|Detailed Objective: This study conducts a process evaluation of a comprehensive service-integration approach for supporting displaced workers and other families seeking work. It will evaluate pilot projects in Virginia known as Coordinated Economic Relief Centers (CERCs), with special emphasis on the provision of food assistance. In 1998, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was signed into law to consolidate several training and employment programs under the Job Training Partnership Act into a single, unified program. Although One-Stop Career Centers are encouraged by the U.S. Department of Labor to develop outside partners, their coordination with TANF-related programs and the Food Stamp Program has been modest, though it is increasing. Virginia has opened four Coordinated Economic Relief Centers (CERCs), each in a nonmetro county. The innovation of CERCs is that they combine a coordinated system-co-locating of all services-with a comprehensive case management approach to support the individual worker and his or her family.
This process evaluation will use interviews with government officials and staff, along with administrative data, to assess the value of co-locating the programs. The study will identify policies, practices, actions, automated systems configurations, and other factors that promote food stamps and other work supports. Specifically, the study will describe how food assistance and TANF services are delivered and integrated with other CERC services; will assess effects of the CERCs on receipt of benefits and services that support employment, such as food stamps, other food assistance, child care subsidies, Medicaid coverage for adults and children, cash assistance through TANF, noncash services through TANF, skill upgrade services, and job search assistance; and will describe the problems encountered and lessons learned from the CERCs.