NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Urban Institute: Faith-based Organizations Help People Find Jobs

March 25, 2002

Workforce investment agencies in five U.S. cities have directed some part of their federal funding to faith-based organizations to provide employment-related services, according to a study by the Urban Institute funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • According to the Urban Institute's telephone survey, in 2000, employment service contracts with faith-based organizations ranged from $36,000 to $3.6 million in Fort Worth, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and San Diego.
  • Funding to faith-based organizations ranged from about one percent to 10 percent of the local workforce agencies' budgets.
  • In each city, one to three large church congregations reported sponsoring more formal employment-related services without public funding.

Most of the congregations contacted in the five cities did not provide formal, extensive or prolonged employment-related services. Instead, several reported they provide aid on a case-by-case basis to people who request or need help. The services included clothing for work, transportation, employment counseling, job mentors, basic computer training and job search assistance.

Of the non-profit agencies sponsored by faith-based organizations that were surveyed -- such as homeless shelters, transitional housing facilities or social service agencies -- nearly half received public funding and many provided employment-related services.

Many received funding from other federal programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as through Department of Labor programs.

Source: Demetra Smith Nightingale et al., "Faith-Based Organizations Providing Employment and Training Services: A Preliminary Exploration," February 1, 2002, Urban Institute.

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