Betsy L.
Tessler
Research Associate, Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy Area

Tessler has 20 years of experience with operations and implementation research at MDRC, focusing on employment, training, and career and technical education among low-wage workers and individuals receiving housing and food assistance. She has designed and led implementation research and analysis, both within the context of randomized controlled trials and as implementation-only studies; provided technical assistance on program operations; and authored numerous MDRC reports. She is currently the lead implementation researcher for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) national evaluation of the Family Self-Sufficiency program, which provides housing voucher recipients with case management and an escrow savings account to encourage progress toward economic self-sufficiency. She previously led the implementation research for HUD’s Jobs Plus evaluation, an employment-focused program for public housing residents. Tessler also leads implementation research for the U.S. Department of Labor’s TechHire/Strengthening Working Families Initiative evaluation, which is testing innovative programs to improve employment and earnings for young adults in high-tech industries. Tessler was an operations lead and implementation research team member for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training Evaluation, which developed and tested new ways to increase the number of SNAP work registrants who obtain unsubsidized employment, increase their earned income, and reduce their reliance on public assistance. Earlier projects include WorkAdvance, a sector-based employment, training, and advancement program, and Opportunity NYC–Work Rewards, which added cash incentives for employment and training activities to the case management services provided by New York City’s Family Self-Sufficiency program. Tessler came to MDRC in 2001 with more than 10 years of experience working in community-based organizations, including community organizing, advocacy, and fundraising organizations, as well as several years as special assistant to a Philadelphia City Council member. She earned a master of arts degree in public policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.