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

Tessler has more than 15 years of experience with operations and implementation research at MDRC, focusing primarily on employment, training, and work-support use among low-wage workers and individuals receiving housing and food assistance. She has designed and led implementation research and analysis, provided technical assistance on program operations, and authored numerous MDRC reports. She is currently the lead implementation researcher for two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development national evaluations: the 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; and the Jobs Plus evaluation, an employment-focused program for public housing residents. Tessler is also part of the operations and implementation research teams 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. Previous 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 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.