We Focus On
MDRC designs and studies solutions for issues across
the policy spectrum – in education from preschool to postsecondary,
in workforce development, and on issues related to individuals and families
who are disconnected from the worlds of work and education.
Over the past 25 years, MDRC has built a strong reputation as a respected, trustworthy source of information about what works to improve students prospects for academic success in elementary, middle, and high school and about what it takes to put effective interventions into place.
For low-income people, community colleges offer an important pathway out of poverty and into better jobs. But a host of factors, including inadequate financial aid or student services and poor developmental classes, can keep them from enrolling in and completing postsecondary education. For a summary of MDRC’s findings in higher education, check out Lessons from MDRC’s Postsecondary Research.
At-Risk Young People
Only 68 of every 100 ninth-graders in public schools will complete high school on time. Among those who do graduate, many leave high school without developing the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or in postsecondary education.
Families with Children
MDRCʼs families and children studies aim to deepen public understanding of how the life chances of low-income children and youth are influenced by policies that affect their familiesʼ economic circumstances, family relationships, or the opportunities available for child and youth development.
Work and Income Security
Long regarded as the premier investigator of policies designed to improve the lives of low-income families on welfare, MDRC is bringing its research skills and reputation for methodological rigor to the new challenge of learning what works best to improve the economic and social health of low-income workers and communities.
Criminal and Juvenile Justice
After a four-decade surge in incarceration, the United States – with about 5 percent of the world’s population – now holds more than 20 percent of its prisoners. Policymakers at all levels of government have been implementing reforms that aim to reduce the use of incarceration, save money for taxpayers, and maintain public safety. MDRC has built evidence on a range of these reforms at all points in the justice system, from the pre-trial phase to prisoner reentry.
Millions of Americans face serious obstacles to steady work. These individuals often become enmeshed in costly public assistance and enforcement systems, and, just as important, many find themselves living in poverty, outside the mainstream in a society that prizes work and self-sufficiency.