Coordinating Employment Services Across the TANF and WIA Programs

Coordinating Employment Services Across the TANF and WIA Programs

Published: Jan 19, 2015
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Associated Project

Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Consortium

Time frame:

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation


Gretchen G. Kirby

Michelle Derr

Key Findings

Key Findings:

  • Overall, the TANF and WIA programs are generally parallel operating programs with varying levels of coordination—base, moderate, or high—across 12 strategies.
  • No site is highly coordinated across all 12 strategies, but a few sites achieve mostly high to moderate levels of coordination across the strategies. Coordination above a base level for most strategies requires co-location of program services within the American Job Centers.
  • A site’s choice of strategies and level of coordination involves consideration of several inputs and trade-offs, but any site or state may capitalize on opportunities for TANF/WIA coordination.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs provide employment and training services to a targeted population of low-income individuals. The similarities between the TANF and WIA programs have generated interest in the coordination and integration of services across the two programs since their inception in the late 1990s. The study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, the Urban Institute, and Don Winstead Consulting, included interviews with state and local respondents in 8 states and 11 localities from February 2012 to May 2013. The findings describe 12 strategies for TANF/WIA coordination that are in use in the study sites and that other locations might choose to replicate. Using the practices of the study sites, we defined levels of coordination for each of the 12 strategies as base, moderate, or high. The experiences in coordinating TANF and WIA services in the 11 sites included in this study can help inform policy and practice under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed into law in July 2014. 

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