State approaches to welfare reform vary considerably, but almost all of them encourage adult welfare recipients to work more and, as a result, to reduce their families long-term reliance on welfare benefits. This brief draws on a large body of evidence from rigorous studies to highlight strategies found most effective in increasing employment and earnings among welfare recipients. Research shows a clear role for skills enhancement in welfare programs that encourage or mandate certain activities. But research also suggests balancing a focus on job seeking and work with goal-directed education and training.
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