When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.
Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
A Feasibility Study of the Bridges to Pathways Program
In a program to reduce criminal justice involvement, participants received mentoring, case management, subsidized internships, and the opportunity to earn a high school credential. The program reduced the arrest rate for felonies and violent crimes but did not affect overall rates of arrest or incarceration, educational or training certification, or employment.
Summary Report on the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation
This report summarizes an evaluation of a program that helps young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody become independent adults. The program improved earnings, housing stability and economic well-being, and some health and safety outcomes. It did not improve education, social support, or criminal involvement outcomes.
Current Policy, Prominent Programs, and Evidence
This paper reviews the available evidence supporting various types of career and technical education programs, touching on both the amount of evidence available in each area and its level of rigor.
The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.
Lessons from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Pilot Project
Executive skills are the cognitive abilities that make it possible for people to set goals, regulate impulses, and complete the steps necessary to achieve their objectives. This paper describes a pilot of a coaching strategy based on executive skills conducted with three programs serving young people.
Two-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation
This study tested a program that offers individualized services to young people who are making the transition from foster care or juvenile justice custody to independent living. The program had modest, positive effects on earnings, housing stability, and economic well-being and improved some health and safety outcomes.
A Guide to Social Impact Bond Investing
MDRC President Gordon Berlin draws lessons from MDRC’s implementation of the first social impact bond (SIB) project in the United States, providing valuable insights into the inner workings of SIB deals and explaining the challenges and the potential of this impact investing model.
One-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation
This study evaluated a program, called YVLifeSet, that offers individualized services to young people who are making the transition from foster care or juvenile justice custody to independent adulthood. After one year, the program increased earnings, reduced homelessness and material hardship, and improved outcomes related to health and safety.