Expert Commentary

Leaving welfare and joining the labor force: Does job training help?

2006 University of Santa Clara study on the effectiveness of New York City's Employment Services and Placement job training program for welfare recipients.

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.

Tags: training

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