Faith, Hope, and Jobs

Faith, Hope, and Jobs: Welfare-to-Work in Los Angeles

STEPHEN V. MONSMA
J. CHRISTOPHER SOPER
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tt53b
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    Faith, Hope, and Jobs
    Book Description:

    A front-burner issue on the public policy agenda today is the increased use of partnerships between government and nongovernmental entities, including faith-based social service organizations. In the wake of President Bush's faith-based initiative, many are still wondering about the effectiveness of these faith-based organizations in providing services to those in need, and whether they provide better outcomes than more traditional government, secular nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. In Faith, Hope, and Jobs, Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper study the effectiveness of 17 different welfare-to-work programs in Los Angeles County-a county in which the U.S. government spends 14% of its entire welfare budget-and offer groundbreaking insight into understanding what works and what doesn't. Monsma and Soper examine client assessment of the programs, their progress in developing attitudes and resources important for finding self-supporting employment, and their experience in finding actual employment. The study reveals that the clients of the more explicitly faith-based programs did best in gaining in social capital and were highly positive in evaluating the religious components of their programs. For-profit programs tended to do the best in terms of their clients finding employment. Overall, the religiously active respondents tended to experience better outcomes than those who were not religiously active but surprisingly, the religiously active and non-active tended to do equally well in faith-based programs. Faith, Hope, and Jobs concludes with three sets of concrete recommendations for public policymakers, social service program managers, and researchers.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-319-3
    Subjects: Religion, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    One of the leading issues on the public policy agenda today is the increasing use of partnerships between government and nongovernmental entities—from houses of worship to for-profit firms; from long-established, secular nonprofits to small, newly created faith-based, nonprofit organizations.

    Martha Minow has rightly observed, “Religious, secular nonprofit, and for-profit players operate in each of these [public policy] fields, and government contracts with them.”¹ She noted that in the educational field there is a push for vouchers that parents can redeem at secular or religious schools and that schools run by for-profit companies are a viable option in some localities....

  6. 1 THE EFFECTIVENESS MUDDLE
    (pp. 7-37)

    Almost every study of the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, whether secular or faith based in nature, begins with a statement concerning the difficulty of doing good effectiveness research. The opening words of a thoughtful article by Daniel Forbes are typical: “Organizational effectiveness is both a powerful and problematic concept. It is powerful in the sense that it represents a useful tool for critically evaluating and enhancing the work of organizations; it is problematic in the sense that it can mean different things to different people and there exist many alternative ways of measuring organizational effectiveness.”¹ Even more succinctly, Robert Wuthnow...

  7. 2 THE STUDY
    (pp. 38-66)

    As discussed in the previous chapter, there are indeed formidable challenges in systematically studying the comparative outcomes of different types of human service programs. In this chapter we explain how we attempted to meet these challenges and operationalize the basic concepts we developed in the prior chapter. We believe the challenges to be indeed formidable, but not insurmountable.

    This study, as stated earlier, focused on welfare-to-work programs in Los Angeles County. We selected this focus for our study, first, because at the time of our study both of us were located in Los Angeles County and it was thus convenient...

  8. 3 CLIENT EVALUATIONS OF THEIR PROGRAMS
    (pp. 67-92)

    A crucial but almost universally overlooked factor in measuring program effectiveness is the clients’ own evaluations of their experiences while participating in a welfare-to-work program.¹ There are various reasons why it is important to consider clients’ perceptions of their programs. First, there is good reason to believe that clients with a positive experience in a program will have greater confidence and motivation as they seek employment, whereas clients who feel negatively about a program will be less motivated to persist in seeking work and overcoming the challenges in keeping a job. A positive experience with a program is not everything...

  9. 4 ENABLING OUTCOMES
    (pp. 93-126)

    “Throughout my life, from twelve years old to thirty years old, I had been homeless off-and-on, but [now] I have had a place to live, I have a car, I have child care, I have completed my probation and remained sober. I am healthy emotionally.”

    “Because I felt like I wanted to quit [the welfare-to-work program] sometimes, but the teachers and the students say don’t quit, keep going. They encourage me. They help me a lot with the things in my life and also with program things I didn’t understand.”

    “It raised my self-esteem.”

    These three comments—made, in order,...

  10. 5 INTERMEDIATE AND ULTIMATE OUTCOMES
    (pp. 127-163)

    “It was a pretty good program. They helped me a lot with transportation. As far as personal issues, they really helped out a lot. As far as employment, that didn’t work out too well.” This comment by a client in one of our government welfare-to-work programs illustrates the fact that generally positive reactions to a welfare-to-work program and assistance in achieving enabling outcomes—such as overcoming transportation and personal problems—do not necessarily lead to the desired goal of employment. Clients typically face a host of potential obstacles to employment that usually make it difficult for a particular program to...

  11. 6 OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 164-188)

    A faith-based/integrated program client, when asked at the end of a telephone interview if she had any further comments or suggestions, replied, “I think the [name of the program] is a great program to go through. I have not found a job yet, but it is nice to know that I am comfortable at least looking for a job. I appreciate them; keep up the good work.” This response helps illustrate the error in drawing simple conclusions concerning program effectiveness. Should such a client be judged to be a program success or failure? Should her program be considered effective or...

  12. APPENDIX A: THE QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY
    (pp. 189-192)
  13. APPENDIX B: THE SURVEY INSTRUMENTS
    (pp. 193-208)
  14. APPENDIX C: THE FAITH-BASED/SEGMENTED VERSUS FAITH-BASED/INTEGRATED DISTINCTION
    (pp. 209-210)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 211-220)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 221-228)