Title

ASSESSMENT OF JOBLINKS DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS: CONNECTING PEOPLE TO THE WORKPLACE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR WELFARE REFORM

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

ridership - commuting, ridership - disadvantage, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Welfare-to-work programs, Welfare recipients, Transit services, Transit, Public transit, Operational tests, Mass transit, Local transit, Jobs, Disadvantaged individuals, Demonstration projects, Access

Abstract

JOBLINKS demonstration projects tested the means of providing transportation services to disadvantaged individuals, particularly welfare recipients trying to make the transition to employment and self-sufficiency. In 1995-1996, 10 demonstration projects were funded in 6 states. After each project an independent assessment yielded the following findings: (a) Transportation made a difference in enabling disadvantaged people to obtain work. In several demonstration projects, the transportation services provided through JOBLINKS enabled individuals to get a job or to increase work to a full-time basis. (b) Transportation solutions were most effective in the presence of three key factors: availability of jobs in the local labor market at shift times that could be served by available drivers and vehicles, access to job-ready workers with transportation barriers who would be suited for these jobs, and coordination among transportation providers, human services agencies, and employers. In the absence of these factors, transportation linkages played an important role in getting disadvantaged populations to job preparation services. Many of the JOBLINKS projects concentrated on and were very successful at carrying those who were not job ready to educational institutions, job-training providers, and job club sites. (c) Transportation is a necessary component in the package of services needed to implement welfare-to-work programs. Welfare-to-work policy emphasizes getting people into work environments. There are serious implications of this policy for both welfare agencies and transportation providers. Future efforts to meet the transportation needs of people who are struggling to become independent of welfare should focus on innovative ways to get them to workplaces.