Case Study of an Employment Program for Youth and Services for Families: Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County

Case Study of an Employment Program for Youth and Services for Families: Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County

Published: Sep 02, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
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Associated Project

State Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Case Studies

Time frame: 2018-2021

Prepared for:

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

Key Findings
  • CAO’s main approach to helping people with low incomes find jobs is to provide wraparound supports to help them prepare for and engage in work.
  • CAO’s primary services examined in this case study are (1) the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP), which provides eligible youth ages 14 to 24 with work experience and support services such as financial incentives and career counseling, and (2) the behavioral health unit, which provides counseling and supportive services to youth and adults who have experienced trauma, substance use disorders, and mental health challenges.
  • Key program practices include assessing youth at intake and offering incentives to encourage their participation, providing intensive case management and referrals to necessary services, and offering trauma-informed counseling to school-age youth.

This case study describes the Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County, a community hub for numerous services designed for people from low-income households. This case study focuses on CAO’s employment and workforce services—two in particular: the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) for youth, and a behavioral health unit that serves youth and adults. CAO is one of 48 community action agencies in the state of Ohio and one of the few that provide employment and workforce development services.

This case study is part of the State TANF Case Studies project, which is designed to expand the knowledge base on innovative approaches to help people with low incomes, including TANF recipients, prepare for and engage in work and increase their overall stability. Mathematica and its subcontractor, MEF Associates, were contracted by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to develop descriptive case studies of nine innovative state and local programs. The programs were chosen through a scan of the field and discussions with stakeholders. TANF practitioners and staff of other programs can learn about innovative practices through the case studies. The studies also can expand policymakers’ and researchers’ understanding of programs that support people’s success in work and highlight innovative practices to explore in future research.

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