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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,
  • Michelle Derr, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Cynthia Woodside, APHSA,
  • Rachel Cook, Deputy Project Director,