• 0.12,2.00
  • 0.16,2.00
  • 0.06,5.00

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

Atlanta’s HCD program stressed that participants should spend time receiving education or training to prepare for good jobs. At the start of the program, case managers assigned participants to adult basic education courses or vocational training programs. Participants were assigned to adult basic education courses more often than training programs because many vocational programs required GEDs or certificates that the participants did not have when starting the HCD program. Case managers had limited individualized involvement with participants but emphasized the importance of participation and could enforce participation rules by imposing sanctions on nonparticipating clients that temporarily reduced their welfare grant amounts by $45 (in 1993 dollars). Case managers also supported participants by directly paying child care providers and reimbursing transportation costs. The program expected that most participants 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 (JOBS) program. Atlanta’s HCD program, implemented in Atlanta, GA, was evaluated as part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies that also tested HCD programs implemented in Riverside, CA, and Grand Rapids, MI. The demonstration also compared the effectiveness of Labor Force Attachment programs to the effectiveness of HCD programs in the same three sites and evaluated programs in Portland, OR; Detroit, MI; Oklahoma City, OK; and two programs in Columbus, OH (Columbus Integrated and Columbus Traditional).

Year evaluation began: 1991
Populations and employment barriers: Cash assistance recipients, Parents, Single parents
Intervention services: Case management, Education, Sanctions, Supportive services, Training, Occupational or sectoral training
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 $1,276 per year 0.061 2992
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $544 per year 0.026 2992
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable 1% (in percentage points) 0.022 2992
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable 0% (in percentage points) -0.006 2992
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-135 per year -0.049 2992
Long-term Supported favorable $-201 per year -0.073 2992
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Supported favorable 8% (in percentage points) 0.160 2199

Effects over time by outcome domain

24
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Size and direction of effects
Services were delivered for 24 months
Moderate-to-large favorable effect Small favorable effect
No effect
Small unfavorable effect Moderate-to-large unfavorable effect
Hollow data points indicate average effects that may be due to chance.

Services were delivered for 24 months

Years since the start of service delivery Size of the effect on benefit receipt Size of the effect on earnings Size of the effect on employment Size of the effect on education and training
0.00
0.25
0.50
0.75
1.00 Small favorable effect -0.05 Small favorable effect 0.06 Small favorable effect 0.02
1.25
1.50
1.75
2.00 Small favorable effect -0.12* Small favorable effect 0.04 Small favorable effect 0.16*
2.25
2.50
2.75
3.00
3.25
3.50
3.75
4.00
4.25
4.50
4.75
5.00 Small favorable effect -0.06~ Small favorable effect 0.01 Small unfavorable effect -0.01

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
95%
White
4%
Hispanic or Latino of any race
1%

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

The study covered the two-year impacts of the intervention, starting with random assignment in 1992 and ending in 1994. Further studies covered four- and five-year impacts of the intervention.

Organizations implementing intervention

Atlanta HCD was implemented by the Georgia Department of Human Services, which was the state agency for AFDC.

Populations served

All Atlanta HCD study participants were single parents who received AFDC benefits and were required to enroll in the JOBS program, a welfare-to-work program that required activities such as job searching, education, and job training as part of the Family Support Act of 1988. At the time of random assignment, recipients of AFDC in Atlanta were 98 percent female. About 95 percent of recipients were Black, 4 percent were White, and 1 percent were Hispanic. About 56 percent of recipients were between the ages of 25 to 34, 31 percent were between 35 to 44, 8 percent were between 20 to 24, and 6 percent were older than 45. Just less than half (44 percent) of recipients did not have a high school diploma or GED.
AFDC recipients were exempt from the enrollment requirement if they (1) had children younger than 3, (2) were employed 30 hours or more per week, (3) were medically unable to work, or (4) were in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Description of services implemented

Atlanta’s HCD program stressed that participants should spend time receiving education or training to prepare for good jobs. At the start of the program, case managers created employment development plans after discussing participants’ career interests and work and education history. These work plans could include education, vocational training, or related activities. Participants were assigned to adult basic education courses more often than training programs because many vocational programs required GEDs or certificates that the participants did not have when starting the HCD program. Some individuals were expected to find employment after their initial JOBS assignment, but if they did not find employment, they could be assigned to another activity, such as a job club or more vocational training or education.

Although case managers had limited individualized involvement with participants, they did emphasize the importance of participation and could enforce participation rules by imposing sanctions on nonparticipating clients that temporarily reduced their welfare grant amounts by $45 (in 1993 dollars). The sanction could last until the participant agreed to participate in the program activity by signing a compliance form. Compliance forms were signed in group meetings, which doubled as counseling sessions to better understand the reasons for nonparticipation. Case managers also supported participants by directly paying licensed child care providers and reimbursing transportation costs.

Service intensity

The HCD program could last up to two years, or longer if necessary, depending on the length of the vocational training or education course.

Adult education classes typically had 23 students enrolled, with an average attendance of 13 students per class. Students usually met for an average of 4 days a week, for a total of 15 hours per week. The classes emphasized individual instruction. Most vocational training programs took 1 to 2 years to complete.

Of the individuals assigned to Atlanta HCD, 61 percent participated in any HCD activity, and 39 percent were assigned to HCD but did not participant in any HCD activity. In addition, 12 percent participated in a job search, 35 percent participated in basic education activities, 27 percent participated in vocational training, and 2 percent attended college. On average, individuals spent 9 months participating in a JOBS activity.

Comparison conditions

The comparison group for this study was randomly assigned. Individuals in the comparison group could, on their own initiative, find education and training programs in their communities. However, they could not participate in HCD activities and were not subject to HCD program requirements. These individuals were also eligible for child care assistance if they were participating in a JOBS-approved activity.

Partnerships

Staff contracted through a local Community Action Agency led the job club. Community-based nonprofits, operating under contract with Atlanta Public Schools, provided adult education programs.

Staffing

Case managers assigned participants to appropriate HCD activities, helped with child care arrangements, and helped remove barriers to participation when possible. They had about nine years of work experience and five years of experience in their position, on average. Case managers, the majority of whom were Black and had bachelor’s degrees, felt they had received helpful training for their work, with most of the training relating to conducting assessments and assigning clients to appropriate levels of education or training.

Income maintenance staff, who were authorized to impose and remove sanctions, referred individuals to JOBS and tracked the status of participants. An average caseload size was 432 cases. The majority of income maintenance staff were Black, had at least a bachelor’s degree, and had worked in their position for an average of 4.5 years.

The teachers of the adult education classes had an average of 8 years of experience.

The study authors did not include information on the number of staff.

Local context

Atlanta HCD took place in Fulton County in Atlanta, GA. At the time of the study, Atlanta was experiencing moderate population growth and was a major city in the southeast United States with several job sectors, such as health, finance, retail, and transportation, making for a strong economy. In 1993, the county averaged 23,113 AFDC cases per month with an AFDC grant of $280 for a family of three.

Fidelity measures

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

Funding source

Atlanta HCD was funded by the state AFDC agency, Georgia Department of Human Services. Education programs were typically funded by state and local education departments.

Cost information

The cost per HCD participant, in 1993 dollars, was $4,463, including $3,367 in operating costs and $1,097 in supportive services such as child care and transportation assistance.

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1