Lessons for Practitioners
This 12-page brief distills practical implementation lessons from four programs that help low-wage workers access and retain child care subsidies, public health insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and other related government benefits.
Navigating Career Advancement for Low-Wage Workers
This report, from MDRC’s Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration, explores how WASC career coaches help low-wage workers understand the complex interactions between earnings and eligibility for work support programs and guide them to make the best advancement decisions possible.
An evaluation of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), the state’s welfare waiver program, found that the program produced substantially larger increases in employment and earnings among welfare recipients living in public or subsidized housing than among recipients in private housing. This paper examines several possible reasons that may account for these findings, including differences in characteristics between the two groups of recipients, differences in their proximity to jobs, differences in residential stability, which might aid in the transition to work, and interactions between MFIP’s work incentives and the public/subsidized housing rent rules. The evidence, although indirect, suggests that interactions between MFIP rules and the rent rules in public housing helped to produce larger employment impacts for residents in public or subsidized housing.
An Update on the Effects of Four Earnings Supplement Programs on Employment, Earnings, and Income
Four programs that supplemented the earnings of low-income adults increased employment, earnings, and income — particularly for the most disadvantaged — but these effects generally faded after the programs ended.
Evidence from the WASC Demonstration
Although many states are taking steps to offer simplified access to the food stamp program, little is known about the effect this might have on food stamp error rates. This paper studies the effects on error rates in two sites that were part of the Work Advancement Support Center demonstration, which aimed to help individuals in low-income jobs boost their income by making the most of available work supports, including food stamps.
Implementing the Fort Worth Work Advancement and Support Center Program
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.
Improving Services for Low-Income Working Families
A collaboration of MDRC and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, this report explores how best to improve job stability and career advancement of low-wage earners and increase their household income.
In a rapidly growing low-wage labor market, the workforce investment system and the Workforce Investment Act should expand their focus to include job retention and advancement services by engaging private employers and to enhance the accessibility of work supports.