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A California program that requires large numbers of welfare recipients to participate in education and training to help move them into jobs is yielding positive effects "that are growing over time,'' a new study concludes.

A study released last year by the Manpower Development Research Corporation showed that the Greater Avenues for Independence program, known as GAIN, had spurred significant increases in earnings and decreases in welfare spending after just one year of operation. (See Education Week, April 29, 1992.)

The new study, set for release this week by the M.D.R.C., a New York-based group specializing in welfare research, highlights GAIN's "continued effectiveness'' after two years.

The effects were almost twice as strong the second year as in the first year for single parents, who earned 24 percent more--or $519 per person on average--during the year than those in a control group.

The second-year effects were roughly equal to the first-year effects for two-parent families, which had earnings gains of $370 on average over the control group. Welfare payments to single- and two-parent families also continued to decline the second year.

The report--which examines 33,000 welfare recipients in six counties--concedes that positive effects varied widely from county to county and among individuals, with some reaping few, if any, benefits.

But it maintains that the data may be instructive to other states because one-sixth of the nation's welfare recipients live in California and because GAIN, which predates the 1988 federal welfare-reform law, is one of the most ambitious state efforts of its kind.

Copies of "GAIN: Two-Year Impact in Six Counties,'' are available for $12 each from the Manpower Development Research Corporation, 3 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.

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