A key to interpreting study findings is considering not just the features of a program being tested, but how it differs from business as usual — which may change over the course of the evaluation. The Implementation Research Incubator discusses guidelines for measuring this contrast.
In a randomized controlled trial, measuring treatment contrast – the difference in services received by a program group and those in a counterfactual condition – is critical for understanding what a program’s effects suggest about the best ways to improve services. This paper explains why treatment contrast is important and offers guidance about how to measure it.
Findings after 10-15 years from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies suggest that while initially stressing job search for participants led to greater earnings in the short term than did initially stressing education and training, neither approach produced substantial effects past the five-year follow-up period.
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.
WorkAdvance provides demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs with career pathways. This preview summary finds that 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.
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.
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.
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.
This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, summarizes research on strategies that can increase TANF recipients’ and other low-income adults’ engagement and persistence in postsecondary education and training and boost their earnings.
This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, describes how strategies have helped welfare recipients enter employment and increase their earnings. However, more remains to be learned about how best to substantially increase their self-sufficiency and financial well-being.
This 12-page practitioner brief offers lessons for policy and practice from MDRC-conducted random assignment studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements to low-income parents to encourage employment and increase the payoff of low-wage work.
When current and former welfare recipients find jobs, they often lose them quickly and have trouble finding another job. This brief, based on the experiences of 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement evaluation, offers advice on how to design and implement practices that turn a recent job loss into an opportunity to find a better one.
This report presents the final implementation and impact findings for 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families. These programs attempted to promote steady work and career advancement for current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers.
A program in Los Angeles offering individualized and flexible case management services to working welfare recipients did not substantially increase the use of work-based services by participants – and did not lead to greater employment or higher earnings than did the county’s existing postemployment program.
Most welfare programs seek to ensure that poor families have adequate income while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency. Based on studies of 28 programs involving more than 100,000 sample members, this synthesis compares the costs, benefits, and returns on investment of six welfare program strategies – from the perspectives of participants, government budgets, and society as a whole.
An on-site program at long-term nursing care facilities had little effect overall on retention of low-wage employees, aside from a small increase in retention in the short term and among subgroups with particularly high turnover rates.
Cynthia Miller, Helen Bewley, Verity Campbell-Barr, Richard Dorsett, Gayle Hamilton, Lesley Hoggart, Tatiana Homonoff, Alan Marsh, Kathryn Ray, James A. Riccio, Sandra Vegeris
This report published by the UK Department for Work and Pensions presents new findings on the effects of a program to help long-term unemployed individuals who receive government benefits in Great Britain and participate in a welfare-to-work program, New Deal 25 Plus, retain jobs and advance in the labor market.
This report, from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project, finds that unemployed welfare recipients in an enhanced job club had no better employment outcomes than participants in a traditional job club. At the end of the 18-month follow-up period, about half of both groups were employed.
James A. Riccio, Helen Bewley, Verity Campbell-Barr, Richard Dorsett, Gayle Hamilton, Lesley Hoggart, Alan Marsh, Cynthia Miller, Kathryn Ray, Sandra Vegeris
This report presents new and positive findings on the effects of Britain’s Employment Retention and Advancement demonstration. After two years, the program increased employment and earnings for single-parent participants. ERA offered a combination of job coaching and financial incentives to encourage low-income individuals to sustain employment and progress in work.
Two education and training programs for employed, single-parent welfare recipients had small impacts on attendance in basic education or training overall but had larger impacts for disadvantaged groups. However, over two years, neither program increased employment and earnings levels overall or for any subgroup.
Richard Dorsett, Verity Campbell-Barr, Gayle Hamilton, Lesley Hoggart, Alan Marsh, Cynthia Miller, Joan Phillips, Kathryn Ray, James A. Riccio, Sarah Rich, Sandra Vegeris
This report published by the UK Department for Work and Pensions presents encouraging findings on the early effects of Britain’s Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration. Aimed at helping low-income individuals sustain employment and progress in work, ERA offers a combination of job coaching and financial incentives to participants once they are working.
Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration
Robert Walker, Lesley Hoggart, Gayle Hamilton
The largest ever random assignment test of a social policy in Britain is being applied in a demonstration of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) program. This report, written by MDRC and British colleagues as part of a consortium of social policy research firms and produced for the UK Department for Work and Pensions, examines how well random assignment worked.
Lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies
This report distills lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) with a focus on the effectiveness of employment-focused versus education-focused programs in helping people move from welfare to work.
Since the early 1980s, welfare policymakers and program operators have debated the role of adult education in program strategies to help welfare recipients make the transition from welfare to work. This report addresses key questions about how welfare-to-work programs that emphasize adult education activities affect the educational and economic outcomes of welfare recipients.
How best to help people move from welfare to work — particularly whether an employment-focused approach or an education-focused approach is more effective — has been a subject of long-standing debate. This report summary, which describes the long-term effects of 11 different mandatory welfare-to-work programs for single parents and their children, takes a major step toward resolving this debate.