New Hope’s Effects on Children’s Future Orientation and Employment Experiences
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.
This working paper focuses on New Hope’s impacts on adolescents’ future orientation (i.e., attitudes and expectancies about work, involvement in employment and career preparation activities) and employment experiences (e.g., duration and intensity of employment) eight years after random assignment. Interest in these outcomes is partly an outgrowth of New Hope’s earlier effects on child functioning. The findings show that New Hope reduced adolescents’ cynical attitudes about work and increased the extent to which they were involved in employment and career preparation activities.