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Education Pilot Program: Final Evaluation

With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 the focus of public assistance shifted from income maintenance to employment. There has been much debate as to whether it is more effective to focus first on education or work activities in order to reach this goal. The literature suggests that a mixture of work activities supported by education is most effective (Gueron and Hamilton, 2002) unless the person has no basic education. In this case, it is best for the individual, their children and society to focus on education.

The lack of basic education has long been associated with long-term FEP assistance in Utah (Taylor, Barusch, Vogel-Ferguson, 2002). The lack of a high school diploma or GED (HSD/GED) has also been associated with closing FEP due to non-participation and leaving without employment (Harris & Vogel-Ferguson, 2004; 2005). Findings from Wave 1 of the FEP Study of Utah (2006) indicated 30% of new FEP recipients enter without a HSD/GED. In 2007 only 76 customers completed their HSD/GED, significantly lower than recent years, likely due to policy changes.

In Spring 2008, Central and North regions were charged with piloting a program for assisting DWS customers without a HSD/GED in obtaining this basic level of education. While the focus was on moving customers into a HSD/GED program, the charge included providing appropriate “next step” education resources and referrals to those who were not able to pursue this basic level of education. The pilot was also to assist HSD/GED graduates in pursuing additional training or schooling programs currently in demand by the labor market.

Between May and September of 2008, program developers used the data presented above to design and implement the “Education Pilot Program.” The HSD/GED portion became known as “Inve$t In You” (IIY). While many offices were interested, the Midvale, South County and Ogden South offices were invited to participate in the pilot. Pathways were developed which required referral of customers to the new program.

Read the report associated with this project

 

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Last Updated: 12/6/19