The Employment Retention and Advancement Project: Results from the Los Angeles Reach For Success Program

Publication Date: November 15, 2009


This report presents implementation and two-year effectiveness results for the Reach for Success (RFS) program, operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). RFS offered individualized and flexible case management services to recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance benefits –– primarily, single mothers who were working at least 32 hours per week but earned too little to leave assistance. DPSS administrators designed RFS with the goal of helping individuals retain their employment and secure better jobs, and it sought to meet this goal by increasing the availability and improving the quality of case management services, relative to services offered as part of the agency’s existing postemployment services (PES) program. Participation in services in either program was voluntary. RFS operated from March 2002 to June 2005 in three regions in the county.

RFS is one of 16 innovative models across the country being evaluated as part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project 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. The evaluation of RFS uses a random assignment research design, whereby eligible individuals were assigned, through a lottery-like process, to one of two groups. Those assigned to the RFS group were actively recruited to participate in services and were offered personalized case management. Those assigned to the control group were eligible to request, on their own initiative, services from the county’s existing postemployment program. The report’s findings thus indicate whether Los Angeles’s new RFS program was more effective than its existing approach to providing postemployment services.

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