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  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas ; Doolittle, Fred ; Fellerath, Veronica ; Wiseman, Michael ; Greenberg, David; Hollister, Robinson Jr.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the...

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the traditional public assistance system. During the demonstration, the program is operating in two low-income areas of Milwaukee. Eligibility is based solely on income and a willingness to work full time, without any requirement that there be a single parent or even any children present in the household, as has been common in many welfare programs. At entry into the program, approximately 70 percent of New Hope participants lived in households with children, and 63 percent were receiving some type of public assistance.

    This report, the first major product of the evaluation, presents findings on New Hope's context, design, and implementation. A future report will present findings on the program's impacts on key outcomes and costs. Funding for the evaluation has been provided by the Helen Bader Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development.

    Several messages emerge from the findings of this report. First, through an analysis of the context in which New Hope operates, the report presents a picture of the conditions in two central-city, low-income areas within a very strong metropolitan economy. This illustrates both the benefits of the strong overall employment picture and the limits on residents' abilities to participate in the economic growth.

    Second, the New Hope Project successfully put in place the benefits and services called for in the program design, in the process learning many lessons about how to administer monthly earnings supplements, subsidies for health insurance and child care, and paid community service jobs. The program thus provides an opportunity to learn how to link more closely work and supplemental financial support than is possible under existing earned income tax credits, which largely operate on an annual basis. Among the insights emerging from the New Hope experience is the central role program staff can play in helping participants understand the various financial incentives, make informed choices, and pursue employment.

    In New Hope, unlike many other programs, participants must work to receive program benefits, so this report's findings on use of the benefits are also of special importance. New Hope was not designed with any fixed sequence of program participation. Instead, it provides a collection of benefits that participants can access as they wish. Approximately three-quarters of those accepted into the New Hope program worked full time at some point in the following 12 months and received a program benefit, but — not surprisingly — patterns of benefit use were complex and varied.

    Final results on the effectiveness of New Hope in meeting its goals must await later reports on program impacts. Nevertheless, this report illustrates how the New Hope Project succeeded in putting in place services that have the potential to provide low-income workers with a bridge from below-poverty incomes to greater economic security. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Poglinco, Susan; Brash, Julian ; Granger, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Riedinger, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of...

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of the study states have experienced significant declines in their cash assistance caseloads that are well above the national average, low unemployment and strong economies.

    Work-oriented reforms in place at the time of this study were implemented at different points between 1993 and 1996. Since the passage of PRWORA, Indiana and Wisconsin both implemented new work-oriented reforms while Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oregon have made few changes.

    Thus, while this study captures state experiences at one point in time, it also reflects states at different stages in their own evolution toward a more employment focused welfare system. It is also important to note that this study took place too soon after TANF went into effect to fully capture the implications and impact of the new federal welfare reform law (e.g., progressively steeper participation rate requirements, lifetime limit on benefit receipt). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gibson, Cynthia M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development...

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development programs and policies. Site results indicate that individuals placed in jobs had experienced significant hourly wage and earnings increases; more than twice as many had medical benefits; and more than half had been employed 12 months. Requirements for meeting workplace demands are employer engagement; employee retention and advancement; collaboration; and building organizational capacity. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hebert, Scott; Parkes, S. Rhae; Schneider, Glen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    By using case studies, this report evaluates the Jobs Initiative, Casey's six-city, eight-year effort to engage local institutions and stakeholders while identifying improved approaches to workforce development services for disadvantaged job seekers. The report delves into a community's ability to create large-scale, system-wide change and help poor families improve their chances in finding quality employment  It examines the intentional workforce development system improvements in four of the Jobs Initiative sites: Seattle, WA; Milwaukee, WI; St. Louis, MO; and Philadelphia, PA. (author abstract)

    By using case studies, this report evaluates the Jobs Initiative, Casey's six-city, eight-year effort to engage local institutions and stakeholders while identifying improved approaches to workforce development services for disadvantaged job seekers. The report delves into a community's ability to create large-scale, system-wide change and help poor families improve their chances in finding quality employment  It examines the intentional workforce development system improvements in four of the Jobs Initiative sites: Seattle, WA; Milwaukee, WI; St. Louis, MO; and Philadelphia, PA. (author abstract)

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