Exploring Welfare-to-Work Challenges
As work requirements and time limits of welfare reform went into effect around the country, decisionmakers needed reliable information at a local scale about the opportunities and challenges confronting welfare-recipients as they attempted to find jobs and achieve economic independence. This report, the first cross-site study to take advantage of local data from NNIP partners, presents an analysis based on data from five metropolitan areas. The characteristics and geographic distribution of city welfare recipients are compared to the skill requirements and geographic distribution of employment opportunities regionwide. Differences between these five sites illustrate why welfare-to-work strategies must be "customized" to the local geography, strengthening the information and transportation linkages between areas of entry-level employment and the neighborhoods where welfare recipients are located.
This report would not have been possible without the contributions of individual NNIP partners. In particular, David Sawicki of the Atlanta Project, Neil Bania of the Center for Urban Poverty and Social Change, Terry Bailey of the Piton Foundation, Cheryl Taylor of the Urban Strategies Council, and Jim Vandermillen of the Providence Plan all participated in the design of the crosssite analysis, provided essential data, and reviewed. The analysis was modeled off of the 1999 Case Western University analysis by Claudia Coulton, Laura Leete, and Neil Bania titled "Housing, Transportation, and Access to Suburban Jobs by Welfare Recipients in the Cleveland Area."