Improving the Coordination and Performance of Government Programs for Disadvantaged Job Seekers

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Federal and state officials who administer two government programs serving low-income and other disadvantaged job seekers—Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)—are looking for ways to serve clients better while encouraging accountability, increasing service coordination, and ultimately, improving performance.

The Work Participation and TANF/WIA Coordination project seeks to improve program coordination between TANF and WIA. The primary focus of the study is to (1) uncover the reasons for client work participation and non-participation; (2) document states’ past uses of federal TANF funds; and (3) identify lessons to be learned from state and local efforts to coordinate TANF and WIA services and more effectively and efficiently serve disadvantaged job seekers. Through this study, Mathematica is documenting strategies for increasing client engagement in federal- and state-defined work activities and highlights promising practices in TANF/WIA coordination.

Data collection activities include telephone conference calls with up to 30 TANF administrators and staff for the work participation component. Our work also includes a technical work group (TANF/WIA coordination focused), in‑depth site visits in eight communities, and telephone conference calls with state TANF and WIA program administrators in the site visit states.