests, mostly with private-sector employers. Employers paid participants minimum wage, and SFTW subsidized the jobs to bring wages up to $10 per hour for 30 hours per week. Participants received help with child support, including having interest accumulation frozen for debt owed to the state and having accrued interest forgiven in part or in whole, depending on the participants’ progress in the program. Program staff tried to make job placements quickly, and the transitional jobs could last up to six months, at which point participants were expected to have found unsubsidized employment. Participants were expected to begin searching for unsubsidized employment midway through the transitional job, working with a job developer at the Career Opportunity Center.
Unemployed noncustodial parents with a child support order in place were eligible for SFTW if they also met one of the following criteria: had no high school diploma or equivalent; had been actively seeking employment, were ineligible for or had exhausted unemployment insurance benefits, and had been unemployed for a period of 12 weeks before applying for the program; had not had any period of continuous employment for one employer for a period of 4 months or more during the past 12 months; or had a major barrier to employment, such as a pending criminal justice action. SFTW was implemented in Milwaukee, WI.
The evaluation of SFTW was part of the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration evaluation, which also studied Good Transitions, TransitionsSF, Parent Success Initiative, Next STEP, RecycleForce, and Ready, Willing and Able—Pathways2Work.