MDRC develops and tests programs to help people who are unemployed, or lack access to jobs with a living wage, gain a foothold in the labor market, particularly those who face serious obstacles on individual and systemic levels to finding and keeping jobs.

The Latest

Unemployment among young people is well above the national average. Among Black young adults, it is even higher. Generation Work aims to address this inequity by improving how local workforce development systems serve this population. This report examines the first five years of the initiative in five cities.


The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt project integrated procedural justice (the idea of fairness in processes) into enforcement at six child support agencies. After the study ended, the agencies could determine how they wished to continue to use procedural justice principles. This brief describes how they did so.

Key Documents

Final Results of the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project and Selected Sites from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project

Issue Focus

In this commentary published by Spotlight on Poverty, MDRC President Gordon Berlin makes the case for creating a more flexible safety net that continues to reward work when jobs are plentiful, provides employment to poor families when jobs disappear, and begins to address the problem of stagnant wages at the low end of the labor market.


Which Improves Welfare Recipients’ Earnings More in the Long Term?

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.