Job Readiness Training, Job Search Assistance and Job Placement
Marie Cohen
Welfare Information Network

While prior law emphasized education and training for welfare recipients, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) encourages states to place welfare recipients in jobs as soon as possible. In response to the federal change or independently, most states are now adopting a "Work First" philosophy, in which welfare recipients are required to go through a job seeking process before they can receive education, training or other help in increasing their employability. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 allocated $3 billion over a two-year period for Welfare-to-Work grants that support a variety of activities including job readiness training and job placement services.

This resource list provides a catalog of written information and contacts who can provide information on job readiness training, job search assistance and job placement programs. This is not an exhaustive list; initiatives may be ongoing in states other than those listed here. Additional information is available from WIN by contacting our staff or exploring our web site.

Publications and Electronic Resources

After AFDC: Welfare-to-Work Choices and Challenges for States, by Dan Bloom, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), 1997, (212) 532-3200.

Changing to a Work First Strategy: Lessons from Los Angeles County’s GAIN Program for

Welfare Recipients, by Evan Weissman, MDRC, June 1997, (212) 532-3200.

Job Search Strategies: Lessons from the Louisville WIN Laboratory, by Carl Wolfhagen and Barbara Goldman, MDRC, 1983, (212) 532-3200.

"Just Connect," National Journal, May 31, 1997: discusses the development of community based organizations working to connect people in disadvantaged communities with jobs.

Putting America Back to Work: Reforming the Employment Security System, Heritage Foundation, June 10, 1997, (202) 546-4400.

Skills Assessment, Job Placement and Training: What Can Be Learned from the Temporary

Help/Staffing Industry?, Jobs for the Future, July 1994 and February 1997 updated summary, (617) 728-4446.

Successful State Practices in Job Matching, by the Center for Employment Security Education and Research (CESER), August 1996. Contact: (202) 628-5588 or see

Transferability Package for High Output Job Placement Results, Riverside, California

Department of Public and Social Services, (909) 358-3008. Forthcoming in January 1998.

Work First: How to Implement an Employment-Focused Approach to Welfare Reform, by Amy Brown, MDRC, March 1997, (212) 532-3200.

Resource Contacts

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation: (212) 532-3200.

National Governors’ Association: Evelyn Ganzglass, (202) 624-7857.

Urban Institute: Demetra Nightingale, (202) 857-8570.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: For regional contacts, call (202) 401-9215 or see For general information, see

U.S. Department of Labor: For regional contacts, call (202) 208-7281 or see For information about the welfare-to-work grants and other welfare-to-work activities, see

What States and Counties are Doing

Michigan requires most TANF recipients to engage in job search before any other activity. Local workforce development agencies (modified versions of Private Industry Councils) are responsible for employment services to TANF recipients, which are provided under contract by private organizations. Contact: Janet Howard, Work First Section Chief, Michigan Jobs Commission, (517) 335-5835.

Anne Arundel County, MD, requires all TANF recipients who are able to work to participate in job search, usually for eight weeks. The county has a walk-in Job Center where TANF recipients and others obtain immediate assistance with job search, transportation and child care. According to the Department of Social Services, 95% of those who undertake job search find jobs before eight weeks are up. Contact: Vesta Kimble, Deputy Director, Department of Social Services, (410) 269-4603.

Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN: Caseworkers in Los Angeles’ GAIN program refer most able- bodied recipients to a three-week job club regardless of their educational level. The county Office of Education conducts the job clubs, which have an upbeat, motivational tone. Contact: Kelly Lingel, Los Angeles County Office of Education, (562) 806-0455.

Riverside, California, GAIN: Riverside, California’s, GAIN program has drawn widespread attention because it has shown some of the strongest evaluation results of any large-scale welfare-to-work program. Riverside stresses immediate employment for welfare recipients. Contact: Marilyn Kuhlman, GAIN Program Manager, (909) 358-3008.

Connections to Work: The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) is identifying urban communities that are trying to increase the access of welfare recipients to jobs that provide benefits and opportunities for career advancement. Some of the initiatives funded use a competitive process in which public, private non-profit, and for-profit companies bid to provide job preparation and placement services and are paid on a performance basis. Currently, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Alameda County (Oakland) are participating in the project as representatives of the competitive approach. For more information, contact Robert Ivry or Donna McGill at MDRC, (212) 532-3200.

Curricula, Materials and Consulting Services

WIN lists vendors as an informational service only. This lists is not exhaustive, and WIN does not endorse any particular vendor or service provider, nor does WIN vouch for the quality or effectiveness of the services provided.

America Works provides pre-employment orientation, some skills testing and skills brush-up, and intensive job search assistance. When clients find jobs, they are paid for the first four months by America Works. Successful employees are hired after four months by the companies where they are already working. America Works cultivates a network of employers to whom it regularly sends job applicants. Contact (212) 244-5627.

Career T.E.A.M. provides a six-week job readiness class that includes self-esteem, "soft" office skills, job seeking skills, and weekly meetings for eight weeks after graduation. During the course, employers are brought in to meet class participants as potential employees. Career T.E.A.M. will run the class for states and counties and also sells its materials along with staff training in how to use them. Contact Christopher or Susan Kuselias, (203) 407-8800.

Curtis and Associates, a for-profit consulting firm, provides job search assistance and job clubs under contracts with many states and counties, including Riverside County, California (see below). A variety of materials for conducting job clubs and job readiness training are also available for purchase. Contact 1-800-658-4399.

Franklin Learning Systems provides curricula, educational games, and instructor training in job search skills, on-the-job skills and life skills. The company was recognized by the National Governors’ Association as a key program serving out-of-school youth and is now making its programs available to welfare clients as well. Contact Franklin Rubenstein at (203) 222-8275.

Goodwill Industries provides job search assistance and placement, along with other employment and training services, at sites around the country. Contact Vickie Schacter at (301) 530-6500.

Passport to Success Professional and Personal Planner, Los Angeles County Office of

Education, GAIN Division, (800) 903-2842: a personal planner given to welfare recipients participating in Job Club and supervised job search.

Staraccess provides various job search materials, including a Get a Job Kit, Job Search Training Guide, (a guide for conducting job search workshops) and Yes You Can! Job Readiness Workbook: Everything You Need for a Self-Directed Job Search. Contact (703) 317-0336.

Worker Training and Assistance Program Training Guide, U.S. Department of Labor. Training manual to provide welfare recipients with the skills to be successful in government employment. Available on the worldwide web at

There are many state and local organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, that provide job readiness training, job search assistance and job placement to TANF recipients. Local affiliates of the United Way, Salvation Army, Urban League, YWCA, YMCA and others are providing welfare to work services.

WIN Staff Contact: Marie Cohen, e-mail:

The Welfare Information Network appreciates the assistance of the many individuals who contributed to this list of resources.

The U.S. General Accounting Office recently issued a report (GAO/HEHS-98-6)

on privatization of social services, including welfare, child care, child

support enforcement and child welfare. Download the report from GAO’s web site

( or from the privatization page on WIN’s web site.