Yang joined MDRC in 2008 and her work spans the areas of employment, housing and homelessness, financial inclusion, community development, and postsecondary education. Her work encompasses project development, project management, data science methods, impact and process analyses, and benefit-cost analysis. She has directed a variety of evaluations and technical assistance projects, including HomePath, a study on shared medical appointments for people who have experienced homelessness and opioid use disorder; and the Gaining Unemployment Insurance Data Expertise (GUIDE) and SkillUp projects, which provide technical capacity—building for organizations aiming to improve equity in the labor market. She also leads the technical work on the Paycheck Plus replication study in Atlanta, the Purpose Built Communities evaluation, the Men of Color College Achievement (MoCCA) study, the New World of Work evaluation, various tasks on the Supporting Moves to Opportunity study and the Rent Reform Demonstration, and key technical assistance initiatives on the TANF Data Innovations project. Yang holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
MDRC PublicationsCommentaryApril, 2023
In this commentary originally published in GovTech, Edith Yang explains how gathering and analyzing data are only two components of successful data projects. The right combination of people, perseverance, and project scoping are just as important.Report
A Toolkit for State and Local Agencies on How to Access, Link, and Analyze Unemployment Insurance Wage DataNovember, 2022
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies are increasingly focused on using administrative data to assess how well programs are working and to inform policies and best practices. This toolkit was created to help TANF professionals develop more robust practices using employment data for program monitoring, reporting, and evaluation.BriefSeptember, 2022
The Center for Data Insights at MDRC has partnered with many organizations to develop and execute a variety of data projects. Important lessons have emerged from this collaborative work about the three ingredients essential to successful data projects. This brief discusses those ingredients.BriefSeptember, 2022
The New World of Work (NWoW), a program that promoted teaching soft skills—the capabilities and habits that affect communication, social interactions, and problem-solving—operated briefly in over 75 community colleges in California. This brief describes statistical analyses of assessments NWoW used to grant credentials in those soft skills.Report
Final Impact Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in AtlantaMarch, 2022
Paycheck Plus expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit for single workers with low incomes and without qualifying children in two cities, offering a tax credit of up to $2,000. This report presents three-year findings from the program in Atlanta.BriefFebruary, 2022
CDI has collaborated with two of MDRC’s long-standing program partners, Per Scholas and the Center for Employment Opportunities, to create and implement tools that can more fully capture participants’ lived expertise. This brief summarizes lessons learned from these partnerships.ReportJanuary, 2021
The Rent Reform Demonstration is testing an alternative rent-setting system for housing choice voucher recipients. It offers an employment incentive and aims to reduce administrative complexity and cost without burdening participating households. This report presents impacts on labor market and housing-related outcomes through roughly three and a half years.Report
Findings and Lessons from Three Colleges’ Efforts to Build on the iPASS InitiativeDecember, 2020
The iPASS initiative aims to helps colleges use technology-based advising practices to improve students’ academic performance and college completion rates. This report describes how three schools used enhanced iPASS services in an effort to strengthen and reform their existing advising practices, including the standard version of iPASS.Report
Interim Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in AtlantaMarch, 2020
The Earned Income Tax Credit reduces poverty for many low-income families but does little for workers without dependent children. Paycheck Plus, being tested in New York City and Atlanta, offers an expanded credit to this population. This report presents its two-year impacts on employment, earnings, and income in Atlanta.Report
Ongoing Implementation ExperiencesNovember, 2019
Households receiving federal rental subsidies struggle to become self-sufficient. Jobs Plus provides grants to public housing agencies to offer tenants employment-related services, rent-based work incentives, and community support for work. This report examines a second round of Jobs Plus implementation, including evolving program operations, challenges, resident participation, and technical assistance.Report
Studying Enhancements to Colleges’ iPASS PracticesJuly, 2019
Frequent advising seems to help struggling students, but advisers’ time is limited; could technology make a difference? This study examines the effects of three institutions’ efforts to expand the use of advising technologies and to use administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers.Report
Learning from the New York City Demonstration (2016-2018)June, 2019
A change in state law presents an opportunity for organizations to access administrative wage data to help evaluate and improve their workforce programs. This guide, based on lessons from the Change Capital Fund economic mobility initiative, explains some of the challenges involved and offers practical advice for interested community organizations.Report
Stability and ChangeJanuary, 2019
Community organizations are at the center of neighborhood improvement efforts. But how do organizational networks evolve over time, and how does their evolution affect local capacity for positive change? This report takes on these questions to advance an understanding of how community networks function, and how to better support them.Report
Learning from the Chicago Community Networks StudyNovember, 2017
This report presents findings from the Chicago Community Networks study — one of the most extensive efforts to measure interorganizational partnerships in local neighborhoods. It uses social network analysis and extensive field research to ask how specific patterns of partnership promote better-implemented collaborations that, in turn, can inform public policy.Report
Final Results from the Family Self-Sufficiency Study in New York CitySeptember, 2017
FSS provides case management services and a long-term escrow-savings account to housing-assisted families; an enhanced version also offered short-term cash work incentives. Six-year results of the random assignment evaluation show few significant effects overall for either program. However, the enhanced program increased employment and earnings for participants not working at enrollment.Report
Findings from Family Rewards 2.0September, 2016
A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.Report
Findings from the Project Rise Implementation EvaluationOctober, 2015
Project Rise offers education, a paid internship, and case management to young adults who lack a high school credential and have been out of work and school for at least six months. Participants, who were attracted more by the educational instruction than by the internship, substantially engaged with the program.Report
Interim Findings from the Work Rewards Demonstration in New York CityJune, 2015
This report presents four-year findings from a test of three interventions: the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, FSS plus cash work incentives, and cash work incentives alone. FSS+incentives improved employment and earnings among participants who were not working at study entry, but none of the interventions had impacts for participants overall.Report
The Continuing Story of the Opportunity NYC−Family Rewards DemonstrationSeptember, 2013
Family Rewards, a three-year demonstration, provided cash payments to low-income families in New York City for achieving specific health, education, and employment goals. New results show that the program substantially reduced poverty and material hardship while it operated and had positive results in improving some education, health, and work-related outcomes.Report
Early Findings from a Program for Housing Voucher Recipients in New York CityDecember, 2012
Opportunity NYC–Work Rewards is testing three ways of increasing work among families receiving housing vouchers — services and a savings plan under the federal Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, the FSS program plus cash incentives for sustained full-time work, and the cash incentives alone. Early results suggest intriguing positive findings for certain subgroups.
Inadequate social, emotional, and campus support
Insufficient college preparation and academic achievement
With support from the $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund, Social Finance aims to empower more than 20,000 learners to realize over $1 billion in aggregate wage gains over the next decade. Google Career Certificates are industry-recognized credentials that prepare people for in-demand, entry-level jobs in the fields of data analytics, IT...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...
Men of color bring a variety of strengths and assets to their college experience. However, research to date indicates that three primary hurdles inhibit college completion for many male students of color:
HomePath is a combined Housing First and shared-medical-appointments intervention. It aims to increase housing stability, improve treatment outcomes, and reduce returns to shelters, emergency rooms, and justice systems for people who have experienced homelessness and are struggling with opioid addiction.
Housing First is a person-centered approach to reducing...Richard Hendra, Stephanie Rubino, Erika Lundquist, Melissa Wavelet, Johanna Walter, Edith Yang, Mark van Dok, Audrey Yu
TANF Data Innovation (TDI) is a national initiative to support state, local, and tribal agencies that administer Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the federal agencies that oversee this work. This initiative aims to substantially expand the routine use, integration, and...James A. Riccio, Cynthia Miller, Nandita Verma, Edith Yang, Jared Smith, Gilda Azurdia, Donna Wharton-Fields, Anne Warren, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra
Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modeled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to poor families, contingent on their meeting certain criteria related to family health care, children’s education...
Soft skills (also known as noncognitive, employability, or 21st-century skills) are increasingly viewed as essential for favorable outcomes in both education and employment. Yet employers consistently report that these abilities—such as working well with a team, problem-solving, and thriving in diverse work settings—are lacking in their job applicants. In...Alexander Mayer, Melissa Boynton, Michelle Ware, John Diamond, Rebekah O'Donoghue, Edith Yang, Dorota Biedzio Rizik, Erika B. Lewy
Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which recently made its second large investment in 26 colleges and universities engaged in technology-mediated advising reform.
The iPASS initiative provides technology tools and data about students’ academic...
Despite improvements to the physical conditions of many low-income neighborhoods and the reversal of the disinvestment experienced in the 1970s to 1990s, poverty and limited economic mobility remain obstacles to residents of very low-income communities. For this reason, the New York City Change Capital Fund (CCF), a collaboration of 17...James A. Riccio, Nandita Verma, Gilda Azurdia, Edith Yang, Jonathan Bigelow, Keith Olejniczak, Joshua Vermette, Audrey Yu, Melissa West
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is one of the federal government’s major programs for helping very low-income families with children, elderly people, and disabled people afford decent and safe housing in the private rental market. Housing vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies with funding from the U.S. Department 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 the United States, over six million young people are “disconnected” — neither in school nor working. Over a million of these disconnected young adults are between the ages of 18 and 24 years but lack either a high school diploma or equivalency certificate. These young adults’ limited education and work experience severely reduce their prospects for becoming...
Can community-led efforts improve outcomes for residents at the neighborhood level? This is a critical question for policy and practice. For over a decade, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has supported the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC Chicago) to make neighborhoods safer, support young people,...James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Nandita Verma, Donna Wharton-Fields, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Edith Yang, Betsy L. Tessler, Nikki Ortolani
In March 2007, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his intention to test a set of antipoverty initiatives, called Opportunity NYC, that would use temporary cash payments to poor families to boost their income in the short term, while building their ability to avoid longer-term and second-generation poverty. Such payments...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...Richard Hendra, Cynthia Miller, Susan Scrivener, Frieda Molina, David Navarro, Barbara S. Goldman, Dan Bloom, John Martinez, Mark van Dok, Erika Lundquist, Edith Yang, Alexandra Pennington
The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment. These changes — especially cash welfare’s transformation from an entitlement into a time-limited benefit contingent on work participation — have intensified the need to help low-income families become economically self-...Nandita Verma, James A. Riccio, Donna Wharton-Fields, Betsy L. Tessler, Nikki Ortolani, Jonathan Bigelow, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra, Edith Yang
Public housing developments are among the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the United States. In fact, many public housing residents face obstacles to employment even beyond those normally experienced by other low-income people. To address this problem, Jobs-Plus was conceived in the mid-1990s by the U.S. Department of Housing and...