Research studies during the past decade have shown that despite the large number of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients entering the workforce, many of these individuals have difficulty remaining employed and advancing in the labor market.

Governors and other state leaders are in a strong position to assume a lead role in developing programs and policies that help TANF and low-income families achieve long-term self-sufficiency through stable employment. This Issue Brief lays out ways states can create opportunities for TANF clients and low-wage workers to advance in the labor market, including:

  • Helping them prepare for success in the workforce through education and skills development activities, career and work readiness credentials, and postsecondary education;
  • Establishing "launching pads" that can help them quickly advance in the labor market through such efforts as transitional jobs programs and career ladder strategies; and
  • Providing them with ongoing support through earnings supplements, earnings disregards, work support benefits, and child and earned income tax credits.