New Visions Self-Sufficiency and Lifelong Learning Project, 1999-2006

The New Visions Self-Sufficiency and Lifelong Learning Project is a joint venture of the Riverside Community College (RCC) in California and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services. The purpose of the demonstration is to improve the employment prospects of working TANF recipients. To be eligible for this program a person must be a welfare recipient working at least 20 hours a week and must have a high school diploma. The program consists of 10 months of classes at RCC, the first 6 of which are devoted to basic and higher education. The last 4 months consist of activities that are more specifically tailored to the individual and can range from entry-level community college course work to work experience and job placement. Participation in the program is voluntary.

The major research questions include: (1) Was self-sufficiency increased as measured by earnings? (2) Was welfare use reduced as measured by the duration and amount of welfare receipt? (3) Was educational achievement increased as measured by post-secondary school enrollment and credentials received?

The demonstration will randomly assign clients to an experimental group and to a control group over a two year period. Experimental and control outcomes will be compared to estimate the impacts of the treatment on earnings, welfare receipt and educational level. There are also staff interviews and focus groups for the purpose of understanding the reasons for the impacts or lack thereof.

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