Reemployment Programs

Which Improves the Earnings of Welfare Recipients More in the Long Term?

October, 2016

Findings after 10-15 years from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies suggest that while initially stressing job search for participants led to greater earnings in the short term than did initially stressing education and training, neither approach produced substantial effects past the five-year follow-up period.

Lessons for Practitioners

October, 2016

The demonstration of WorkAdvance confirmed that sectoral employment programs can increase employment and earnings among low-income individuals. This brief offers insights from providers on selecting sectors, tailoring training to employer needs, reducing attrition, securing placements that offer better wages and benefits, and helping workers plan for advancement.

October, 2016

WorkAdvance connects low-income job seekers to high-demand sectors that offer quality jobs with strong career pathways. This infographic describes the program model and its implementation in four locations and presents encouraging evidence of WorkAdvance’s effects on boosting earnings.

Two-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration

August, 2016

WorkAdvance provides demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs with career pathways. As detailed in this full report, all four programs studied greatly increased training completion and credential acquisition. Employment outcomes varied by site, with large, consistent impacts at the most experienced provider and promising results at two others.

A Preview Summary of Two-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration

June, 2016

WorkAdvance provides demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs with career pathways. This preview summary finds that all four programs studied greatly increased training completion and credential acquisition. Employment outcomes varied by site, with large, consistent impacts at the most experienced provider and promising results at two others.

March, 2016

A growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing “career pathways” strategies to help youth and adults prepare for postsecondary education and quality jobs. This Issue Brief describes the career pathways approach and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on its effectiveness and potential to improve education and career outcomes.

Findings from a Brief Study of Alternative Staffing Organizations

July, 2015

Temporary agencies have become an increasingly important employer of low-skilled, low-wage workers. Alternative staffing organizations that use this model to serve disadvantaged workers (such as welfare recipients and people with disabilities) appear to fill a need, but they must build the capacity to run a viable, competitive business.

June, 2015

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes targeting out-of-school youth with training and services that are employer driven and linked to labor market demand. Drawing upon available research and on-the-ground experience, this paper summarizes existing knowledge that can guide implementation of key WIOA provisions for serving out-of-school youth.

February, 2015

Improving the employment outlook of disadvantaged young people on a large scale will require a stronger focus on engaging private employers on potential solutions. On June 4, 2014, MDRC and The Rockefeller Foundation convened a group of experts to discuss such demand-driven approaches.

Evidence on Improving Employment Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth in the United States

February, 2015

The Great Recession took a toll on the already dim economic prospects of low-income 16- to 24-year-olds who face structural barriers to employment. Evidence indicates that involvement of employers in devising education, training, and work experiences that meet labor market demands should be a key component of any policy response.

Implementation of a Sector-Focused Career Advancement Model for Low-Skilled Adults

October, 2014

The WorkAdvance program model aims to prepare individuals for good jobs in high-demand industries and to increase their prospects for staying employed and moving up. Participants receive career readiness and occupational skills training, job placement, and advancement coaching. This report looks at how four providers translated the model into workable programs.

Evidence from Promising Programs

June, 2014

A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men. 

June, 2014

This report, published by the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, offers a set of recommendations about how to build knowledge on effective programs and policies to improve the economic condition of disadvantaged fathers.

Labor Market Challenges for Low-Income Adults

April, 2014

MDRC hosted a recent colloquium to celebrate our 40th anniversary and the contributions of former Board Chair Robert Solow. This issue focus summarizes a panel presentation, featuring David Autor, Mary Jo Bane, David Card, and Lawrence Katz, on the current economic climate and how MDRC’s research can address today’s problems.

 

July, 2013

MDRC is learning what programs work best to prevent at-risk youth from getting in trouble, help juvenile offenders turn their lives around, and give reentering prisoners the chance to get a foothold in the labor market and reduce their chances of rearrest.

Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults

June, 2013

This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.

March, 2013

While we know how to help low-income individuals prepare for and find work, too many end up in low-wage jobs and never advance up the career ladder. This policy memo describes what we’ve learned about advancement strategies — both those that show promise and those that don’t work.

February, 2013

The 700,000 incarcerated prisoners released each year face considerable obstacles to successfully reintegrating into their communities, and many return to prison. While state and federal agencies have mounted ambitious prisoner reentry initiatives, this policy memo from our “Looking Forward” series explains that there is still much to learn about what works.

Implementation and Final Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) Demonstration

September, 2012

WASC sought to increase the incomes of low-wage workers by stabilizing employment, improving skills, increasing earnings, and easing access to work supports. The program increased workers’ receipt of work supports. In the two sites that eased access to funds for training, WASC increased the receipt of certificates and licenses and increased earnings in the third year.

Lessons from the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

April, 2012

Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. This report describes results and draws lessons from rigorous evaluations of 12 programs seeking to improve employment retention and advancement among low-wage workers.

March, 2012

This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, describes how strategies have helped welfare recipients enter employment and increase their earnings. However, more remains to be learned about how best to substantially increase their self-sufficiency and financial well-being.

August, 2011

This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, examines what is known about welfare recipients with serious barriers to work, what states are doing to serve them, and what research says about which interventions are most effective.

Final Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration

August, 2011

The British ERA program’s distinctive combination of post-employment advisory support and financial incentives was designed to help low-income individuals who entered work sustain employment and advance in the labor market. It produced short-term earnings gains for two target groups but sustained increases in employment and earnings and positive benefit-cost results for the third target group, long-term unemployed individuals.

Lessons from Research and Practice

May, 2011

This 12-page practitioner brief offers lessons for policy and practice from MDRC-conducted random assignment studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements to low-income parents to encourage employment and increase the payoff of low-wage work.

Delivery, Take-Up, and Outcomes of In-Work Training Support for Lone Parents

March, 2011

This report presents new findings from Britain’s Employment Advancement and Retention demonstration, which tested the effectiveness of a program to improve the labor market prospects of low-paid workers and unemployed people. The report assesses whether coaching by advisers and financial incentives encouraged single-parent participants to take and complete training courses and whether training had an impact on their advancement in the labor market.

Findings from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

January, 2011

This 12-page practitioner brief examines the work, education, and training patterns of single parents in the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project, which evaluated strategies to promote employment stability among low-income workers. The findings support other research in underscoring the importance of changing jobs and of access to “good” jobs as strategies to help low-wage workers advance.

November, 2010

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project examines the 27,000 single parents who participated in the studied programs to understand the characteristics of those who successfully advanced in the labor market.

November, 2010

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project demonstrates that low-income single-parent and two-parent families have a roughly equivalent need for services to support employment retention and advancement and that this need does not differ substantially between men and women in two-parent families.

Using Earnings Supplements to Improve Employment Retention and Advancement Programs in Texas and the United Kingdom

September, 2010

Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, there is less hard evidence about what can be done to help current and former recipients and other low-wage workers stay employed or advance in the labor market. This paper looks closely at one strategy — providing earnings supplements, or stipends, to current and former welfare recipients who maintain stable full-time employment — that was used at sites in Texas and in the United Kingdom.

Reemployment Strategies in Retention and Advancement Programs for Current and Former Welfare Recipients

June, 2010

When current and former welfare recipients find jobs, they often lose them quickly and have trouble finding another job. This brief, based on the experiences of 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement evaluation, offers advice on how to design and implement practices that turn a recent job loss into an opportunity to find a better one.

May, 2010

This report examines the financial benefits and costs of three different programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families, that have increased employment and earnings among current and former welfare recipients.

Final Impacts for Twelve Models

April, 2010

This report presents the final implementation and impact findings for 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families. These programs attempted to promote steady work and career advancement for current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers.

Will the Past Be Prologue?

November, 2009

In remarks given at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, MDRC President Gordon Berlin looks at the extraordinary challenges the current labor market presents to employment policy generally and WIA reauthorization specifically, outlines what we have (and haven’t) learned from research, and makes recommendations for future directions.

Implementation and Early Impacts for Two Programs That Sought to Encourage Advancement Among Low-Income Workers

October, 2009

While these two different programs in the Employment Retention and Advancement Project both increased service receipt, neither had effects on job retention or advancement after 1.5 years of follow-up.

Preliminary Analysis

March, 2009

This report presents a preliminary analysis of the cost of operating Britain's Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) demonstration, which is being evaluated though a large-scale randomised control trial. This assessment of costs will become an important element of the full cost-benefit analysis to be presented in future ERA reports.

September, 2008

This report published by the UK Department for Work and Pensions presents new findings on the effects of a program to help long-term unemployed individuals who receive government benefits in Great Britain and participate in a welfare-to-work program, New Deal 25 Plus, retain jobs and advance in the labor market.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Project

August, 2008

A program in Portland, Oregon, to remove employment barriers and assist with job placement and employment retention and advancement for welfare applicants and recipients was never fully implemented and, not surprisingly, had no any effects on employment, earnings, or receipt of public assistance.

May, 2008

This report presents new and positive findings on the effects of Britain’s Employment Retention and Advancement demonstration. After two years, the program increased employment and earnings for single-parent participants. ERA offered a combination of job coaching and financial incentives to encourage low-income individuals to sustain employment and progress in work.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Project

April, 2008

A program to promote better initial job placements, employment retention, and advancement among unemployed applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program faced implementation challenges and had no employment-related impacts after one year of follow-up.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Project

May, 2007

A random assignment evaluation of a voluntary postemployment program for workers who recently left welfare shows participants had increased employment and earnings during the first two years of follow-up.

April, 2007

In his testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, MDRC President Gordon Berlin argues that the most direct way to alleviate poverty is to tackle the legacy of falling wages, particularly for men with less education.

February, 2007

This report published by the UK Department for Work and Pensions presents encouraging findings on the early effects of Britain’s Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration. Aimed at helping low-income individuals sustain employment and progress in work, ERA offers a combination of job coaching and financial incentives to participants once they are working.

Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement Demonstration

September, 2006

This study for the UK Department for Work and Pensions explores the attitudes of a sample of participants in the UK Employment Retention and Advancement program. This rare employment study on low-paid workers in the United Kingdom offers a foundation for understanding the receptivity of low-paid workers to programs that help them remain employed and advance.

Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration

March, 2006

The largest ever random assignment test of a social policy in Britain is being applied in a demonstration of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) program. This report, written by MDRC and British colleagues as part of a consortium of social policy research firms and produced for the UK Department for Work and Pensions, examines how well random assignment worked.

February, 2006

An evaluation of a job placement, retention, and advancement program for individuals receiving welfare showed some effects — but not consistent or large effects — on employment and retention outcomes during the first two years of follow-up.

July, 2005

Early results are mixed for Employment Retention and Advancement project programs in four sites, but programs in two sites appear to help some welfare recipients work more steadily and advance to higher-paying jobs.

Early Implementation Experiences of Employment Retention and Advancement Programs

October, 2003

Describing the initial experiences of 15 Employment Retention and Advancement programs in 8 states, this report emphasizes implementation issues and focuses on connections among the agencies and institutions that deliver retention and advancement services to low-income workers and hard-to-employ populations.

An Introduction to the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

February, 2002

Welfare reform has resulted in millions of low-income parents replacing the receipt of public cash assistance with income from employment. But what strategies will help the new workforce entrants find more stable jobs, advance in the labor market, and achieve long-term self-sufficiency? The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation is a comprehensive effort to explore this urgent public policy question.

Building Services and Systems to Support California's Working Poor and Hard-to-Place

January, 2001

Two-Year Implementation, Participation, Cost, and Impact Findings

August, 2000
Project Overview

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly the food stamp program —is a critical work support for low-income people and families.

Project Overview

Past evaluations have provided solid evidence regarding what works to help low-income individuals become employed. However, these studies have also found that many people who found jobs were not better off financially, in part because these jobs were unstable, low paying, and provided few advancement opportunities.

Project Overview

A central challenge in welfare policy arises from the dual imperatives to promote self-sufficiency among welfare recipients and to protect vulnerable families from economic deprivation.

Project Overview

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is the federal government’s largest source of federally funded employment services and training. WIA is the latest in a series of federal employment and training programs, the first having arisen in response to the Great Depression.

Project Overview

The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment.

Project Overview

The wages and earnings of low-income workers have been stagnant or declining in real terms for approximately 35 years. Nationwide, the labor market-driven growth of the low-wage workforce has become a major issue for both the business community and the public.

Project Overview

Until recently, employment policy in the United Kingdom had been focused principally on helping people who had lost their jobs to find work.