Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, little is known about how to help them and other low-wage workers keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report presents an assessment of the implementation and effects at the two-year follow-up point of a program in Riverside County, California, that aimed to promote job retention and advancement among employed individuals who recently left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the cash welfare program that mainly serves single mothers and their children. The study is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 programs across the country (including two programs in Riverside). The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC, under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.
This ERA intervention in Riverside County, called the Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) program, was designed to provide former TANF recipients with voluntary postemployment services — such as case management, counseling and mentoring, and help with reemployment — to help them keep their jobs, remain off TANF, and advance their earning potential. PASS is being evaluated using a random assignment research design whereby eligible individuals were assigned, through a lottery-like process, either to a program group, whose members were actively recruited by one of five local PASS service providers to engage in an array of postemployment services, or to a control group, whose members were eligible to receive less intensive postemployment services from the Riverside Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), if they requested such services from DPSS. The outcomes for the control group represent what would have happened in the absence of the PASS program, providing a benchmark against which to compare the PASS program. (Author abstract)