Even in good economic times, workers with limited education may need help getting or regaining a foothold in the job market. Effective career training programs exist. Approaches that target in-demand industries and closely involve employers can get results, benefiting high school students, adults without diplomas, and long-term unemployed workers.
A growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing “career pathways” strategies to help youth and adults prepare for postsecondary education and quality jobs. This Issue Brief describes the career pathways approach and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on its effectiveness and potential to improve education and career outcomes.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes targeting out-of-school youth with training and services that are employer driven and linked to labor market demand. Drawing upon available research and on-the-ground experience, this paper summarizes existing knowledge that can guide implementation of key WIOA provisions for serving out-of-school youth.
Evidence on Improving Employment Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth in the United States
The Great Recession took a toll on the already dim economic prospects of low-income 16- to 24-year-olds who face structural barriers to employment. Evidence indicates that involvement of employers in devising education, training, and work experiences that meet labor market demands should be a key component of any policy response.
Improving the employment outlook of disadvantaged young people on a large scale will require a stronger focus on engaging private employers on potential solutions. On June 4, 2014, MDRC and The Rockefeller Foundation convened a group of experts to discuss such demand-driven approaches.
Evidence from Promising Programs
A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men.
MDRC is learning what programs work best to prevent at-risk youth from getting in trouble, help juvenile offenders turn their lives around, and give reentering prisoners the chance to get a foothold in the labor market and reduce their chances of rearrest.