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.
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.
Findings from Three New Studies of Youth Employment Programs
Over four million young people in the United States are “disconnected,” meaning they are not in school and are not working. In the past few months, studies of three programs aimed at such young people have released new findings. This brief discusses these findings and their implications.
A Study of the Implementation and Impacts of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program
This report examines the impacts of the nation’s largest summer youth jobs program — New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) — on young people’s education, employment, and earnings. The analysis uses an experimental design based on SYEP’s randomized lottery application system. The report also describes SYEP’s implementation and participants’ experiences.
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.
Lessons from Implementing a Rigorous Academic Program for At-Risk Young People
In Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school and who are at risk of dropping out simultaneously earn credits toward a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree. This report describes the program model and shares lessons learned from its implementation at three program sites.
This report discusses a pilot project to prepare adult education students in New York City for the new more rigorous GED exam. Revised writing and math curricula were offered to thousands of students, but attendance was erratic. Shorter lesson sequences and support outside the classroom might allow more students to benefit.
This brief essay by Gordon Berlin, first published by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, builds on MDRC’s experience as the intermediary in the nation’s first operational Social Impact Bond to describe three broad challenges facing the Pay for Success movement as it moves from promising concept to on-the-ground implementation.
Early Lessons from the New York City Social Impact Bond
A social impact bond (SIB) is an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to taxpayers. This report describes the first operational SIB in the U.S., explaining how an intervention for youth incarcerated at Rikers Island was developed, how the unique financing mechanism was arranged, and how the program was adapted and implemented at full scale.
This article, first published in Community Development Investment Review, proposes a vision of a social impact bond model that moves beyond just achieving cost-savings to spurring innovation, knowledge-building, rigorous evaluation, and, potentially, outcomes that achieve other socially desirable goals.