• 0.10,1.00
  • 0.09,4.00
  • 0.12,1.00
  • 0.06,4.00

The PASS program provided post-employment services and payment for supportive services to improve employment retention and career advancement among employed individuals who were recently Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants.

The PASS program provided post-employment services and payment for supportive services to improve employment retention and career advancement among employed individuals who were recently Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants.

PASS service providers contacted former TANF participants and provided customized post-employment services and supportive services payments based on clients’ needs to help participants keep their jobs and obtain better jobs. PASS service providers included staff at three community-based organizations (CBOs), a community college, and a Department of Public Social Services office. PASS services included case management, counseling and mentoring, reemployment activities (such as assistance with job search and resume preparation), workshops on credit and money management, referrals to training and education opportunities, and referrals to social services programs. The program also included payments for supportive services such as child care, transportation, books, tools, and uniforms. PASS provided services for up to 12 months. To be eligible for PASS, former TANF participants had to be employed and ineligible for TANF in the current month but eligible in the previous month. PASS was implemented in Riverside, CA.

Year evaluation began: 2002
Populations and employment barriers: Employed, Parents
Intervention services: Case management, Employment retention services, Supportive services, Financial education, Work readiness activities, Job search assistance
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness rating and effect by outcome domain

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Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Supported favorable $2,029 per year 0.097 2770
Long-term Supported favorable $1,799 per year 0.086 3225
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 5% (in percentage points) 0.122 2770
Long-term Supported favorable 2% (in percentage points) 0.039 3225
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-50 per year -0.018 2770
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-72 per year -0.026 2770
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods No evidence to assess support

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
White, not Hispanic
Hispanic or Latino of any race
Another race

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

PASS randomly assigned participants from July 2002 to June 2003. The findings cover a two-year period following each participant’s date of random assignment.

Organizations implementing intervention

The program was administered by the Riverside County DPSS. It contracted with four service providers and one local DPSS office to implement the PASS program.

Populations served

Individuals were eligible for random assignment to the study if they were (1) ineligible for cash aid for the current month and had been eligible the prior month and (2) were determined as being employed. Nearly 90 percent of PASS participants were employed and had earnings at random assignment. Among these employed individuals, about two-thirds were working full time (32 hours or more per week), and about one-half were earning $7 to $10 per hour. Most participants (90 percent) were female, and almost half were Hispanic. At their time of random assignment, more than half of participants had never been married. Participants in Riverside had an average of two children in their households at random assignment, and more than half had at least one child age 5 or younger.

Description of services implemented

PASS included the following services:

  • Case management involved assessing client needs and referring clients to appropriate program services, such as counseling and mentoring with a concentration on education and career development.

  • Job preparation and placement services focused on reemployment activities, such as supervised job search, resume preparation assistance, and provision of job leads.

  • Life skills workshops taught participants topics such as credit repair and money management. Only one service provider, the Volunteer Center, used life skills workshops to a significant degree.

  • Supportive services included payments for child care, transportation, books, tools, and uniforms. In addition, participants could receive referrals to other social service programs for domestic violence, substance use, and mental health interventions.

Among the PASS participants, case management and counseling were the most common services used (32 percent of participants), followed by job search activities (15 percent) and referrals to and support for education and training programs (8 percent).

Service intensity

Participants in both the PASS group and the comparison group were eligible to receive services for up to 12 months after being randomly assigned. On average, PASS participants spent about four months receiving PASS services.

Comparison conditions

Individuals who were assigned to the comparison group had to contact caseworkers themselves to receive case management services, reemployment and supportive services, and life skills workshops. Eight percent of the comparison group received post-employment services. In addition, comparison group members were not eligible for the enhanced outreach and recruitment services offered by the PASS service providers.


DPSS selected five service providers (three CBOs, one community college, and one DPSS office) to deliver program services in their communities:

  • The Center for Employment Training (CET) served Indio, Coachella, and Temecula.

  • The Volunteer Center served Corona, Norco, and Lake Elsinore.

  • Valley Restart served Hemet, San Jacinto, and Perris.

  • Riverside Community College served Riverside and Moreno Valley.

  • DPSS Rancho Mirage served Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.


Administrators at DPSS decided to contract out the operation of PASS because DPSS staff had little experience in contacting, recruiting, and serving individuals who left the TANF program. DPSS administrators believed that local CBOs would know their neighborhoods and their resources better than DPSS staff. A DPSS staff person from the Community and Government Relations Unit provided overall management of the PASS program.

  • CET’s job developers worked with employers in their communities to identify jobs that offered opportunities for training and advancement for entry-level workers.

  • The Volunteer Center assigned two case managers and a recruitment specialist to the Volunteer Center, a career counselor to the Career Institute, and a case manager to the Hope Through Housing Foundation.

  • Valley Restart assigned two case managers to contact and engage prospective PASS clients.

  • Riverside Community College designated one vocational counselor, one case manager, one recruitment specialist, and a part-time clerk to work with PASS participants.

  • DPSS Rancho Mirage designated one Phase 1 Employment Services Counselor to recruit and work with PASS participants.

Local context

This study was implemented in Riverside County, California.

Fidelity measures

DPSS expected PASS service providers to attempt to contact all referred customers; serve all clients who requested specific PASS services; and track service activities in a program tracking system. DPSS offered feedback and technical assistance to providers that did not meet these standards.

Funding source

DPSS allocated California TANF funds for PASS program operations to each of the four contracted service providers, and it directly paid for the DPSS Rancho Mirage program. Each provider received an initial amount of $100,000, with a lifetime cap of $250,000. As a provider paid for program services, staff salaries, computers, and so forth, DPSS replenished the pool, up to the $250,000 limit.

ACF, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, conceived of and funded the study. The U.S. Department of Labor offered supplemental support.

Cost information

The total cost of serving PASS participants was $3,890 per participant, compared to $2,858 per participant in the comparison group (2008 dollars). PASS participants’ accrued financial benefits (earnings, fringe benefits, tax credits, and Medicaid) totaled $4,394 over the five years after being randomly assigned, and these benefits outweighed the small losses PASS participants experienced from reduced TANF and food stamp payments and from increased tax payments. The government essentially broke even, as the small reductions in TANF and food stamps and increases in tax revenue offset the cost of operating PASS. The PASS program produced gains for society totaling $4,125, as the benefits from participant earnings, fringe benefits, and savings from public assistance administration were greater than the cost of operating the program.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 2