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Aiding Welfare-to-work Transitions: Lessons from JTPA on the Cost-effectiveness of Education and Training Services


  • Carolyn J. Heinrich


A growing consensus is emerging that under PRWORA, more disadvantaged welfare recipients are failing to retain jobs and are not earning enough to rise above the poverty level, even when working full-time. In this study, I draw primarily on the experiences of welfare recipients who participated in JTPA programs to address the central research question: What are the most cost-effective education and training services to aid individuals making the transition from welfare to economic self-sufficiency? The study findings suggest that if afforded access, formal on-the-job training and vocational training in technical/professional fields might substantially and cost-effectively increase the labor market success of more disadvantaged TANF recipients. Before or while they are engaged in these training activities, however, they need to acquire the basic educational skills that will enable their success in training and unsubsidized employment. Younger participants with little or no work experience or labor attachment, (and lower opportunity costs of participating), should be targeted for these services.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolyn J. Heinrich, 1998. "Aiding Welfare-to-work Transitions: Lessons from JTPA on the Cost-effectiveness of Education and Training Services," JCPR Working Papers 47, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:47

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dave M. O'Neill & June Ellenoff O'Neill, 1997. "Lessons for Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the AFDC Caseload and Past Welfare-to-Work Programs," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lwr, November.
    2. Louis G. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "The return from community college schooling for displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. D. Greenberg & M. Wiseman, "undated". "What did the work- welfare demonstrations do?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 969-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, "undated". "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or Economic Growth?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1151-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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