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Welfare-to-Work Study in Los Angeles

CPL is partnering with Los Angeles’ Department of Public and Social Services to assess the effectiveness of workforce services provided to low-income individuals and families receiving cash assistance.


Los Angeles’ Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) provides cash assistance as well as workforce and support services to over 100,000 families through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program each month. Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) within CalWORKs offers employment services to help families obtain living-wage employment and increase economic mobility. Program services include education, employment training, job search assistance, subsidized employment, as well as support services such as transportation and child care. DPSS is seeking to better understand the effectiveness of GAIN and whether it is achieving the desired outcomes for program participants.

Research Project

CPL will assess the service experience of participants and identify the impacts of participation in GAIN on employment outcomes and housing stability by using administrative data from the GAIN program linked with earnings data from the Employment Development Department as well as residential location information. Various strategies to estimate impacts will be used including weighting to compare program participants to similar non-participants that received food subsidies through CalFresh, as well as quasi-experimental strategies.

Research Team

Dr. Robert Santillano (Co-Principal Investigator) and Professor Till von Wachter (Co-Principal Investigator) Brian Blackwell, Molly Moran, Wahid Khan, Mary Yang, and Landon Gibson



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