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ERIC Number: ED432682
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Pages: 37
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Welfare, Jobs and Basic Skills: The Employment Prospects of Welfare Recipients in the Most Populous U.S. Counties.
Levenson, Alec R.; Reardon, Elaine; Schmidt, Stefanie R.
A study evaluated the basic skills and employment prospects of current adult Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients. It performed an analysis for the United States as a whole and separate analyses for nearly all the 75 most populous U.S. counties, plus the District of Columbia. These counties contained 43 percent of the nation's welfare caseload. Analyses were based on a measure of basic skills different from amount of formal schooling; the measure came from the National Adult Literacy Survey. (Individuals at the lowest level of literacy, level 1, were able to locate the expiration date on a driver's license or sign their names; those at level 2 could locate an intersection on a map or understand an appliance warranty.) Results for the United States as a whole showed that typical TANF recipients had extremely low basic skills: 35 percent were at level 1, and 41 percent were at level 2. Because of low basic skills, the vast majority of jobs were not open to TANF mothers. The economy would have had to create six percent more jobs with very low basic skills (VLBS) to fully employ all welfare mothers. Separate analyses by county showed that the impact of welfare reform would vary greatly. In some counties, only 1 percent more jobs with VLBS were needed; in others, the number would have had to increase by more than 20 percent. Five of the twelve counties that would potentially have had the greatest difficulty moving their welfare recipients into jobs were in California. The study concludes that the need for improved basic skills among most current and former welfare recipients is acute. (Appendixes contain 29 references, 3 tables, and additional study information.) (YLB)
NCSALL, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 101 Nichols House, Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138; Tel: 617-495-4843; Web site: (full text).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, Boston, MA.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families