Ohio’s version of JOBS, a national program model enacted through the Family Support Act of 1988 to support Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients in finding employment, used an assessment-based approach in which caseworkers had discretion in placing clients into activities.
Caseworkers conducted an initial assessment interview and skills test to determine their clients’ needs and assigned clients to various activities. Clients without a high school diploma or equivalent were typically assigned to basic education classes. Clients with a high school diploma or equivalent and little work experience were typically assigned to a Community Work Experience Program. Clients with both a high school diploma or equivalent and work experience were typically assigned to a job club for intensive job search. Caseworkers had substantial discretion in making assignments, however, and often placed a client in other activities or never gave a client any assignment. Clients assigned to an activity were required to participate for at least 20 hours per week; noncompliance could result in reductions in benefits. Typical lengths of placements were 8.5 months for basic education, 5.2 months for a Community Work Experience Program, 1.7 months for job clubs, 8.8 months for postsecondary education, 5.2 months for job skills training, and 4.1 months for job-readiness training. Participants were AFDC recipients not exempt from participation in welfare-to-work activities. The Ohio JOBS program was implemented statewide and evaluated in 15 counties.