Population: Low-Income Populations

Low-Wage Workers

The income of low-wage workers is often not enough to lift them and their families out of poverty. MDRC is designing and testing initiatives to improve the financial well-being of low-wage workers and help them remain steadily employed and move into better jobs.

The Latest
Brief

Procedural justice centers on the idea that individuals’ perception of the fairness of a process determines how they respond to it. In this random assignment demonstration, child support programs are applying this principle to reframe their work with families as a respectful, problem-solving endeavor.

Report

This first national randomized controlled trial of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program — the main federal strategy to help housing voucher recipients make progress toward economic mobility — examined program implementation, participants’ engagement, and impacts on labor force participation and benefits receipt in the first 24 months of this five-year program.

Key Documents
Report

Lessons from the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

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.

Report

Implementation and Final Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) Demonstration

WASC sought to increase the incomes of low-wage workers by stabilizing employment, improving skills, increasing earnings, and easing access to work supports. The program increased workers’ receipt of work supports. In the two sites that eased access to funds for training, WASC increased the receipt of certificates and licenses and increased earnings in the third year.

Report

Two-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration

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.