To help participants secure jobs that could lead to economic self-sufficiency, the HCD program implemented in Grand Rapids, MI, focused on providing education and training to single parents who were Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients.

To help participants secure jobs that could lead to economic self-sufficiency, the HCD program implemented in Grand Rapids, MI, focused on providing education and training to single parents who were Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients.

The HCD program stressed that participants should spend time receiving education or training to prepare for good jobs. The program began with a 15-hour, week-long formal assessment component, during which public school staff conducted assessments of participants’ achievement, aptitude, and career interests. Participants then usually completed either high school completion programs (distinct from GED classes) or vocational training. If participants did not have a high school diploma or GED, the program provided basic education classes in the public school system to help participants make progress toward their goals (such as increasing their literacy level or obtaining a GED certificate). Case managers had limited individualized involvement with participants, but they emphasized participation and enforced participation rules by sanctioning nonparticipating clients through reducing their welfare grant amounts. They also supported clients by directly paying child care providers and reimbursing transportation costs. The program expected that most clients would complete training or educational activities within two years but approved longer durations based on participant needs.

The program focused on single-parent AFDC recipients who were required to enroll in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills program. AFDC recipients were exempt from the enrollment requirement if they met any of the following: (1) had children younger than 1, (2) had 3 or more children younger than 10, (3) were employed 30 hours or more per week, (4) were medically unable to work, (5) were in the last trimester of pregnancy, (6) had resided in a mental institution at all during the previous 5 years, (7) had been enrolled in a rehabilitation center, or (8) were taking medication for a mental illness. The HCD program was implemented in Grand Rapids, MI. Similar HCD programs were implemented and tested in Atlanta, GA, and Riverside, CA. All three HCD programs were examined as part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies that evaluated and compared the effectiveness of two distinct strategies for AFDC recipients: HCD and Labor Force Attachment (LFA). HCD focused on providing education and training as a precursor to employment, whereas LFA focused on placing people into jobs quickly to build work habits and skills.

Year evaluation began: 1991
Populations and employment barriers: Parents, Single parents, Cash assistance recipients
Intervention services: Education, Sanctions, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness Rating and Effect By Outcome Domain

Back to top
View Table Help Need more context or definitions for the Outcome Domain table below? View the "Table Help" to get more insight into terms, measures, and definitions.

Scroll to the right to view the rest of the table columns

Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $586 per year 0.03 2997
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable $-607 per year -0.03 2997
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 4% (in percentage points) 0.11 2997
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -1% (in percentage points) -0.03 2997
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Supported favorable $-363 per year -0.13 2997
Long-term Supported favorable $-308 per year -0.11 2997
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Supported favorable 7% (in percentage points) 0.13 1158

Studies of this Intervention

Back to top
Study Quality Rating Study Counts per Rating
High High 1