Schultz leads program implementation for Paycheck Plus, which simulates an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for single workers without dependent children. She also leads program and site development for the Families Forward Demonstration, a test of strategies to improve the earnings and financial capabilities of noncustodial parents. Previously she managed SaveUSA, which offered matched savings accounts to tax filers who saved all or part of their tax refunds, and AutoSave, a workplace savings plan that automatically diverted a small portion of employees’ paychecks into unrestricted (after-tax, nonretirement) savings accounts. Earlier in her career at MDRC, Schultz helped to implement the WorkAdvance employment and training replication study and the Work Advancement and Support Center demonstration. She also helped to assess programs that connected workers, through their employers, to publicly and privately funded benefits such as health insurance, child care subsidies, and tax credits. Before joining MDRC in 2004, she worked on the design, operation, and evaluation of community development initiatives and jobs programs. Most recently she was program director for a business-labor-community employment partnership in six industry sectors.
MDRC PublicationsIssue FocusJune, 2021
Unemployed or underemployed parents have trouble paying child support. In the Families Forward Demonstration, child support agencies sought to help parents get better jobs and increase their earnings by teaching job skills needed by local employers. The questions arising from the project may help other agencies evaluate prospective job training partners.Report
A Partnership Between Child Support Agencies and Local Service ProvidersApril, 2021
The Families Forward Demonstration examined strategies to help parents with low and middle incomes make reliable child support payments by increasing employment and earnings. The model, which emphasized free occupational training activities, shows promise for helping parents qualify for jobs in their chosen fields and for improving child support compliance.Report
Final Impact Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in New York CitySeptember, 2018
Paycheck Plus raises the top tax credit for low-income workers without dependent children from $500 to $2,000. In a three-year test, the program increased after-credit earnings, reducing severe poverty; modestly improved employment among women and more disadvantaged men; and led to more noncustodial parents paying child support.Report
Interim Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in New York CitySeptember, 2017
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.Brief
Year 1 of Paycheck PlusDecember, 2015
The Paycheck Plus demonstration is testing the effects of a more generous Earned Income Tax Credit-like earnings supplement for low-income single adults in New York City. This brief describes the implementation of the program during the first year and supplement receipt rates during the 2015 tax season.Report
Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the SaveUSA EvaluationApril, 2014
This report describes the early effects of a program helping low- and moderate-income families build up unrestricted-use savings via tax refunds. Individuals who save a pledged amount for a year earn a 50-percent match payment. After 18 months, SaveUSA had increased the percentage of individuals with savings and boosted average savings amounts.Brief
Preliminary Implementation Findings from the SaveUSA EvaluationApril, 2013
SaveUSA, a pilot program in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa, offers a matched savings account to low-income tax filers, building on the opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. This 12-page brief offers early implementation findings.Report
Implementing the Fort Worth Work Advancement and Support Center ProgramApril, 2011
This report examines the design and operation of a program called Project Earn, in Fort Worth, Texas, one of four sites in MDRC’s Work Advancement and Support Center demonstration. The program combined two types of income-building services for low-wage workers — skills training and connection to work supports, such as food stamps, child care subsidies, and tax credits — and delivered them in workplaces in collaboration with employers.
ProjectsJoAnn Hsueh, Amena Sengal, Caroline Schultz, Emily Hanno, Ilana Blum, Katie Beal, Mallory Undestad, Marta Benito-Gomez, Meghan McCormick, Samantha Wulfsohn, Sharon Huang, Ximena Portilla, Brenna Healy
The Measures for Early Success Initiative, led by MDRC with foundational support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to reimagine the landscape of early learning assessments for three- to five-year-olds in pre-K so that more equitable data can be used to meaningfully support and strengthen early learning experiences for all...Nandita Verma, James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Jonathan Bigelow, Cynthia Miller, Caroline Schultz, Edith Yang, Melissa West
Growing up in high-poverty, highly segregated neighborhoods can limit the future prospects of young children. But low-income families with children often lack sufficient resources and face other systemic barriers to choosing freely what neighborhoods they live in. The federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, which subsidizes rent for some low-income...Megan Millenky, Dan Bloom, Susan Scrivener, Charles Michalopoulos, Dina A. R. Israel, Johanna Walter, Lauren Cates, Sally Dai, Caroline Mage, Emily Marano, Viktoriya Syrov, Douglas Phillips, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Osvaldo Avila, Emily Brennan, Jillian Verrillo, Gilda Azurdia, Frieda Molina, Shelley Rappaport, Clinton Key, Nandita Verma, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Shawna Anderson, Kelsey Schaberg, Caitlin Anzelone, James A. Riccio, Keri West, Caroline Schultz, Ethan Feldman
Many Americans struggle in the labor market even when overall economic conditions are good. Unemployment is persistently high for some demographic groups and in certain geographic areas, and a large proportion of working-age adults — about two in five in 2019 — tend to be out of the labor force. Factors such as systemic racism embedded in the economy and...Dan Bloom, Carolyn Hill, Caroline Schultz, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Bret Barden, Jennifer (Jenny) Hausler
More than one-third of all children under 18 — about 24 million children — live in single-parent families, the vast majority headed by single mothers. Although there have been improvements (such as automatic deductions from paychecks) in collecting and distributing child support from noncustodial parents (those who do not have physical custody of their children), more...
Many U.S. households do not have enough savings to help manage temporary losses of income or increased expenditures from unexpected events. Increased savings might particularly help low- and moderate-income families avoid resorting to high-cost (sometimes “payday”) loans or failing to meet monthly rent bills and minimum credit card payments. To support the buildup of...Cynthia Miller, Dan Bloom, Gilda Azurdia, Caroline Schultz, Nikki Ortolani, Edith Yang, Alexandra Bernardi
The New York City Center for Economic Opportunity has selected MDRC and its partners to implement and evaluate a pilot program to simulate an expanded EITC in New York City for low-income single workers without dependent children, with the goal of increasing employment and earnings and reducing poverty.
In recent decades, families have shown a steady decline in their ability to weather a financial emergency. A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2011 estimated that about one-quarter of Americans lack the capacity to cover an unexpected expense by coming up with $2,000 within 30 days.James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Edith Yang, Donna Wharton-Fields, Nandita Verma, Caroline Schultz, Frieda Molina, Cynthia Miller, Richard Hendra, Barbara S. Goldman, Jared Smith, Mark van Dok, Natasha Piatnitskaia, Betsy L. Tessler, Stephanie Rubino, Sharon Rowser
The Social Innovation Fund ( SIF ) , an initiative enacted under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, deploys millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions in three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support. This work seeks to create a catalog of proven approaches that can be replicated...Frieda Molina, Cynthia Miller, David Navarro, James A. Riccio, Caroline Schultz, Betsy L. Tessler, Mark van Dok, Anne Warren, Alexandra Pennington
The wages and earnings of low-income workers have been stagnant or declining in real terms for approximately 35 years. Nationwide, the labor market-driven growth of the low-wage workforce has become a major issue for both the business community and the public. Low-wage workers represent a significant segment of the nation’s workforce: According to the Bureau of Labor...