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Evaluating WorkFirst: Analyses of Cost-Effectiveness, Barriers to Employment, and Job Search Services

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Steve Lerch, Jim Mayfield, Mason Burley - June 2000

This study examines three questions about the Washington State WorkFirst program: Is TANF cost-effective, are WorkFirst clients becoming harder to employ, and does participating in WorkFirst Job Search improve employment outcomes? The analyses support the following conclusions: 1) When compared with AFDC, the government spends more per TANF household. Under TANF, however, fewer clients use welfare, and overall welfare costs are less.  2) According to four specific factors that impact employment, clients on the caseload in February 2000 were no harder to employ than clients on the caseload when WorkFirst began in August 1997.  3) For those with no recent work experience, job search increases employment rates. Results for clients with a recent work history are mixed. WorkFirst replaced AFDC as the state’s welfare program in 1997.

Report ID: 00-06-3301

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