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Job Search Assistance Strategies Evaluation Presentation for American Public Human Services Association February 25, 2014. Discussion Goals. Introduce the importance of understanding effective job search assistance ( JSA ) strategies Describe the components of JSA programs

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Job Search Assistance Strategies Evaluation

Presentation for American Public Human Services Association

February 25, 2014


Discussion goals
Discussion Goals

  • Introduce the importance of understanding effective job search assistance (JSA) strategies

  • Describe the components of JSA programs

  • Summarize what we know from existing research on JSA

  • Identify research gaps

  • Describe the JSA evaluation and how states might participate


Importance of understanding jsa
Importance of Understanding JSA

  • JSA services are central to TANFprograms but little is known about what works best

  • Past rigorous studies show positive effects for JSA services when provided as part of welfare-to-work activities, but studies are dated

    • Type and duration of JSA that are most effective

    • Job search in a changing and recovering economic environment

    • How technology has created both opportunities and challenges for the job search process


Components of jsa programs
Components of JSA Programs

  • Assessment

  • Self-directed job search

  • Group job search activities

  • One-on-one counseling

  • “Life skills”/resilience training

  • Job development/job matching


Discussion questions
Discussion Questions

  • What types of JSA strategies do you use in your program?

  • What types of strategies would you like to expand or include?


What do we know about jsa
What Do We Know about JSA?

  • JSA is effective at speeding entry into work

  • The impacts from JSA are modest. It mostly increases the speed at which people find jobs, rather than affecting the quality of jobs they attain

  • Some evidence that mandatory JSA (and the use of sanctions) lead primarily to reductions in cash assistance, with weaker impacts on earnings

  • More intensive and more personalized JSA programs do not have clearly better outcomes


Discussion questions1
Discussion Questions

  • What do you know about your current JSA program?

  • What would you like to know?


Research objectives
Research Objectives

  • High priority study to determine “what works” in providing job search assistance to TANF recipients.

  • Study will examine the impact of JSA program approaches TANF recipients’ short-term employment and earnings, and potentially job quality and receipt of public assistance

  • Results will be of great operational value to all states, but especially those that participate


Study team
Study Team

  • Sponsored by Administration for Children and Families, conducted by Abt Associates and Mathematica Policy Research

  • APHSA, Rockefeller Institute of Government, Russell Sykes Consulting, and Don Winstead Consulting are also partners


Study approach
Study Approach

  • Evaluation Design:

    • Impact study will randomly assign individuals to contrasting JSA approaches and then compare employment and earnings

    • Implementation study will examine services received under each approach, and provide operational lessons

  • Sites:

    • Large samples are needed

    • Looking to implement the same JSA tests in multiple states/localities

  • Current activities:

    • Determining what JSA approaches should be tested

    • Identifying potential sites to participate in the evaluation


Key tasks and project timeline
Key Tasks and Project Timeline

Knowledge Development/Site Selection

Random Assignment & Monitoring

Implementation Study

Impact Study Data Collection & Analysis


Identifying jsa models to test
Identifying JSA Models to Test

  • Key factors to consider

    • Creating policy-relevant tests of interest to ACF, the policy community, and the field

    • Feasibility of implementing different JSA interventions within a single TANF agency

    • Feasibility of consistent implementation of treatment condition across various offices and sites

  • Focus on identifying common approaches as well as contrasts that are most relevant to the field

  • Goal is develop tests of different JSA approaches; there is no “no-service” control group


Examples of what could be studied
Examples of What Could be Studied

  • TANF applicant JSA

  • Self-directed JSA vs. group JSA

  • Self-directed JSA vs. one-on-one guided JSA

  • “Life skills” training

  • Job development services


Participating in the study
Participating in the Study

  • Excellent opportunity to test an approach to JSA that you might not otherwise be able to consider

  • Site could be a state or individual localities

  • Participating locations will continue to implement their existing JSA program, but will modify or adopt a contrasting strategy and randomly assign individuals to different approaches

  • Evaluation team will work to minimize disruption to current operations and provide guidance and support

  • Financial payments to offset research-related costs


Next steps
Next Steps

  • Conference calls with interested states/localities to:

    • Understand what you think is most important to learn from the evaluation

    • Discuss potential participation in the study

  • Develop tests and sites over the next several months, with the goal of implementing random assignment in early 2015

  • Please contact us if you are interested in learning more!


Discussion questions2
Discussion Questions

  • What JSA approaches would you be most interested in learning about as part of this evaluation?

  • What is important for us to know from you (those operating these programs) about conducting this evaluation?


Key contacts
Key Contacts

  • Karin Martinson, Project Director, [email protected]

  • Michelle Derr, Co-Principal Investigator [email protected]

  • Cynthia Woodside, APHSA, [email protected]

  • Rachel Cook, Deputy Project Director, [email protected]


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