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What Works in Work-First Welfare

Designing and Managing Employment Programs in New York City

Andrew R. Feldman

Publication Year: 2011

Feldman presents a case study of how New York City's welfare-to-work programs were managed and implemented in the mid-2000s. It is a performance analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the operations and performance of 26 nonprofit and for-profit welfare-to-work programs. The book draws on individual-level data on more than 14,000 participants, and the use of nonsystematic assignment of clients creates a natural experiment that assists in comparing program performance.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Dedication

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

The idea for this book came from Bryna Sanger of the Milano New School for Management and Urban Policy, whom I contacted after reading her book The Welfare Marketplace. After explaining my research interest in the intersection of poverty policy and public management, she suggested that I focus...

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Foreword

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pp. xv-xix

In October 2004, Andy Feldman began doing the fieldwork for this book in the welfare-to-work programs of New York City. The welfare system in New York City, as in the nation as a whole, was in the midst of a massive transformation. The 1996 federal welfare reform legislation had promised to...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-17

This book is a case study of how New York City’s welfare-to-work programs were managed and implemented in the mid 2000s. New York City’s welfare system is unique in many ways, so the results may or may not be generalizable to other cities. Even so, the case study is intended...

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2. Welfare to Work in New York City

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pp. 19-29

New York City’s welfare system is one of the most interesting and important welfare systems in the nation. Although it shares a work-first emphasis with practically every other state and local welfare system today, it also has several unique features, as described in the...

Part 1. Shared Strategic Elements among Work-First Employment Programs

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pp. 31-

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3. Creating a Spirit of Partnership

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pp. 33-42

The first common element among today’s welfare-to-work programs, judging from the range of programs in New York City, is what I call “creating a spirit of partnership.” It involves staff working to develop productive working relationships with new participants. This...

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4. Getting Participants Job Ready

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pp. 43-50

Helping participants become “job ready” is a second common element of work-first employment programs’ service strategies. In particular, based on the operations of providers in New York City, programs work with participants to prepare them for job interviews and to discuss...

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5. Making Good Job Matches

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pp. 51-59

The third common element in New York City’s work-first employment program is the focus on making good job matches between participants and employers. That is, once participants are deemed employment ready by the staff, programs attempt to match them with appropriate jobs...

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6. Promoting Job Retention

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pp. 61-66

Providing postplacement services to help people stay working once they become employed is the fourth and final common element among today’s work-first programs in New York City. These services typically involve keeping in touch with participants to offer support and encouragement...

Part 2. Differences in Organizational Practices among Work-First Employment Programs

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pp. 67-

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7. Different Practices among Programs

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pp. 69-88

Although work-first employment programs share several common elements, important differences exist as well. This chapter explores four of the most evident differences among welfare-to-work programs in New York City. These differences include the extent to which programs...

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8. Different Practices among Program Types

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pp. 89-102

Another useful way of exploring the main differences between today’s work-first employment programs is to look across organizational types. For example, in what ways do nonprofit and for-profit programs differ in their service strategies? Do programs that are compensated...

Part 3. Explaining Performance Differences among Work-First Employment Programs

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pp. 103-

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9. What Works within Work-First?

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pp. 105-117

The last two chapters described the main differences in strategy and structure among the 26 work-first employment programs in New York City. Now we turn to the subject of effectiveness. Which of those organizational differences helps explain performance differences among programs...

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10. Nonprofits and For-Profits: A Closer Look

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pp. 119-127

As we have seen, the six for-profit and 20 nonprofit work-first employment programs in New York City use somewhat different practices. On average, for-profits are more focused on quick placement, and they use less job training and case management. Moreover, performance...

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11. The Role of Management and Leadership

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pp. 129-138

Decisions about which organizational practices to use can significantly affect the performance of work-first employment programs, as we saw in Chapter 9. This fact in itself underscores the importance of management. After all, a key aspect of management (or leadership, if...

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12. Why Programs Choose Suboptimal Practices

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pp. 139-144

The findings from New York City suggest that the service strategies of work-first employment programs have important consequences on their outcomes. For example, as shown in Chapter 9, the estimated combined effect of using less short-term job training, becoming...

Appendix A. Methodology

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pp. 145-152

Appendix B. Using Guided Job Search

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pp. 153-156

Appendix C. Chapter 9 Regression Results

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pp. 157-164

References

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pp. 165-169

The Author

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pp. 171-

Index

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pp. 173-182

About the Institute

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pp. 183-


E-ISBN-13: 9780880994019
E-ISBN-10: 0880994010
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880993753
Print-ISBN-10: 0880993758

Page Count: 183
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Manpower policy -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social policy.
  • Public welfare -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Employees -- Recruiting -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Leadership -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Personnel management -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Local officials and employees.
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