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.
Findings from Three New Studies of Youth Employment Programs
Over four million young people in the United States are “disconnected,” meaning they are not in school and are not working. In the past few months, studies of three programs aimed at such young people have released new findings. This brief discusses these findings and their implications.
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.
A Case Study
Drawing from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, this case study is designed as a teaching guide for students and practitioners. Using the example of an effort to increase participation in a tax-credit program, exercises help readers apply behavioral science principles to a real-life problem.
Lessons from the BIAS Project
The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project launched an intervention in California to engage families in a welfare-to-work program and another intervention in New York to encourage low-income single adults without dependent children to attend a meeting about an earnings supplement program intended to provide an incentive to work.
Using Behavioral Insights to Encourage People to Participate
Several low-cost behavioral messaging interventions boosted participant attendance at an optional informational meeting for Paycheck Plus, an earnings supplement program in New York City. This test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.
Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults
This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.
In a rapidly growing low-wage labor market, the workforce investment system and the Workforce Investment Act should expand their focus to include job retention and advancement services by engaging private employers and to enhance the accessibility of work supports.
Improving Services for Low-Income Working Families
A collaboration of MDRC and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, this report explores how best to improve job stability and career advancement of low-wage earners and increase their household income.