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
Report

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.

Issue Focus

Researchers developing behavioral interventions begin by defining a problem, identifying “bottlenecks” that might hamper desired outcomes, and designing and testing possible solutions. In this Expert Commentary from the final report on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, Crystal Hall suggests three ideas for expanding the use of this process.

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.