Examines coordination efforts between Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Workforce Investment Act employment programs at state and local levels.

“The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs provide employment and training services to a targeted population of low-income individuals. The similarities between the TANF and WIA programs have generated interest in the coordination and integration of services across the two programs since their inception in the late 1990s. Nonetheless, it remains unclear how and to what degree the programs are coordinating at the state and local level. The Study of TANF/WIA Coordination, initiated in 2011 by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, explored the supports, strategies, and considerations that influence coordination within selected locations across the country” (p.xi).

This study uses interviews “with state and local respondents in 8 states and 11 localities between February 2012 and May 2013. The findings describe 12 strategies for TANF/WIA coordination that are in use in the study sites and that other locations may choose to replicate. The strategies fall under six program components including: (1) administration and management; (2) funding; (3) policies and procedures; (4) program missions and knowledge; (5) services for customers; and (6) accountability and performance measurement” (p.xi).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Overall, the TANF and WIA programs are generally parallel operating programs with varying levels of coordination across specific strategies. No site is highly coordinated across all 12 strategies, but a few sites achieve mostly high to moderate levels of coordination across the strategies. Some sites are intentional in their approach to increasing the level of coordination between the two programs. Other sites do not place an emphasis on TANF/WIA coordination, although, by their nature, some strategies give rise to such coordination. Given that WIA legislation requires service delivery within the structure of American Job Centers (AJCs), the TANF program must find ways to fit into that structure (if it chooses to do so); the WIA program must also be willing to accommodate the service needs of low-income, low-skilled individuals. Coordination above a base level for most, if not all, strategies requires co-location of program services within the AJCs. The extent of coordination may fluctuate with the policy and funding environment or with the willingness of administrators to take risks in service delivery innovation or performance measurement” (p.xi). (Abstractor: Author)