Population: Low-Income Populations

Low-Wage Workers

The income of low-wage workers is often not enough to lift them and their families out of poverty. MDRC is designing and testing initiatives to improve the financial well-being of low-wage workers and help them remain steadily employed and move into better jobs.

The Latest
Report

Paycheck Plus offers workers without dependent children an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) worth up to $2,000 per year for three years (four times the current EITC for singles). Results after two years from a random assignment evaluation show that it has increased income and work rates.

Report

Jobs Plus promotes employment among public housing residents through employment services, rent rule changes that provide incentives to work, and community support for work. Within the first 18 months, all nine public housing agencies in this evaluation had begun structuring their programs, building partnerships, and implementing the model’s core components.

Key Documents
Report

Lessons from the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. This report describes results and draws lessons from rigorous evaluations of 12 programs seeking to improve employment retention and advancement among low-wage workers.

Report

Implementation and Final Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) Demonstration

WASC sought to increase the incomes of low-wage workers by stabilizing employment, improving skills, increasing earnings, and easing access to work supports. The program increased workers’ receipt of work supports. In the two sites that eased access to funds for training, WASC increased the receipt of certificates and licenses and increased earnings in the third year.

Report

Two-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration

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.