Welfare To Work:

States Begin JOBS, but Fiscal and Other Problems May Impede Their Progress

HRD-91-106: Published: Sep 27, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) states' progress in implementing the Job Opportunities and Basic Skill Training (JOBS) Program; (2) states' decisions about which welfare recipients to serve and what services to provide; (3) states' views on implementation difficulties; and (4) the nature and extent of technical assistance the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides to states.

GAO found that: (1) all states had programs in place by the mandated implementation date, and 31 states had programs in place 2 years ahead of the deadline; (2) states will spend an estimated $1.4 billion on JOBS and related child care costs for fiscal year (FY) 1991, but this amount represents only a portion of the resources used to provide services to JOBS participants; (3) most states indicated plans to move in new directions to operate their welfare-to-work programs, by serving a required proportion of individuals in a meaningful manner, targeting those with barriers to employment, emphasizing basic skills training or long-term education and training, and providing child care assistance to JOBS participants; (4) although states are on their way to extending the JOBS program nationwide, many have reported shortages in basic and remedial education services, training, and work experience opportunities, and supportive services such as child care and transportation; (5) about two-thirds of the states indicated that they were experiencing or anticipating difficulties with targeting and participation requirements; (6) nearly 90 percent of the states reported experiencing difficulties developing information systems; (7) to help states with JOBS implementation, HHS provided technical assistance on participation, targeting, and financial reporting requirements; and (8) service and funding shortages and poor economic conditions could decrease states' abilities to operate JOBS and slow their progress.

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