“To escape poverty, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients need good jobs that are growing, are in demand, and provide self-sufficient wages. However, it is often a challenge to connect TANF recipients and other low-income families with these good jobs. Many good jobs require training, education, and credentials beyond the high school level, which most TANF recipients and similar low-income families lack. In addition, without the right tools and resources, it can be difficult to determine which jobs are growing, are in demand, and pay self-sufficient wages.
[Nonetheless], many resources are available, especially from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), to help programs and frontline staff. These resources can be used to locate good jobs in their geographic area, match clients’ skills and interests to those good jobs, and identify additional education and training clients may require. However, agencies serving TANF recipients, administrators, and direct service staff may be unaware of these resources and how to use them, especially if they are not connected to workforce service providers. The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which makes TANF a required partner for the workforce system, provides an opportunity to increase awareness of these resources and catalyze cross-agency collaboration in using these resources.
To help bridge this gap between TANF and the workforce system, [in 2015] Mathematica conducted a resource scan and identified, examined, and catalogued resources that state and local TANF agencies can use to help connect TANF recipients and other low-income families with good jobs. [The authors] gathered information from a broad range of resources, including research studies, technical assistance tools, client assessments, and data sets....
This resource guide contains a summary overview and appendix tables. The overview highlights the key resources [the authors] identified, and the appendix tables catalogue them. This overview discusses the types of resources [the authors] identified and why TANF agencies should consider using them, the potential uses of the resource guide, and how various audiences, including TANF administrators and policymakers, direct service staff, and researchers, may benefit” (p.4).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“[The authors] identified three types of resources that TANF administrators and frontline staff could use to help connect TANF recipients and other low-income families with good jobs: (1) career exploration and assessment tools to explore career opportunities that match clients’ skills, abilities, and interests; (2) tools and information on career pathways and sector strategies to create new initiatives; and (3) information on the local economy and job market (labor market information [LMI]) to identify growing jobs with self-sufficient wages” (p.5). “[The authors]…organized these resources into four resource area appendices that [they] briefly describe [and]….Each includes a summary table, as well as a detailed description table with more information on each resource and where it can be found. • Research Studies (Appendix C). This appendix highlights 45 reports that can be used to learn about promising and evidence-based practices. The studies focus on such topics as career pathways initiatives, sector-based jobs, and adult basic education and skills. The types of analyses used in the studies include literature reviews, descriptive data analysis, implementation case studies, impact analysis, and practitioner guides. • Technical Assistance Resources (Appendix D). This appendix highlights 49 resources in LMI, career pathways/sector strategies, and career exploration. These resources can be used, for example, to train staff on how to use LMI, connect with other practitioners creating career pathways initiatives, or explore careers with low-income families…. • Client Assessments (Appendix E). This appendix highlights 22 education, employment, and career assessment tools that administrators may want to consider using in their TANF programs. The topics of the assessments include vocational skills and abilities, basic skills, work readiness, and work interests and values.... • Data Sets Related to Education and Employment (Appendix F). This appendix highlights 25 data sets containing labor market and education information that TANF programs may wish to use to learn more about available job opportunities…. [The authors] discuss how these resources can be useful to a variety of audiences and in a variety of circumstances…[They] also discuss the resource guide’s intended audiences and highlight how the resources may be used by agencies with different levels of resources and staff capacity” (p.8-9). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)