MDRC has developed and tested many programs to help unemployed people gain a foothold in the labor market, particularly those who face serious obstacles to finding and keeping jobs.

The Latest
Report

The federal Family Self-Sufficiency program works with Housing Choice Voucher recipients to foster economic self-sufficiency and boost assets through case management and an escrow account for participants’ increased earnings. This three-year report examines program implementation, participants’ engagement, and impacts on employment, government benefits receipt, and material and financial well-being.

Issue Focus

Career and technical education programs are trying to address challenges faced by disadvantaged students, particularly Black students and other students of color. Access is only part of the path to equity as these programs focus on inclusive workplace environments, meaningful mentorships, and language that emphasizes strengths rather than real or presumed deficits.

Key Documents
Report

Final Results of the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project and Selected Sites from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

Issue Focus

In this commentary published by Spotlight on Poverty, MDRC President Gordon Berlin makes the case for creating a more flexible safety net that continues to reward work when jobs are plentiful, provides employment to poor families when jobs disappear, and begins to address the problem of stagnant wages at the low end of the labor market.

Brief

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

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.