Building an Employment Focused Welfare System

Research Report

Building an Employment Focused Welfare System

Work First and Other Work-Oriented Strategies in Five States


This study examines key policies and program strategies used by states and localities to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to Work First strategies that emphasize quick entry into the labor market. The report is based on the experiences of six local sites in five states (IN, MA, OR, VA, WI) in 1997. The report provides an overview of: Work First programs, organizational and staffing strategies, exemptions, sanctions, time limits, earned income disregard, diversion. State administrative data was also used to examine client program experiences and participation patterns over a 12 month period.

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