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.
An Independent Evaluation of the National Study of Learning Mindsets
One type of intervention to help students navigate the tricky transition to ninth grade communicates to them that their brains can grow “stronger.” This evaluation of one such intervention finds that it changed students’ beliefs and attitudes and produced impacts on their average academic performance.
This evaluation examines a “growth mindset” intervention for ninth-graders as they make the transition to high school. It aims to boost students’ ability to meet challenges and persist in school by demonstrating that academic setbacks do not indicate poor intelligence ― with the goal of enhancing academic resilience and, ultimately, performance.
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.
Too often, programs and policies do not consider the way people actually think and behave. Behavioral science demonstrates that even small hassles create barriers that prevent those in need of services from receiving them. This infographic provides a brief overview of how the Center for Applied Behavioral Science is improving social services by making use of behavioral insights.
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.
Early Lessons from Family Rewards 2.0
This project builds on NYC’s earlier experiment with a conditional cash transfer program to reduce poverty and improve education, health, and employment outcomes. It tests a revised model in the Bronx and Memphis, adding family guidance to modified incentives paid more frequently. Early implementation findings suggest deeper family engagement.
As the demand for high-skilled workers rises and the availability of well-paying jobs for young people declines, making a successful transition to adulthood has become increasingly challenging for disadvantaged youth. MDRC develops and studies programs to help young people who face major barriers in finding a path to stable adult life.