Delivering Employment Retention and Advancement Services: A Process Study of Iowa’s Post-Employment Pilot Program

Published: May 15, 2001
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Iowa Welfare Reform Evaluation, 1997-2001 | Learn more about this project

Job retention and advancement became issues of intense interest in the years following the implementation of federal and state welfare reforms. Sharply declining caseloads and the urgency associated with time-limited cash assistance have made states aware that helping people find jobs is only the first step in helping them gain self-sufficiency. Promoting job retention and advancement offers the promise of helping families achieve long-term independence from state assistance. Yet, despite several completed and ongoing evaluations in this area, the empirical evidence on how to help clients keep jobs and move on to better ones is still limited.

The state of Iowa made an early commitment to job retention and advancement services based on evaluation results of its welfare program, the Family Investment Program (FIP). These results indicated that FIP had increased employment and earnings among recipients but had not directly resulted in families leaving welfare (Fraker et al., 1998; Fraker and Jacobson, 2000). In an effort to assist employed clients with sustained and progressive employment and facilitate families’ exit from cash assistance, the state developed a model for post-employment services. The Post-Employment Pilot (PEP) Program tests that model in three sites across the state and lays the groundwork for future retention and advancement services in Iowa.

This is the final report of the process study of the PEP Program. It examines the decisions made by the three pilot sites about recruitment and referral processes, services, and staffing structures as well as the challenges and successes experienced by the sites during the first 10 months of program operation.