Subsidizing Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Families: A Review of State Employment Programs Created Through the TANF Emergency Fund

Publication Date: December 15, 2011


Subsidized employment programs provide jobs to people who cannot find employment in the regular labor market and use public funds to pay all or some of their wages. In 2009 and 2010, states could access funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create or expand subsidized employment programs. When the fund expired on September 30, 2010, states had placed more than a quarter of a million people in subsidized jobs, making this the largest subsidized employment initiative in the country since the 1970s.

The Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will conduct rigorous evaluations of several subsidized employment programs for disadvantaged workers over the next few years. This report presents findings from the first phase of the STED project — a review of subsidized employment programs that operated with support from the TANF Emergency Fund. It is based on telephone interviews with administrators in 48 states, tribes, and territories that received Emergency Fund support for subsidized employment; site visits to eight programs; and reports that states provided to the research team.

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