Committee Visit to the United States -
17-20 June 2002
Monday 17 June
Dr Mark Allen-Hughes, University of Pennsylvania
A fundamental difference between the UK and USA was
that of divided sovereignty between federal, state and local authorities,
without an understanding of which it was impossible to
understand the aims and achievements of the US system.
There had not been a unified approach after the introduction
of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reforms,
but some states had introduced additional policies. The US was
trying to unify work policy areas and was spending $40 billion
per year ($16 billion on TANF). Of this, $1.2 billion was allocated
to Pennsylvania. There was complexity in the system: workforce
development was administered by 6 state agencies. For example,
the Transitional Work Corporation (TWC), whom the Committee
were to meet, reported to two or three state agencies.
There were 5.1 million people in the Greater Philadelphia
region, the fourth largest in the US. Philadelphia was the fifth
largest city with a population of 1.4 million. There were 2.25
million jobs in the region, but most growth in recent years had
been outside the city boundary.
The introduction of work reforms and TANF had created
further complexity. For example, those travelling further to work
needed help with transport costs (some claimants helped by provisions
of TANF). The asset rules had had to be relaxed for some small
businesses such as auto repair.
Greater Philadelphia and four suburban counties had
combined to form Workforce. Investment Boards were entirely separate
and were rewarded by results. There was no flexibility for counties.
A new Bill renewing the TANF provisions was expected, but local
politicians were generally resistant to change.
The federal lead on sanctions (claimants required
to seek work after 24 months, excluded from public assistance
after 60 months) had been adopted by Pennsylvania. Many states
had stronger demands. The sanctions had not been widely applied.
Full family sanctions were also available, but nearly all those
liable had been given exemption.
The administration of the Transitional Work Corporation
was funded by the Pew Trusts to the tune of $3 million to pay
core costs. TWC received some $32 million from state and city
for programme costs.
The programme paid for the first six months. As it
evolved, training had become a bigger feature, but there were
continuing questions over the standard required.
There was an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for
those earning $10,000-$13,000 per year with two children. Cost
in a full year was $30 billion and was administered by the IRS.
Take-up rates were a problem.
There was a need to expand the outdated transport
system in Philadelphia to reflect the location of newly emerging
growth areas. More workers were commuting from suburb to suburb
and city to suburb than ever before. The geographic mismatch between
urban supply and suburban demands created transport problems which
had welfare implications; jobless welfare recipients needed transport
to get to the new jobs, and public transport links didn't necessarily
exist. Flexible funding within the TANF budget was being used
to finance car repairs or to enable people to rent or buy cars
so that they could travel to work. TANF had removed the "asset
cap" so that the value of cars was disregarded; but the Food
Stamps programme had not - thus there was a mismatch between programmes.
Thus one response had been to try to connect people in the city
to jobs in the wider region through providing transport. Other
responses were the creation of Employment Zones and tax breaks
to encourage employers into the city; also giving housing assistance
(using TANF moneys) to help people move to the jobs.
The effects of TANF, in imposing time-limits on receipt
of welfare had been difficult to quantify. Teenage pregnancies
had fallen, but marriage rates remained low.
City of Philadelphia
Mr Gary Ledebur, Director of Social Services;
Mr Paul DiLorenzo, Director of Children's Policy; Ms Sally Glickman,
Workforce Investment Board and Ms Harriet Williams, Philadelphia
Health Care Corporation.
The City of Philadelphia had developed initiatives
to build on the state and federal network. Younger children had
benefited economically by welfare to work policies, but by pulling
mothers into work, the downside was, possibly, that older children
were getting into more trouble, which would be helped by more
after-school activity. The Workforce Investment Board allocated
$3 billion (from federal funds) to the hardest to place.
The primary purpose of the city's children strategy
was to be proactive. There was intensive assistance for the most
vulnerable families. A programme had been created targeting the
40,000 children who missed more than 25 days school per year.
There was too little flexibility in the $1.5 billion
funds received from federal and state agencies. The City strategy
was 'place-based' to regenerate neighbourhoods and reduce 'address
There was still a culture of benefit dependence exacerbated
by a jobs mis-match in Philadelphia.
The Bill to reauthorise the TANF provisions had been
passed by the House of Representatives and if passed by the Senate,
would cost Philadelphia $6bn. 50% of students dropped out or did
not attain appropriate qualifications. Drug abuse was a severe
problem and there was a police initiative to try to repossess
There was a one-stop system for access to unemployment
benefits but social security was still dealt with separately.
The outcomes of voluntary service projects were measured by performance-based
At the end of a sixth year, the state would be asked
to fund a seventh year.
Government servants must be US citizens.
Ideally, the money received should be more flexible
and the unreasonable demands of state funders should be reduced.
Transitional Work Corporation (TWC)
The Committee met Richard Greenwald, President and
CEO of TWC, Board Members David Florey (Director, Bureau of Labor
and Employment Training Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Public
Welfare) and Julie Kerksick (Executive Director, New Hope Project
Inc. Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and staff members Achee O'Quinn, Director
of Employment and Kim Williams, Team Manager.
'Transitional work' had been designed to deal with
the requirement under TANF rules that, after 24 months, welfare
recipients must participate in work for at least 20 hours a week
if they were to keep their benefit. TWC was founded in 1998. It
was a partnership funded by the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania and the Pew Charitable Trusts (one of America's
largest foundations) to help "the hardest of the hard to
serve" into work while giving local employers a reliable
service. Unlike most welfare to work programmes, it was a not-for-profit
business. It blends the "work first" philosophy with
the recognition that many welfare recipients need training and
other support to make the transition to work. It had grown out
of a recognition that education and training programmes by themselves
did not get people into jobs. Supported work was a more effective
method of getting employers to connect with people who had little
if any previous work history. Employer feedback was that they
didn't necessarily need people to have specific skills, rather
they wanted people to know how to work: to have a good attitude,
to dress properly, to be drug-free, and to have their GED.
The Pew Charitable Trusts put in around ten per cent
of funding. The money was useful because it was not tied to state
regulations, and therefore offered greater flexibility. The engagement
of Pew gave the project prestige and weight. The coalition of
State, City and Pew had helped in securing funding. Two thirds
of their present $12 million budget was spent on wages.
How it works
After an initial period of intensive jobreadiness
training, TWC participants worked in temporary training positions
in government or notforprofit organisations for a
maximum of six months before being placed in unsubsidised jobs.
During this transition period, participants were paid by TWC,
they received academic and career training and built a work history.
In terms of permanent employers, the field was wider, extending
to the private sector. Employers were not subsidised - apart from
a token payment of $49 per month to staff members who acted as
No one was accepted into the programme unless deemed
"unprepared" for employment in two previous screenings.
The TWC participants had serious skills deficiencies, and were
almost all highschool dropouts with virtually no work history.
Almost all participants were women (reflecting the eligibility
criteria for TANF). Ninety per cent were Afro-American, 8 per
cent were Hispanic, and almost 2 per cent were white. The average
participant was aged 29 with two children. Almost all had a child
as a teenager, and had only reached the equivalent of grade 5
or 6 in English and Maths.
TWC used transitional jobs in notforprofit
organisations, City government and business to help participants
get permanent unsubsidised employment. There were around 300 sites
where participants worked. City and State government payed the
wages through TWC (minimum wage $5.15 per hour) for the transitional
jobs, as well as other benefits such as food stamps, transport,
and childcare assistance. TWC also provided a clothing allowance,
and assisted clients to prepare their résumé. Participants
earned bonuses totalling $800 ($200 at start, $200 half way through,
and $400 at the end) as they made the transition to a permanent
TWC linked each participant with a career adviser
(who checked on the participant daily) and a "work partner,"
a staff member at the work site who had volunteered to serve as
a mentor. Every week, participants worked for 25 hours and attended
10 hours of individualised training, enabling them to prepare
for their high school diploma exams or to improve their computer
skills or receive counselling or treatment for a drug or alcohol
abuse problem if needed. The support continued at declining levels
for six months after participants had moved into their permanent
jobs. The key to a successful placement was achieving a good match
between what the individual wanted to do and the needs of the
In terms of results, the Pew Charitable Trusts had
commissioned an independent evaluation of TWC which concluded:
"TWC had rapidly become one of the nation's leaders in transitional
employment programmes. Since its inception, TWC had placed over
5,500 people in paid work experience. These participants gain
valuable skills and training and had begun the difficult road
towards selfsufficiency. Perhaps equally important, however,
TWC had placed over 1,883 individuals in unsubsidised employment.
This accounted for 92 per cent of all participants who complete
the transitional phase of the programmes. These participants earned
on average $7.50 per hour for an average of 36 hours per week
and most participants were offered medical benefits within six
months of their date of hire. However, the most impressive thing
about TWC was its success in retaining individuals in employment.
Of all participants placed in unsubsidised employment, 63 per
cent had retained that employment for at least two full quarters
following placement. These statistics lead to one conclusion,
for participants who actively become engaged in the programme,
this model works, participants both obtain and retain unsubsidised
employment." Overall, 30 to 40 per cent of initial entrants
would get jobs at the end.
Key elements of the programme were:
- the appearance and whole ethos of TWC was that
of a workplace not a welfare office. People were given a pay cheque;
they fill out a timesheet; they could be hired and fired if they
seriously misbehaved e.g. being chronically late or absent, or
having a drug or alcohol problem they could not control. The organisation
was managed as a business, with performance indicators and continuous
reviews and adjustments;
- from the first day each participant received
more money than they did on welfare providing clear proof that
work pays. They were also eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit;
- each participant had both a career adviser and
a work mentor. The career adviser not only listened to their problems,
but helped participants overcome problems whether in getting childcare
benefit or a restraining order against an abusive boyfriend. Close,
continued individualised support and mentoring were important
keys to success.
Why wait two years to offer supported work?
TWC was set up to deal with the TANF system as it
operated in Philadelphia. There was a reluctance on the part of
the state to finance a large scale public works programme; reducing
the entry time limits would be expensive.
Getting tough - does it happen?
There had been around 10,000 sanctions applied in
Pennsylvania, but very few full family sanctions - around 10.
How would Richard Greenwald like to see TWC develop?
He would like to be able to work with a bigger group
of the working poor - not just lone mothers. It was hard to work
with short-term funding, which hampered long-term planning and
made it difficult to keep staff. He also wanted to use the information
they had better to predict who was likely to succeed..
Visit to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital was one of TWC's
oldest and largest partners. It was a hospital, international
research centre and medical college serving medical graduates
and health professionals. It had 11,000 employees.
The Committee met Ms Linda Mitchell, Manager of Employee
Selection and Placement, in the Department of Human Resources.
She introduced staff who were involved in screening and matching
potential TWC recruits and in managing and mentoring participants.
The Committee also talked to a TWC participant, who was one of
25 people currently going through the work-based programme. Altogether
Thomas Jefferson had taken 284 participants since 1998 (155 were
hospital based and 129 university based), only108 had secured
permanent jobs at the end of their placement. The large scale
of the institution meant that they could offer participants a
range of options - from clerical work to cleaning ('custodial
work') and food service work. TWC worked through the Unions, and
did not displace entry level labour. Once people were permanently
in work, there were opportunities for training and advancement
within the organisation.
Tuesday 18 June
Jewish Employment and Vocational Service (JEVS)/Orleans
Technical Institute (OTI)
Ms Gail Zuckerman, Chief Operating Officer
of Employment and Training for JEVS; Ms Jasmine Eaddy, Director
of Clinical Services for the Maximising Participation Project;
Ms Jayne Siniari, Director, OTI; Dr Jim Boyar, Director of Rehabilitation
Services, OTI; and Ms Bonnie Kaye, Program Director, OTI.
The programmes at these Institutes were comprised
of 20 hours per week (1 hour training, 7 hours work per day) all
conducted on-site. If a student missed a day it had to be made
The Food Service and Hospitality courses concentrated
on basic skills for non-academic people. The current system of
funding was not considered ideal: the previous training-based
system was better.
A self-sufficiency for women programme was aimed
at assisting a return to work. The course included career training,
IT skills and GED (General Equivalency Diploma). The employment
adviser provided continuity and a bridge to work.
Case co-ordinators undertook home visits to sort
out problems such as alcohol or drug dependency. Once the problems
were assessed, goals were written leading to employment.
JEVS was a non-profit company which had 13,000 students
per annum at a cost of $44m. The case loading for advisers was
1 to 18. The system depended heavily on case management. Sustainability
was more important that obtaining a job.
Sanctions were rarely applied - when they were, the
children suffered. People wanted help, but did not trust a state
scheme. This could be overcome only by personal, individual contact.
Meeting with The Reinvestment Fund and Fred
Dedrick, President of the Philadelphia Regional Workforce Partnership
The session was introduced by Jeremy Nowak, President
and CEO of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF). The Fund was a community
development financial institution dedicated to building wealth
and opportunity for low-income communities and low and moderate
income individuals. Now 16 years old, it managed around $130 million
which it lent and invested in projects with social goals and social
It had three pools of funds: loans; money from banks;
and venture capital - where capital was invested in companies
with growth potential, which were profitable, and which
invested in entry level jobs. (In terms of the money
from banks, there was a community reinvestment obligation on banks
laid down by law. Banks used The Reinvestment Fund as an intermediary
to meet their responsibilities.) There were around 750 investors.
Five hundred were individuals, the remaining 250 were institutions
- religious groups, financial institutions, and corporate and
civic organisations including hospitals and universities. The
Reinvestment Fund benefitted from being able to build a network
of relationships across these sectors. Investors were able to
choose their rate of return. Less than one per cent of funds had
been written off. They had a 14 per cent internal rate of return.
TRF had a "credibility of portfolio" with
both the experience of being in the market, and knowledge of what
worked in policy areas. TRF had a credibility with private sector
investors, and brought innovation to areas traditionally dominated
by high cost, highly regulated public investment. The average
loan was $200,000-300,000, and TRF was often involved in helping
to put an investment deal together.
Funds had gone into affordable housing, childcare
provision for low-income families, schools (including so-called
experimental "charter" schools), small businesses, community
centres, and workforce development. They operated under market
disciplines but with public, civic values.
Fred Dedrick, President of TRF's Regional Workforce
Partnership, explained its work. The Regional Workforce Partnership
was established by TRF in 1997. Its aim was to connect low wage
workers to the regional economy by reforming the system of support
they receive. Key recommendations it would make based on its work
- to understand and involve employers
A key organising strategy was to listen to what employers
actually wanted. It found that employers had no knowledge of public
systems and little interest in policy. It would rather employ
no-one at all rather than the wrong person. A survey of 150 companies
with 100 or more employees who focussed on entry level hiring
found that, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being 'extremely easy'
and 7 being 'extremely difficult,' 58% of respondents reported
a 5 or higher in terms of difficulty in finding qualified candidates
for entry level positions. Welfare or unemployed, skills mattered.
Two areas the Partnership had developed to supply employer demand
were customer service training and basic IT skill standards
Customer service was an area of work which went across
industries. It was highly valued, and one where national standards
applied. Good customer service gave an organisation a competitive
advantage. The Regional Workforce Partnership, along with TRF,
the National Retail Federation and the Jewish Employment and Vocational
Service had set up a partnership to develop cross-industry skill
standards for the customer service industry by surveying frontline
workers in the banking, retail, hospitality, food and finance
industries, and developing a large scale training programme leading
to a nationally recognised certificate in customer service. Trainees
obtained a portable credential. In its first year the 'Customer
Service Training Collaborative had produced 100 graduates and
an 88% placement rate with an average wage of $9.25.
Employers also wanted basic skills in IT. Ninety
per cent of the demand was in non-IT companies and therefore the
downturn in the IT industry as a whole was not relevant here.
The Partnership had developed IT skill standards for eight occupational
clusters. Four key entry level clusters were: technical support,
digital design, network design and administration, and web design
and administration. Through a programme of internships they gave
trainees a track record of work experience whilst reducing the
transaction costs for employers in taking on new entry level staff.
- to understand labour market dynamics
The Regional Workforce Partnership had compiled a
detailed report on Greater Philadelphia's Labour Market, which
it updated on an annual basis. The aim was to understand the labour
market; supply and demand and key gaps; the demographics; industry
clusters; and cross cutting occupations. In Philadelphia, of 2.4
million jobs, 2 million were in service producing areas including
(in descending order) retail, government, health, education, finance
and social services. Regional challenges arising were to increase
the supply of skilled workers; to retain and attract skilled workers;
to provide a steady supply of entry level workers with basic and
"workplace success skills" and to provide sufficient
quality childcare. The Partnership had therefore developed strategic
initiatives to train workers to world-class standards; to expand
the labour pool; to improve educational outcomes; to become "the
best region in America for childcare" and to insist on accountability
for workforce investment programmes.
- to connect to economic development
In a competitive labour environment, employers must
be confident that their current and future workforce needs will
be met in Greater Philadelphia than elsewhere. This required investing
in talent not relying on cheap labour; it required civic and social
amenities and services which made the area attractive to companies
who could go anywhere; it required adaptability; and it required
partnerships between the public and private sectors. The Regional
Workforce Partnership, as part of TRF, had become a very good
intermediary - it had a knowledge of workforce and employer needs
based on companies who came to them for financing.
- to analyse public interventions - what works
There were a vast array of programmes arising from
welfare reform and the Workforce Investment Act. Pennsylvania
spent $1.2 billion on workforce development yet provided little
overall performance information. Programme results from different
state programmes were scattered throughout many departments. There
were little comparative data making it difficult to compare performance.
Individual programmes had performance measures but there was no
consistent set of standards and/or impacts measurement used by
the entire system. TRF and the Regional Workforce Partnership
had lobbied candidates for Pennsylvania's next Governor suggesting
an annual performance scorecard looking at workforce investment.
The scoring would focus on number of job placements, wage and
benefit levels, training cost per placement, overhead cost per
placement, retention after six months, skills advancements etc.
There was little connection at present between workforce development
and the economic development needs of Greater Philadelphia. The
performance evaluation would also assess the wider long-term economic
impact of workforce investment - were companies getting the quality
labour they needed? Were higher skilled workers leading to gains
in productivity? Were more workers able to find jobs at family
sustaining wages? Were Pennsylvania's workers prepared for the
jobs for the future? This led to the final recommendation:
- to "measure, measure, measure"
Measurement can transform performance; and clear
performance outcomes can differentiate organisations and allow
investment in success.
Wednesday 19 June
Visit to the Oregon Department of Human Services
Mr Ron Taylor, Project Manager of the Project
Management Team, Ms Ramona Taylor, Mr Jim Neely, and Mr Michael
Buckly, of the Children, Adults and Families Division of Oregon
Ms Foley explained that the Department had undergone
a process of organisational change, designed to integrate public
assistance, child welfare and work. They had found that welfare
families being assessed for work programmes had multiple problems
and, under the former regime, could end up with multiple case
plans - for drug rehabilitation, for getting into work, and for
child welfare. The reorganisation was intended to refocus services
around the individual with one common case plan for TANF recipients
and a lead case manager, usually a child welfare case worker.
Oregon was one of the most successful states in getting
families off welfare. Ninety-three per cent of those who had left
TANF for employment were not receiving TANF benefits 18 months
later. In Oregon, the first forays into placing people in work
started in the late 70s under the WIN ('work incentives') programme.
This allowed single mothers whose youngest child was aged six
or more to be referred to the Employment Department where they
were registered in a 'waiting pool'. Few got job placements. Typically
they were referred for training - but with no job at the end.
Under President Reagan in the 80s, welfare departments could take
back job placement activity for welfare recipients, which Oregon
did. They were allowed to introduce a mandatory work rule for
welfare mothers whose youngest child was aged three. However,
little work-related training or transitional support was offered.
The result was that people got jobs but they would drop out and
end up back on welfare. There were substantial financial disincentives
to getting a job, with the loss of food stamps and medical coverage.
TANF paid only 60 per cent of the federal poverty
level. In theory, it included housing costs, but in practice housing
costs were too high. There had been no increase in levels since
1991, with the purchasing power being steadily eroded.
Oregon's JOBS Plus program started in 1994. Already,
by the time of the 1997 TANF reforms, Oregon's welfare rolls were
falling. Between 1995-97, they had achieved savings of $144 million,
rising to $230.3 million in 1997-99 and $256.3 million in the
two years to 2001. Oregon received a block welfare grant, as a
result of the 1997 reforms based on its 1994 caseload. In terms
of expenditure in the Adult and Family Services division, expenditure
on cash assistance through TANF had dropped from 75.5 per cent
of expenditure in the two years 1993-95, to 38.6 per cent in 1999-2001.
Much of the savings had been transferred to supporting people
in job programmes and in work: Employment Related Daycare (ERDC)
had accounted for 9.9 per cent of expenditure in 1993-95, whereas
by 2001 it had risen to 23.2 per cent. Expenditure on support
to people actually in work (of which 60 per cent was childcare)
had risen from 11.5 per cent in 1993-95 to 34.2 per cent by 1999-2001.
Each biannual budget was slightly larger, although the latest,
from 2001-2003 was smaller.
Child poverty had reduced from 13 per cent two years
ago to 11 per cent today, but Mr Neely thought that was not directly
as a result of the state's active labour market policies. The
vast majority of poverty was not to do with receipt of TANF but
affected pensioners and teenagers. A lot of energy had gone into
working with teenage parents and sub-teen parents - requiring
then to attend school or lose benefits, and in giving sex education
starting in middle school.
Employment related daycare was a crucial part to
the results they were achieving in getting families off welfare.
Childcare was paid direct to the provider on a monthly basis.
The parent chose the childcare, which could include informal arrangements.
There had been debates about the inclusion of informal childcare
within the state payment scheme, but this was what parents preferred.
There was regulation, although it tended to concentrate on safety
and child protection, rather than quality. Payment was higher
if informal childminders underwent training. Different rates of
childcare allowance were paid, depending on the type of care given.
Participants in jobs programmes got 100 per cent of their childcare
costs up to a maximum. Once a job started, there was "co-payment"
to the provider, where the state paid less and the worker more
as her earnings increased. The minimum a parent would be asked
to pay was $25 per month per family. At around twice the federal
poverty level, the parent would be paying the whole bill.
Relation between welfare rolls and the labour
There had been little correlation in the past between
welfare caseloads and unemployment rates ie. the wider economy.
This reflected the fact that, in the past, there had been little
connection between work and welfare. In Oregon, even in the recession,
they still had growth in entry level jobs. Some of the most depressed
areas had done best in getting people into work. What had changed
had been the type of jobs available. Until the 70s, Oregon had
depended primarily on lumber for its industry. The 70s and 80s
had seen diversification into hi-tech industries, now in recession.
Oregon's recession had preceded slightly the national recession
and was worse. The state had the highest unemployment in the country.
However, they were still getting people into jobs, although at
a slightly lower rate.
Jobs in Oregon
In Oregon a large proportion of jobs paid between
$7.25 and $10 per hour ie good for entry level jobs. Jobs were
in office work, retail, and service industries. There was then
a gap before jobs advertised paying $15 per hour. The hole between
$10 and $15 per hour jobs was problematic, especially for families
needing a family wage. Employers also tend to hire from within
for the higher paid jobs. Therefore the strategy in Oregon was
to get people into entry level jobs, and concentrate on employers
who give workers a future. The employment programme design therefore
did not end at job entry; it was one element of the whole package
designed to ensure retention and wage progression.
Oregon's employment programmes took the view that
the employment market was the best judge of who was employable.
Everyone entering the welfare to work programmes was required
to test the market first before having access to welfare. Predictions
of who would get jobs were not always accurate.
The role of training
Originally, Oregon had gone for a 'training first'
approach, where people could choose the courses they did and hopefully
would get work at the end. The results were poor in people going
into jobs, and it was also expensive, with people doing one- and
two year courses. An employer survey had showed that employers
preferred to do on-the-job training themselves. They wanted people
who were job-ready - that was, they were reliable; they could
get along with colleagues and work as part of a team; they had
good communication skills and an ability to learn. The people
on welfare tended to be those who were hardest to help; those
who had the soft skills had gone into work. Therefore employment
programmes now concentrated on giving these skills. They had found
that the classroom was not the ideal setting to acquire work-related
skills. People learn faster when placed in a work environment.
A snapshot of participants in Oregon's employment
A snapshot of participants by what component of the
programme they were in showed:
- 5 per cent in 'assessment,' a two-day intensive
assessment of work-readiness, health and family issues and possible
barriers to work. (Assessment accounted for 27 per cent of service
- 35 per cent on TANF with mental or physical issues.
These could include depression, substance abuse, or learning disabilities
(ten per cent of support service expenditure);
- 3 per cent in adult basic education (on TANF)*;
- 4 per cent undergoing classroom training (on
- 12 per cent undergoing work preparation (on TANF);
- 2 per cent doing work search only (on TANF);
- 18 per cent doing work experience (on TANF);
- 20 per cent in work, being supported in work
retention and wage progression (post TANF).
Altogether roughly 38 per cent had "work attachment"
at any one time. Expenditure on work experience accounted for
28 per cent of support service expenditure, and support whilst
in work, a further 14 per cent.
* Jobs of $10 or less required an ability to read
instructions - around 9th grade standards. People were therefore
tested for reading skills at the assessment stage, and sent for
adult basic education if they fell below. There were not big numbers
of people without basic reading skills - despite Oregon having
one of the highest high school drop-out rates. Factors behind
this were thought to be the relevancy of the curriculum; the issue
of parental responsibility; and the high number of homeless young
people (with Oregon acting as a magnet due to its drug tolerance
Oregon's programmes were overwhelmingly aimed at
mothers due to their TANF entitlements. They were trying to develop
the same employment opportunities for non-custodial parents, but
it was very hard to recruit them. The original objective had been
to target fathers not paying child support - to give them the
means to pay. More recently, they had focussed on giving fathers
the means to participate in family life - a more holistic approach.
Reasons suggested for fathers' non-participation were depression,
substance abuse, or learning disabilities. There was limited leverage
in selling the programmes to fathers: they were not on welfare
therefore could not be threatened with withdrawal; and if they
moved into visible employment they would have child maintenance
plus arrears taken directly off their wages.
Sanctions were applied in less than five per cent
of cases. It was a staged process: for the first two months of
non-compliance, $50 per month was deducted. For the next two months,
children's needs only were met. In the fifth month, full family
sanctions were applied. Around one to two per cent of cases reached
this stage. Prior to 1997, Oregon had operated the standard federal
policy of sanctions against the individual only, not the children.
The number of sanctions and the time on sanctions increased. Welfare
recipients adjusted to living on reduced levels. Having full family
sanctions as an ultimate weapon created a climate; it was a clear
message from the state (and one endorsed by all elements including
child protection) that work and self-sufficiency was important.
Oregon did not have a five year cut-off from welfare unlike other
states, having negotiated a waiver based on its success in reducing
the welfare roll by other means. Under TANF reauthorisation, a
Bill before the Senate included a waiver for Oregon enabling it
to postpone welfare cut-off to seven years.
Oregon's minimum wage
Oregon's minimum wage of $6.50 per hour was higher
than the federal level. States wanted the right to choose their
minimum wage. There was no evidence that employers had been effected
Meeting with Ms Kim Freeman and Ms Pamela Murray,
Managers of STEPS to Success Programs at Mount Hood and Portland
Mount Hood and Portland Community Colleges were lead
contractors with the Oregon's Adult and Family Services Division
for the delivery of one of four workforce development pilot schemes
in Oregon. Ms Freeman commented that a positive feature of the
Oregon arrangements was the decision to establish a "lead
contractor" for each geographical service area in the state.
(They had 15 sub-contractors). This meant that they had overall
management responsibility for delivery of the contract. It had
created a good partnership relationship with the Department, with
both bearing risk and responsibility. The arrangement minimised
the risk of fragmentation and buck passing.
Workforce development had been "work in progress"
since around 1988, when they had started with a 'human capital
investment programme'. In that first year they had placed 53 people
in work; in comparison, in 2001 they had placed 5,000. Oregon
had outperformed other states in reducing its welfare caseload.
Originally, in the early days, they had focussed
on clients they saw as most likely to succeed in education or
to get jobs. Clients were in class for 15-20 hours each week.
The programme did not model the world of work. There were no sanctions.
People without a high-school diploma were encouraged to get their
GED; and they ran one to two year college programmes giving training.
Over half of participants failed the college courses.
By 1993-94 they had decided they needed to change.
An examination of employer needs showed that most did not need
staff to have degrees. The colleges switched to offering shorter
courses for longer hours, designed to train people for the entry-level
jobs available. They tried to model the workplace environment.
Essentially, they moved to a labour attachment ('work first')
model, where the aim was to serve employers and to help more people
on the welfare roll - not just the most immediately job-ready.
The re-design involved 40-50 per cent of their staff
engaged in the contract moving into the welfare branches so that
there could be a better connection with the welfare case manager.
They also created training 'hubs'.
At the initial two-day assessment, people with alcohol,
drug and mental health problems were identified. All attendees
undertook a 'SASSI' test (Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory),
designed to identify substance abuse. People could be referred
at this stage for further assessment to decide whether treatment
was necessary. Treatment was compulsory. The assessment process
also allows identification of family issues, for example, a disabled
child or a partner with a substance abuse problem or domestic
violence. There was an attempt to put people in their wider family
context when identifying barriers which needed to be overcome
and suitable job placements. It might not be just the welfare
mother who needed a job, but a partner or grandmother. Having
a disabled child might require a parent to work locally or might
make a community service placement in the nursery where the child
attends a good idea.
Following the initial two-day assessment, for the
first 30-45 days after a claim they worked with clients simply
on jobsearch. People were offered a week's intensive 'workforce
development' training for 35 hours, focusing on job search techniques
including 'cold calling', completing an application and a résumé,
in-work support and assistance, interview skills, work ethics,
goal setting and action plans, and the basics of Microsoft Word
and using the Internet. After that, people were expected to work
from a 'careers centre' on job search, keeping a weekly jobsearch
log. The centres were staffed by community college staff who reviewed
the Job Log and conducted weekly networking classes, where outside
speakers such as recruiters were brought in to discuss what they
looked for, or to give useful advice. At the centre
there was access to computers, newspapers, etc. Students came
in every day and discussed the employer approaches they had made.
They were given new job leads which they then followed up. The
philosophy was that the labour market should first determine whether
people were jobready and employable. Until the economic downturn,
around 80 per cent of people found a job during this period; currently
the figure was down to 60 per cent.
If, at the end of this period the person had not
obtained work, there was a discussion as to why. A series of 'strength
building' options were then available from a menu designed to
suit the individual. People could be engaged in further activity
for anything up to a year. The menu included adult basic education
and GED; English as a Second Language; Jobs Plus (subsidised employment)
and Community Service. In programmes lasting ten weeks, people
spent six weeks learning 'soft skills' and one of four 'clusters'
of technical skills linked to employer needs:
- 'Workplace Basics';
- 'Medical Track';
- 'Office Occupations (including a four-week work
- 'Call Center/Customer Service'. Teen parents
had a special programme linked to completion of their education.
In terms of sticking with people, an individual was
assigned a college member as an adviser to work with both before
and after they got a job - in a way which allowed a relationship
of trust to be established. If people were to lose their jobs,
it tended to happen in the first three months. They were moving
towards a system of intensive engagement for three months, and
up to six months if necessary. Their statistics showed that 18
months after getting a job, 80-85% of people were still in employment.
A fairly new aspect of their work was wage enhancement
and career development. Early on, they stressed to participants
that it was not just about getting a job, it was about thinking
in terms of a career. Advisers worked with people to think about
what skills they needed in order to progress. Advisers would stick
with participants to see if their career plan was working, and
could offer funds to pay for additional training or education.
Visit to East Portland DHS STEPS office
This was an opportunity for the Committee to visit
a site running some of the employment programmes of Portland Community
College. The STEPS office was co-located with the welfare department,
allowing instant liaison and a co-ordinated approach.
The point was made by Karen Krackowiak, the Human
Resource Manager, that the success of the STEPS programme had
to be seen in the wider context of other Oregon policies, notably,
the Oregon Health Plan - which allowed subsidised access to health
care for low paid workers; the extensive subsidy of daycare provision
for people in work; and the fact that welfare levels were low
enough that people were better off in work, even with the minimum
wage (which was higher in Oregon than the federal level).
For people with multiple barriers (their main client
group) the problem was often not so much getting a job as keeping
it. A new class they had developed with funds from DHS was a 'Career
Builders Class' aimed at hard to place people and designed to
help them keep a job. It was an intensive course over a year designed
not only to identify barriers but also strengths. One element
was encouraging participants to "have a dream," then
work with them to provide some realism, for example, getting a
placement in the right environment so that they could perhaps
see the type of job close up. They might have had to take a "survival
job" but they helped people plan a route to better achieve
what they wanted. The goal was to work intensely and holistically
to develop and implement a career ladder which would provide long
term self-sufficiency and independence from welfare.
Additional information given:
- The intensive Work Force Development course given
to new welfare recipients was intended to teach techniques of
jobsearch including "tapping into the hidden jobmarket"
ie jobs not advertised and informal networks, and an introduction
to the STEPS website www.steps-2-success.org where jobs were posted.
Staff worked with participants and produced résumés
for them, giving each client a disc.
- The module 'Balancing work and family', given
as part of the Workplace Basics programme stressed the need for
parents to have second and third back-up systems for childcare.
The message was that they should not expect employers to accommodate
their childcare arrangements. Childcare was mostly available
during the day; people working outside normal work hours faced
more difficulty. Children with special needs did get an extra
Thursday 20 June
Dr Sylvia Mundy, Commissioner of the Employment
Security Department, Washington State
The common theme of state employment initiatives
A Committee of Employers had recently been formed.
Both federal and state resources were used in Community Colleges.
There were 12 workforce development areas, 25 one-stop shops with
38 affiliates linked electronically.
There were 350,000 clients of whom 200,000 had found
jobs. Access could be by phone or internet as well as personal
interview. A "mystery shopper" approach to check on
service delivery would start shortly.
Mr Jim Shober, Deputy Assistant Commissioner
for Washington WorkFirst
Mr Jim Shober, Deputy Assistant Commissoner for WorkFirst
in the Employment Security Department introduced the session.
WorkFirst was Washington State's welfare-to-work
strategy. Key goals were helping people move from welfare to work;
retention of those people in work; and encouraging wage progression
through moving up a career ladder. Washington initiated the WorkFirst
programme in 1997. A key element was partnership. Partners included
the Employment Security Department and the 'Worksource' system
as a whole (of which, WorkFirst was a subset); the Department
of Social and Health Services; the State Board for Community and
Technical Colleges and the Office of Trade and Economic Development.
Work was co-ordinated by a member of the Governors's Office, and
representatives from each Department met weekly. The overriding
principle was that work was the best means out of poverty.
They had concluded that training on its own was not
enough to get low-income families into work. Clients needed to
develop a strong attachment to the labour market. Therefore training
had to be in that context. As a result, they had developed customised
training with employment opportunities at the end of it; the expectation
of work was upfront. The State was also concerned to give former
welfare recipients the opportunity to go to college whilst in
work. Colleges now ran courses in the evenings and at week-ends,
with childcare provided.
Childcare: more money was now spent on childcare
than allowances for people on welfare. Childcare funding was income-related,
tapering away as income rose. Unlike Oregon, they did not pay
for informal childcare arrangements. They insisted on licensed
childcare for insurance liability purposes. Mr Shober thought
there probably was enough childcare, although advocates would
argue differently. His view was that there was no evidence that
scarcity was a problem. Part of the State's job was to facilitate
the start-up of childcare places and to train childcare staff.
This was done via the colleges, with initiatives to give education
to childcare workers so that they could get licensed. There were
also grants and loans available and training in small business
administration to assist people to set up in business doing childcare.
Formerly, there had been a sharp cut-off of support
when people left welfare for work - financially and in terms of
the loss of fringe benefits such as free health care. Now, for
every dollar earned, the State subsidised by fifty cents: half
their earnings were not counted as income against cash assistance.
Medical care was paid for up to a year after starting work for
adults, and indefinitely for children on low income. The State
also supported a general basic medical health service.
Pre 1997, the welfare rolls were steadily increasing.
As a result of WorkFirst, rolls dropped from 97,000 to 37,000
by the start of the recession. In the previous month, 1,500 clients
alone went off welfare. The unemployment rate in Washington was
currently around 7.1 per cent. However, there was no direct relation
between the numbers on welfare and unemployment rates. They had
found that, even in a recession, there were lots of entry-level
jobs. One effect of the recession was that they had tightened
the work search requirements for welfare recipients. People were
required to sign in every day and to make 15 employer contacts
per week. Staff were expected to greet clients and offer them
job referrals. This compared to people receiving unemployment
insurance, who were only required to make five employer contacts
The welfare population, unsurprisingly was mostly
female (85 per cent). By definition they had dependent children.
The system also included around 30,000 'looked after' children
(ie being looked after by people other than their parents), where
welfare was paid for them alone. Thirty per cent of recipients
had limited English.
Sanctions: In Washington there was no five year cut-off.
Sanctions were graded - first two weeks, then four, then eight
weeks. The maximum sanction was 40 per cent of the grant indefinitely.
Mr Shober's considered view was that sanctions were not really
needed. They were there more for the staff's benefit, to make
them feel that they could have an ultimate sanction. His view,
based on experience, was that the vast majority of people really
wanted to work.
Services provided to WorkFirst participants included:
- assistance finding work, indentifying career
goals, and staying on the job;
- help paying childcare whilst participants looked
for jobs, received training or were working;
- short-term, customised training to prepare participants
for specific occupations and free tuition whilst participants
- paid, temporary jobs that prepared the hardest-to-employ
participants for permanent, unsubsidised work;
- extensive support services to overcome obstacles,
including funding for transport, work clothing, professional fees
- intensive support for the toughest cases including
families who had been on welfare for three years, resisted participation,
or who required special intervention; and
- continuing contact with WorkFirst staff once
in work to keep participants in touch with the services available
to keep them employed and moving ahead. Research showed that participants
who received post-employment services had higher rates of employment
and higher earnings and worked more hours.
Mr Gary Jackson, International Association
of Machinists Union, Boeing
The quality of life was important to youth, but there
was now no long-term job security.
The Union had introduced various training programmes
starting in 1989 with Health and Safety. The Quality Through Training
Programme covered members of the Machinists Union. It received
$14m of state funding with the possibility of carry over.
The programme was aimed at career and personal development,
industry based IT skills and English. Up to $2,000 per annum was
paid for tuition fees.
Boeing had experienced 30,000 lay-offs of whom approximately
20,000 were in Washington State. A Re-employment Programme had
Ms Annette Copeland, Assistant Commissioner
for Unemployment Insurance
Overview of the System
Unemployment Insurance (UI) was another partner serving
Full partner in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
Income support for those unemployed through no fault
of their own
In the United States, UI was an insurance premium
paid by employers.
- Nothing appropriated out of general revenues
- No tax taken from worker paychecks
- An employer's tax rate was calculated each year,
the rate was dependent on that employer's experience using benefits
- this means the amount of benefits paid to that employer's former
employees and the economy. (Most employers pay a set insurance
tax on all their workers, no matter how much or how little those
workers may use UI benefits.)
- Some employers reimburse the system for all benefits
paid out to their workers.
It was a federal/state system administered by the
US Department of Labor. (Similar to Parliament and local governments.)
- Federal law provides some oversight and eligibility
- US Department of Labor provides many of the programme's
- Otherwise, states had great flexibility regarding
service and eligibility.
UI Benefits were only a piece of the puzzle:
- Provide a simple income support (intended to
replace half of a person's wage).
- Not needs-tested (not just for low income workers).
- No health insurance included.
- Not intended to last forever. Typically never
more than six months (in WA State, seven months maximum).
Amount of benefits:
- High enough to survive, low enough to be an incentive
to get back to work!
- Should be a corollary to prior earnings (50%
of wages replaced).
- Recent work experience required (within last
- Minimum WBA: National average $42, WA State $106
(highest), 16 states had a minimum WBA of $30 or less (as low
as $5 per week).
UI paid ONLY to workers who were unemployed through
no fault of their own:
- Not working due to lack of work or redundancy.
- Quit work but with good cause.
- Fired from work but not for misconduct at work.
- Indirectly involved in a strike or lockout.
Situations that would pay or deny benefits vary from
state to state:
- Family responsibilities
- Illness of a worker or a family member.
- Criminal misconduct connected to work.
- Dependents - extra payment for children.
- Leaving work to escape domestic violence.
- Pay or not pay benefits to seasonal workers during
their regular season.
In all states:
- Must be able to work and available to take a
job immediately if asked.
- Must seek work
- Re-employment Services at the WorkSource One
- Work Search was verified
- Benefits were reduced by certain income.
- Earnings from work
- Some pensions
- Sometimes dismissal payments
- No deduction for non-earned income
- Some denials were universal:
- Professional athletes during the off season
if contracted for following season
- Illegal immigrants
- School employees - during school breaks
- Must make whatever work search that is customary
for their occupation:
- Referral Union Members - check in with hiring
- Employer-attached - not seek work but available
to return to work ASAP.
- Dislocated/Redundant Worker - may include retraining/relocation.
- There were penalties for lying and cheating (misrepresentation
- Each decision to allow or deny benefits can be
appealed by the claimant or by the affected employer.
- Up to 30 times the weekly benefit amount in any
one year period. (All states maximum was 26 times the WBA except
WA and Massachusetts)
- Average duration
Additional Benefits Programmes and Training Benefits
Additional benefits available under certain circumstances:
- During periods of high unemployment:
- Extended Benefits: up to 13 weeks if state's
unemployed rate was high.
- TEUC: 13 weeks and 13 more! Ends 28 December
- State additional benefits: states had flexibility
to set up state-funded additional benefits payment programs for
periods of high unemployment or for other reasons when the state
- Worker retraining:
- Federal programs include TRA, National Emergency
Grants, and NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Act).
- TRA: As part of the Trade Act of 1974, a federal
program called Trade Readjustment Assistance pays up to an extra
year of benefits to redundant workers who were in retraining.
The USDOL must certify that the business and its workers were
adversely affected by trade imports or exports.
- NEG: National Emergency Grants were also available
to redundant workers affected by a structural dislocation.
- State programmes:
Training Benefits: Many states had state-funded additional
benefits for unemployed persons who need retraining in order to
get a job. Washington's Training Benefits pay about six months
more benefits to most dislocated workers, with up to 52 extra
weeks for aerospace workers.
Other Economic Recovery Tool
- 17 states had "workshare" programmes
that were very useful during downturns in the economy.
- An employer who applies for 'Shared Work' can
keep their employees working at reduced hours instead of letting
- The employee receives partial wages, and partial
- The plan must be agreed to by the employer, the
union and the worker.
- The employer must continue to cover their workers
for fringe benefits such as health care.
- This way, the employer keeps a skilled workforce,
and the employee receives a better wage replacement than if they
were totally unemployed and does not need to seek other work.
- Shared work benefits were paid based on the proportion
of work lost. One day off, for example, would pay 'Shared Work'
benefits of one-fifth the regular weeks benefit amount. The standard
deduction for earnings would not have allowed any payment in this
Visit to Seattle Jobs Initiative, South Seattle
Community College site
The Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) linked lowincome
residents to living wage jobs. SJI clients were not just former
welfare recipients. They included a wider group facing many barriers
to employment including unstable work histories, homelessness,
criminal backgrounds, drug/alcohol backgrounds, mental health
concerns, limited English proficiency, immigrant/refugee status,
welfare status, and others. SJI provided training in three major
career areas: office occupations, welding/manufacturing, and high
tech (web development/design). SJI was funded with support from
the Annie E Casey Foundation, the City of Seattle and other Seattle
companies and foundations. Since 1997, SJI had produced the follow
- placed 2,700 low income residents in jobs;
- the average wage at placement was $9.75 per hour;
- at one year, 60 per cent of the those placed
in jobs had been retained on the job; and
- at one year, 41 per cent reported a wage increase
to an average of $13.02 per hour.
The Annie E Casey Foundation (AECF)
The Annie E Casey Foundation (AECF) was initially
focussed on children and poverty. In 1995, AECF decided to extend
its focus to parents hence the Jobs Initiative. AECF visited
15 cities and in 1996 awarded the Jobs Initiative to Seattle and
five other cities, each with very different types of local economy.
The recipient in each city was different too: the city government
in Seattle; a communitybased organisation (CBO) in Milwaukee
and New Orleans; a community development corporation (CDC) in
Philadelphia; a regional transit authority in St Louis; and a
local foundation (Piton) in Denver (which was no longer taking
part in the initiative). Each city won a sevenyear grant
of $750,000 a year in return, each had to raise at least
$250,000 a year.
In Seattle, the then Mayor of Seattle, Norm Rice
committed $5 million a year to the Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI)
dwarfing the funding in the other five cities. Rice and
the SJI were in large part an attempt to offset the effects of
Clinton's welfare reforms. The 1995 Personal Responsibility Act
imposed a fiveyear time limit on welfare recipients' benefits
and many, including Rice, thought it and the WorkFirst scheme
would result in welfare claimants being forced to move to lowpaid
jobs with little or no training. He seized on SJI, which aimed
to provide clients with proper training, holistic support and
Under the current Mayor, Paul Schell, City funding
fell to $3.4 million in FY 2001-02, but
the current total of $4.15 million was still much
more than in any of the other five cities. Another unique feature
of SJI was its close links to the City government. Because SJI
was run out of the City's Office of Economic Development, it had
direct access to the City's social services and other departments.
This had allowed SJI to provide holistic support to trainees (e.g.,
help with housing, childcare and transport costs). In addition,
each trainee was entitled to a grant of up to $3,000 each from
the staterun Career Investment Fund.
Seattle was culturally and ethnically diverse. Of
SJI participants, 74 per cent were people of colour, and many
had English as their second language. Although Microsoft loomed
large and the hitech industry was prominent, Seattle was
not a oneindustry town. The cost of living was very high.
SJI operated out of a newbuild, multioccupancy
office building in the International district of Seattle. The
15 fulltime staff were all employees of the City's Office
of Economic Development. SJI was an intermediary organisation
that aims to bring together a whole range of delivery agencies.
It operated a decentralised model, contracting out the recruitment,
enrolment, programme delivery and monitoring to a number of communitybased
organisations (CBOs), consultants and colleges, whilst operating
in partnership keeping partners to the core mission of getting
- CBOs included the YWCA, Asian Counselling and
Referral Service and the Center for Career Alternatives. Each
CBO had a case manager, responsible for a wide range of outcomes,
including recruiting and enrolling clients; and dealing with clients'
housing, transport and childcare needs. CBOs were paid an initial
base fee, plus milestone payments depending on results. It was
the CBOs who did the assessment of clients and provided a standard
20 hour course of job readiness training. They also identified
client's readiness for further sectoral training, based partly
on resolving transport/income/housing problems.
- Consultants were brought in for example as business
liaison officers and soft skills supervisors.
- SJI used Seattle's three community colleges as
the centre for its programmes.
SJI had four core values:
- Longterm retention
trainees were placed in sustainable jobs and tracked for
2 years after placement.
- Living wage jobs
the average wage for SJI jobs was $912 per hour (plus benefits),
well above the minimum wage of $6.75.
- Human service integration
SJI provided a holistic programme of support for trainees,
including help with childcare, housing and transport (drawing
on their strong links with the City government).
- Dual customer focus
SJI focussed on the needs of the employer as well as the
SJI first got off the ground in 1997 with its "Individual
Placements" scheme which was by far the largest of
all the SJI programmes. SJI contracted with a number of communitybased
organisations (CBOs) to provide career advice, support and soft
skill training to skilled and unskilled individuals who wanted
a job relatively quickly (within 23 months), without having
to go through lots of training. Since then 1,393 clients had completed
the scheme 1,150 of which had stayed in their job for at
least three months; 932 for at least six months; and 653 for at
least 12 months.
As the scheme went on, however, it became more difficult
to place people in this relatively cheap and quick way. So SJI
started to adopt a sectoral approach.
SJI commissioned the local economy, to find out where
the available jobs were. They came up with four sectors: office
occupations, manufacturing (especially welding and printing),
autos and healthcare.
Between 199699, SJI prepared the ground for
delivering training programmes in these four sectors, through
capacity building, research and programme design. They finally
decided to run three programmes: office occupations, welding &
light industries and hitech (autos and healthcare were both
abandoned early on). Each sector programme had employer boards
to ensure that students developed good competencies, accepted
by the industry. In the hi-tech option, the downturn had led to
encouragement to students to branch out into other jobs apart
from web design, such as software testing.
Participants underwent an assessment at a college
of their reading/writing/maths/computer/typing skills. If they
were suitable, they had a two day orientation course followed
by 22 weeks hard skills training. The courses all involved at
least five hours soft skills training per week as well as coaching
in basic work expectations such as dress and punctuality. Each
client has a case manager, a training supervisor and training
instructor. There was a teamwork environment, with staff jointly
evaluating students at intervals. At the end, SJI employment brokers
worked intensively with students in interview techniques before
the arrangement of three month internships with employers. Their
job was to both sell the programme to employers (and be an advocate
for individual students) and to teach students how to interview.
The programmes were geared to meeting employers' needs; there
was no attempt to get employers to lower their standards, just
to consider hiring differently. Some internships were paid; in
others, participants were able to obtain a credit towards a college
associate degree. Students were also given a further three weeks
jobsearch training, three hours a day, three days a week. They
were entitled to job placement assistance and job retention support
for two years.
People survived financially whilst doing the training
in a variety of ways. They might be eligible for federal financial
aid, they could be getting unemployment benefit, food stamps,
working part-time, supported by a partner, or have money from
the career investment fund accessed by a case worker.
SJI representatives at the college told us that they
had also chosen to focus on a wider mission of systems reform
for example, trying to change the way community colleges
deliver their training. Mr Martin Grothe, Dean of Professional
and Technical Services at South Seattle Community College said
that the SJI programme had implications for the college more generally.
Unlike its other courses, the SJI programmes ran from 8am to 5pm
five days per week; there were no vacations; and "wrap-around"
services to students gave them support. The SJI initiative was
also different in its connectedness to employers and the aggressive
hard-sell of participants in the labour market. The SJI programmes
were not cheap, but they did compress into 22 weeks the equivalent
of what would be a normal year's college course. On this basis,
they compared well on cost.