This report describes the implementation and impact study findings from an evaluation of the relative effectiveness of two approaches to providing job search assistance (JSA) to cash assistance applicants in New York City. From 2015 to 2016, the New York City Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration administered two JSA programs for “job ready” cash assistance applicants: Back to Work (known as B2W, the pre-existing program) and Independent Job Search (IJS, a new program). The study examined the effects of these programs on cash assistance applicants, including both families with children and single, childless adults, who were determined to be able to work and who might need less job search assistance than other applicants.
Using a rigorous research design, the study did not find a difference in employment rates or earnings during the six month follow-up period. However, compared to the IJS program, the B2W program increased the rate at which cash assistance applications were denied for not meeting application requirements and decreased the receipt of cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. While participation in job search assistance services was high for both groups, compared to IJS, those assigned to the B2W program were more likely to participate in group and one-on-one activities and to attend these activities for a greater number of hours. (Edited author introduction)