Employment Experiences of Welfare Recipients: Is Targeting Possible?

Publication Date: August 20, 1998


One of the most important themes of today’s welfare debate is the goal of moving mothers from welfare to work. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) includes strong incentives for state agencies to move recipients into the labor force. State and local policymakers now express significant interest in the issue of job retention and in designing programs to facilitate job retention or rapid reemployment. Anticipating this need, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to provide program operators and policymakers with useful information on issues related to labor force attachment for welfare recipients. In particular, ACF had two broad goals for this study: (1) to provide some benchmarks regarding the employment patterns of welfare recipients who find jobs and the factors associated with job loss or job retention; and (2) to shed light on the feasibility of targeting resources to those who are most likely to have long periods of nonemployment.

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