Leaving Welfare and Joining the Labor Force: Does Job Training Help?
Beginning in 1999, New York City enrolled the majority of its welfare recipients in the Employment Services and Placement (ESP) job training program. Participants spent 14 hours a week in the ESP program, focusing primarily on skills such as resume writing and interviewing.
A 2006 University of Santa Clara study, “Leaving Welfare and Joining the Labor Force: Does Job Training Help? Evidence from an Innovative Intervention in New York City,” looked at how program participants fared compared to those who did not participate.
The study found that:
- Eight months after treatment, those enrolled in the program were twice as likely to be employed.
- Participation increased the likelihood of beginning a job by 13%.
- The likelihood of participants permanently exiting welfare increased by at least 8%.
- The fiscal benefits outweigh the program costs even with only 40% of participants remaining off welfare for more than a year.
Read the issue-related New York Times article titled "Welfare Rolls Grow in City, but Increase Is Modest."
- If you were to rewrite the article based on knowledge of the University of Santa Clara study, what key changes would you make?
Read the full University of Santa Clara study titled "Leaving Welfare and Joining the Labor Force: Does Job Training Help? Evidence from an Innovative Intervention in New York City."
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.