A Jobs Program Broke the Rules to Succeed. Now the Rules May Change.

The New York Times

Pursuit’s training and job-placement formula is similar to larger, older nonprofits that have helped low-income workers including Year UpPer ScholasNPowerProject Quest and WorkAdvance.

The programs combine technical training with basic professional skills like communications, teamwork, résumé writing and job interviewing. They also help members with so-called wraparound services such as transportation, housing and child care, usually through referrals to community organizations.

Pursuit stands out for the length of its program and the size of its reported income gains. The coursework and training typically last a year, though it can be extended to accommodate individual circumstances. That is followed by three years of mentorship and coaching after a graduate get a job.

The average salary of people entering the program is $19,000 and the average for graduates is $90,000. More than 40 percent of enrollees are women, nearly two-thirds are Black or Latino, and three-quarters do not have four-year college degrees.

Pursuit graduates have been hired at a wide range of companies including Citibank, Blackstone, Uber, Spotify and start-ups.

The evidence to date suggests that Pursuit is “an innovative, excellent and deeply committed program with tons of promise,” said Lawrence Katz, a Harvard labor economist who studies the impact of worker training efforts.

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