• 0.17,1.00
  • 0.19,5.00
  • 0.10,5.00
  • 0.18,1.00
  • 0.08,5.00

The Portland version of JOBS, a national program model enacted through the Family Support Act of 1988 to support recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in finding a job, focused on quickly moving participants into any employment, while also encouraging them to search for higher paying jobs with benefits.

The Portland version of JOBS, a national program model enacted through the Family Support Act of 1988 to support recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in finding a job, focused on quickly moving participants into any employment, while also encouraging them to search for higher paying jobs with benefits.

Although some participants were first referred to short-term training and education programs, most were initially assigned to a job club for 30 hours a week, followed by a job search during which they were required to contact 20 employers a week. Participants also had access to a job developer, life skills and vocational training, secondary and postsecondary education, and supportive services such as child care and transportation. Case managers intensively monitored participants’ activities and could sanction them by reducing their benefits. Job clubs lasted for two weeks, and intensive job search activities lasted for six weeks. The average participant engaged in JOBS activities for 5.2 months. Participants were single parents. The intervention was implemented in Portland, OR.

Year evaluation began: 1993
Populations and employment barriers: Parents, Single parents
Intervention services: Case management, Academic instruction, Sanctions, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training, Soft skills training, Work experience, Job search assistance, Job development/job placement
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 Little evidence to assess support favorable $1,652 per year 0.079 4028
Long-term Supported favorable $2,050 per year 0.098 4028
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 7% (in percentage points) 0.176 4028
Long-term Supported favorable 3% (in percentage points) 0.081 4028
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Supported favorable $-462 per year -0.168 4028
Long-term Supported favorable $-523 per year -0.190 4028
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
American Indian or Alaska Native

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

Although the study examined services delivered between February 1993 and December 1999, services under the Portland JOBS program existed before the study began and continued after it ended. The study examined outcomes for people who enrolled between February 1993 and December 1994.

Organizations implementing intervention

The Portland JOBS program was administered by the Oregon Adult and Family Services (AFS) offices in Multnomah and Washington counties, in the Portland metro area.

Populations served

The Portland JOBS program served single parents with children as young as age 1. Most study participants were female (93 percent) and white (70 percent), and the average age was 30. More than three-quarters of the participants (77 percent) said they had worked full time at some point in the past, and 39 percent reported some earnings in the prior year. The Portland JOBS program enrolled both voluntary participants and people who were mandated to enroll to fulfill welfare-to-work requirements.

Description of services implemented

The Portland JOBS program offered:

  • Integrated case management services, with case managers responsible for making referrals to activities, identifying participant needs, monitoring compliance, and imposing financial sanctions as needed.
  • Basic education such as GED preparation for people with low levels of educational attainment or with low reading or math skills, as identified at the time of enrollment.
  • Occupational training and individualized job placement through local community colleges, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses.
  • Job search assistance through job clubs as well as similar activities provided through local community colleges under contract with the welfare offices.
  • Job development from full-time staff working with the state employment department and local businesses to identify openings.
  • Supportive services such as child care on an as-needed basis.

To increase participants’ self-sufficiency, case managers encouraged many of them to engage in education or training before proceeding with a job search. The Portland JOBS program also focused on encouraging participants to seek higher paying job opportunities with benefits when possible. Participant progress was closely monitored by case managers.

Over time, the Portland JOBS program shifted its focus to prioritize job search activities over education and soft skills training. The last two years of follow-up coincided with changes in federal welfare policy. During this period, the Portland JOBS program made more supportive job placements and short-term training assignments, and the site also moved away from integrated case management and toward a more traditional form of case management, with case management activities delivered by separate administrative case managers and employment services case managers.

Service intensity

Participants in the Portland JOBS program who were not employed were required to engage in an average of 20 hours per week of program activities. On average, they engaged in these activities for five months.

Comparison conditions

People in the comparison group could not receive any program services, but they were also not subject to participation requirements (including nonparticipation sanctions) for program services or employment. They could, however, pursue other employment-related activities available in their communities. As part of this evaluation, comparison group members agreed to become ineligible for the Portland JOBS program for at least three years, and some group members were randomly selected to remain ineligible for five years.


The Portland JOBS program was a collaboration between the welfare department and local community colleges. Community college staff provided most program services, and AFS staff provided case management.


The Portland JOBS program employed a team of integrated case managers and full-time job developers. In this integrated model, instead of assigning participants to two separate case managers (one to administer benefits payment, and another to provide employment-related services), the same case manager provided both employment- and benefit-related services. The study authors did not provide information on the number of staff or their training, degrees, or certifications.

Local context

The Portland JOBS program took place in Portland, Oregon.

Fidelity measures

The study did not discuss any tools to measure fidelity to the intervention model.

Funding source

The Portland JOBS program was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the 1998 Family Support Act.

Cost information

The program’s overall cost per participant was $8,930. This included program orientation and assessment, job search, education, training, work experience, and supportive services like child care. A cost-benefit analysis concluded that the Portland JOBS program resulted in cost savings to the government of $5,538.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1