Implementing Welfare-to-Work Programs in Rural Places: Lessons from the Rural Welfare-to-Work Strategies Demonstration Evaluation

Publication Date: April 6, 2004


The Rural Welfare-to-Work Strategies (RWtW) Demonstration Evaluation is assessing whether innovative programs can improve employment and other outcomes for rural low-income people. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and its subcontractors, Decision Information Resources and the Rural Policy Research Institute, are conducting the evaluation with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. This report chronicles the implementation experiences of three programs: 1) Illinois Future Steps, which offered intensive, employment-focused case management to prepare participants for work and to help them find and keep good jobs; 2) Building Nebraska Families (BNF), which provides preemployment education to improve the basic life skills of hard-to-employ people so they can engage in job search and training activities and address personal and family barriers to self-sufficiency; 3) Tennessee First Wheels, which offers no-interest car loans to low-income families who need transportation to get to work and improve their quality of life.

The findings and lessons on the implementation of the RWtW demonstration programs focus primarily on program development and client experiences; institutional partnerships and local connections; and outreach, staffing, and management.

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