Oklahoma

December, 2016

As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.

Which Improves Welfare Recipients’ Earnings 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.

Final Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

January, 2016

SaveUSA encourages low- and moderate-income people to set aside money from their tax refund for savings by awarding a 50 percent match to successful savers. After 42 months, the program had sustained its earlier effects, increasing both the percentage of individuals with nonretirement savings and the average amount of savings.

Lessons from the Replication of the Center for Employment Opportunities

January, 2016

An earlier MDRC evaluation found that the original Center for Employment Opportunities transitional jobs program reduced the rates at which important subgroups of participants committed new crimes or were reincarcerated. The current evaluation finds that five new replication programs have implemented the model faithfully.

Using Behavioral Economics to Increase On-Time Child Care Subsidy Renewals

November, 2015

This study assessed three different behavioral strategies for providers and clients aimed at increasing the timely renewal of child care subsidies, in order to ensure consistent client services. The findings suggest that strategies designed for staff who work directly with clients may be a fruitful area for future work.

Teachers’ Voices on Professional Development

June, 2015

Through the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping school districts and networks redesign their professional development systems. This brief — the first in a series — introduces the case study component of MDRC’s evaluation and presents some early findings from interviews with teachers.

Implementation, Impacts, and Costs of the Reading Partners Program

March, 2015

One-on-one tutoring by volunteers improves the reading proficiency of struggling second- to fifth-graders, according to MDRC’s random assignment study. As a program staffed mostly by volunteers, Reading Partners is substantially less costly than other supplemental reading services typically offered to struggling readers.

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.

Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

April, 2014

This report describes the early effects of a program helping low- and moderate-income families build up unrestricted-use savings via tax refunds. Individuals who save a pledged amount for a year earn a 50-percent match payment. After 18 months, SaveUSA had increased the percentage of individuals with savings and boosted average savings amounts.

March, 2014

This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.

Exploratory Subgroup Analysis in the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation

March, 2014

This paper explores effects of the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program for six subgroups of couples in the study. SHM’s impacts were generally consistent across these subgroups, though some evidence suggests that couples whose marriages were more distressed at study entry may have benefited more from SHM.

Final Impacts from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation

January, 2014

Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) was a yearlong voluntary marriage education program to help strengthen couples’ relationships. SHM had small sustained positive effects on marital quality more than a year after the program ended but did not achieve its objectives of leading more couples to stay together or improving children’s well-being.

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.

Preliminary Implementation Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation

April, 2013

SaveUSA, a pilot program in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa, offers a matched savings account to low-income tax filers, building on the opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. This 12-page brief offers early implementation findings.

A Relationship Skills Education Program for Unmarried Parents

November, 2012

The Building Strong Families evaluation assessed the effects of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child. This report presents final results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.

August, 2012

Eight programs, in various settings, successfully implemented a voluntary package of relationship skills services for low-income married couples with children, engaging a diverse group of couples who participated for eight months on average. A companion report finds that the programs produced a pattern of small, positive effects on couples’ relationships after 12 months.

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.

February, 2012

This report, which presents 12-month impact results from a demonstration designed to strengthen marriages among low-income married couples with children, shows that the program produced a consistent pattern of small, positive effects on multiple aspects of couples’ relationships, including measures of relationship quality, psychological and physical abuse, and adult individual psychological distress.

Resources for Program Operators from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Demonstration and Evaluation

May, 2011

Developed for sites participating in a federal demonstration and evaluation of relationship and marriage skills programs for low-income married couples, this toolkit offers practical guidance about program design, management, and marketing, among other topics. It may be particularly useful for voluntary programs focusing on family relationships, couples, or fatherhood.

September, 2010

An important first hurdle for voluntary programs is recruiting and retaining eligible participants. This report describes how ten Supporting Healthy Marriage programs focused on developing effective marketing strategies, keeping couples engaged in the program, and building management systems. These efforts resulted in encouraging early levels of participation by low-income couples.

Time Use Estimates for Economically Disadvantaged and Nondisadvantaged Married Couples in the United States

September, 2009

Contrary to some expectations, economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and more of that time is spent in leisure activities, according to this paper from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Project. While these couples may face different barriers to participating in voluntary programs than higher-income couples, their “time crunch” appears to be no worse.

August, 2008

This working paper introduces the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation, the first large-scale, multisite experiment that is testing voluntary marriage education programs for low-income married couples with children in eight sites across the country. The year-long programs consist of a series of marriage education workshops with additional family support services and referrals.

New Findings on Policy Experiments Conducted in the Early 1990s

April, 2005

In welfare and employment programs that provide earnings supplements, increased family income plays a key role in improving children’s school achievement.

Evidence from Three States

March, 2005

In a study of over 3,500 women in welfare-to-work programs in three states, child care instability did not appear to be a major cause of employment instability.

Basic Characteristics of Economically Disadvantaged Couples in the U.S.

July, 2004

Using recent surveys and published reports, this working paper assembles a portrait of the attitudes and behaviors of disadvantaged married couples. It gathers and assesses descriptive statistics on the formation and stability, characteristics, and quality of marriages in the low-income population in the U.S. We welcome discussion and comments on this working paper.

The Role of Informal Care in the Lives of Low-Income Women and Children

October, 2003

Drawing on ethnographic interviews, this policy brief describes the patchwork child care arrangements made by low-income parents and discusses implications for policies that would promote the dual objectives of child well-being and parental employment.

Evidence from Ten Experimental Welfare-to-Work Programs

June, 2003

Evidence from Random Assignment Studies of Welfare and Work Programs

June, 2003

The Effects of Welfare Reform Policies on Marriage and Cohabitation

April, 2003

Patching Together Care for Children When Parents Move from Welfare to Work

April, 2003

Ethnographic Evidence from Working Poor Families in the New Hope Intervention

April, 2003

How Welfare and Work Policies Influence Parents' Decisions

August, 2002

Congressional deliberations on the future of welfare reform have reopened a debate about whether current child care assistance programs adequately support employment among low-income working parents while also fostering their children's development. Issues at the forefront of this debate are explored in this timely new policy brief.

Lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies

July, 2002

This report distills lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) with a focus on the effectiveness of employment-focused versus education-focused programs in helping people move from welfare to work.

Evidence and Lessons to Guide TANF Reauthorization

June, 2002

A Synthesis of Research

May, 2002

The latest research synthesis from the Next Generation project takes a closer look at troubling findings regarding the effects of welfare and work programs on the teenaged children of program enrollees.

The Effects of Adult Education in Welfare-to-Work Programs

March, 2002

Since the early 1980s, welfare policymakers and program operators have debated the role of adult education in program strategies to help welfare recipients make the transition from welfare to work. This report addresses key questions about how welfare-to-work programs that emphasize adult education activities affect the educational and economic outcomes of welfare recipients.

Integrating and Instrumental Variables Analytic Method with an Experimental Design

January, 2002

Welfare-Reliant Women's Post-TANF Views of Work-Family Trade-offs and Marriage

December, 2001

Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs

December, 2001

How best to help people move from welfare to work — particularly whether an employment-focused approach or an education-focused approach is more effective — has been a subject of long-standing debate. This report summary, which describes the long-term effects of 11 different mandatory welfare-to-work programs for single parents and their children, takes a major step toward resolving this debate. 

Situating Child Care and Child Care Subsidy Use in the Daily Routines of Lower-Income Families

December, 2001

The Effects of Welfare and Employment Programs on Child Care

September, 2001

The Effects of a Mandate to Enter a Welfare-to-Work Program

November, 2000

Impacts of 20 Welfare-to-Work Programs by Subgroup

August, 2000

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

August, 2000

A Synthesis of Child Research Conducted as Part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies

June, 2000

Business-Led Initiative for Welfare Reform and Economic Development

January, 1997

The Evolution of Innovative School-to-Work Programs

January, 1997

Two Year Findings on the Labor Force Attachment and Human Capital Development Programs in Three Sites

January, 1997

AFDC Families with Preschool-Aged Children in Atlanta at the Outset of the JOBS Evaluation.

January, 1995

Innovative Programs Linking School and Work

January, 1994
Project Overview

Teach for America (TFA) is a national, externally validated program that recruits, selects, and trains new teachers, referred to as corps members, for placement in high-need urban and rural communities across the country, with the expectation that they put their students on the path to college and life success.

Project Overview

Many U.S. households do not have enough savings to help manage temporary losses of income or increased expenditures from unexpected events.

Project Overview

This project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides research and evaluation support for the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, which seeks to clarify the extent to which changes in school district professional development systems lead to different teacher experiences and measu

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

At the time this project began, a third of all babies in the United States were born to unmarried mothers, and the fraction was even higher among low-income families.

Project Overview

The Supporting Healthy Marriage project is the first large-scale, multisite, multiyear, rigorous test of marriage education programs for low-income married couples.

Project Overview

To prepare young people for productive and satisfying adult lives in the competitive global marketplace, local high schools and employers are being asked to develop effective school-to-work programs.

Project Overview

The welfare system has been transformed over the past two decades, notably through the introduction of stricter work requirements and time limits on cash assistance in the 1990s. At the same time, government at both the federal and the state level invested in offering financial work supports of unprecedented scope to low-income parents.