Audit Recommends Improvements to Employment & Training Program for Welfare Recipients

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

October 25, 2007

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Earlier this month, the State Auditor’s Office released an audit of the Texas Workforce Commission’s administration of the “Choices” program, the employment and training arm of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program. TANF’s goal is to help very poor parents become self-sufficient through job preparation and employment. Since 2003, the number of Choices participants has fallen by two-thirds, increasing by 85% the amount of employment and training funds available to spend on each welfare recipient. Despite this increase in funds, outcomes for families leaving welfare have not improved. Though the audit concluded that TWC adequately administers the Choices program, it identified the need to improve case management, increase oversight of Choices program expenditures, and improve employment outcomes for welfare recipients. This Policy Page analyzes the auditor’s report. It also summarizes recent research on the most promising strategies for using education and training to improve outcomes for families leaving welfare.