When Washington state’s Division of Child Support closed its offices in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, its employment program—Families Forward Washington—kept running with minimal interruption, because the original design was based on working remotely. Its model may offer useful pointers for other service agencies for adapting to the pandemic.
Amid keen interest in helping students, young adults, and low-wage workers build the skills necessary to succeed in a technologically advanced economy, MDRC is studying a range of programs that feature employer involvement, such as career pathways from high school into college and the workforce, work-based learning, apprenticeships, and sectoral training.
Past Successes, Enduring Challenges, and Future Considerations
Focusing on NYC’s small high schools of choice, this reflection on MDRC’s recent high school reform research considers responses to five challenges: creating personalized, orderly learning environments; assisting students with poor academic skills; improving instructional content and practice; preparing students for the future; and stimulating change in overstressed high schools.
A First Look at Effects on Postsecondary Persistence and Labor Market Outcomes
Four years after scheduled graduation, students from small high schools of choice, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, were more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary education and to be participating in “productive activity” (being in college, being employed, or both) than their control group counterparts.
Current Policy, Prominent Programs, and Evidence
This paper reviews the available evidence supporting various types of career and technical education programs, touching on both the amount of evidence available in each area and its level of rigor.
Final Impacts and Costs of New York City’s Young Adult Internship Program
This report presents 30-month impacts from a random assignment evaluation of a program that subsidized employers to offer temporary paid jobs to young people who were disconnected from school and work in New York City. After 30 months, program enrollees and nonenrollees fared similarly, with the former slightly more likely to report employment.
Career pathways programs, which equip high school students with the academic, technical, and “soft” skills they need to succeed, can also help meet local employer demand for skilled workers. This issue focus introduces one such initiative that uses paid internships to help students gain a foothold in a high-wage industry.
The Case of Career and Technical Education
In the complex high school choice process, families may face an additional layer of decisions if they are considering career and technical education programs, which vary widely in their structure, content, and quality. This issue focus emphasizes the importance of providing families with clear information about how to compare them.
The Effects of New York City’s Small High Schools of Choice on Postsecondary Enrollment
New data from a rigorous study confirm that New York City’s small public high schools, which have nonselective admissions and serve many disadvantaged students, increase rates of graduation and college attendance for a wide range of groups, including students of color.
The city’s small, academically nonselective high schools have substantially improved graduation rates for disadvantaged students. This report demonstrates that, because more of their students graduate and do so within four years, the schools have lower costs per graduate than the schools their study counterparts attended.