Exploring Welfare-to-Work Challenges in Five Metropolitan Regions

Report by Margery Austin Turner, Mark Rubin, Michelle DeLair
June 1999

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

As the work requirements and time limits of welfare reform go into effect around the country, decisionmakers need reliable information at a local scale about the opportunities and challenges confronting welfare-recipients as they attempt to find jobs and achieve economic independence. This report presents a cross-site 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.