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Job Search Assistance (JSA) Strategies Evaluation


  • There is limited research on the effectiveness of various job-search strategies.
  • Implementation and impact studies determined relative effectiveness of such strategies.
  • Site-specific impact studies will be available in 2019.
The Challenge

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs typically provide job search assistance (JSA) in addition to their income-support role. JSA strategies can include group, one-on-one, or self-directed activities. While there is evidence JSA strategies increase employment, the impacts are modest. Many recipients struggle to find and keep jobs despite the assistance. Moreover, there is little evidence about what type of JSA strategies are more effective in improving employment and earnings outcomes for cash-assistance recipients.

The Approach

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services sponsored the JSA Strategies Evaluation to examine the relative effectiveness of different job search approaches for transitioning TANF and other cash assistance recipients to work. The evaluation’s impact study that uses a random assignment research design to compare employment and public assistance outcomes of different JSA approaches. The evaluation’s implementation study examines service delivery and operations.

The Results

The impact evaluation tests effects of JSA strategies in three sites in California, Michigan and New York. The evaluations in New York, NY, and Sacramento, CA, examine effectiveness of more and less rigorous participation requirements for cash assistance recipients. The Michigan evaluation examines effects of a goal-oriented coaching approach.   

The implementation study is conducted in Westchester, NY, and Ramsey County, Minn. The completed Ramsey County report documents implementation of a goal-oriented approach to help TANF recipients set employment-focused goals and break them into smaller, achievable tasks. The Westchester County site examines the implementation of an intensive job-search program called STRIVE.

Implementation and Relative Impacts of Two Job Search Assistance Programs in New York City

Other reports will be completed in 2019.