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.
While we know how to help low-income individuals prepare for and find work, too many end up in low-wage jobs and never advance up the career ladder. This policy memo describes what we’ve learned about advancement strategies — both those that show promise and those that don’t work.
The 700,000 incarcerated prisoners released each year face considerable obstacles to successfully reintegrating into their communities, and many return to prison. While state and federal agencies have mounted ambitious prisoner reentry initiatives, this policy memo from our “Looking Forward” series explains that there is still much to learn about what works.
Subsidized employment programs provide jobs to people who cannot find employment in the regular labor market and use public funds to pay all or some of their wages. Part of our “Looking Forward” series, this policy memo describes how these programs may be part of the answer for the long-term unemployed in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Final Results from a Test of Transitional Jobs and Preemployment Services in Philadelphia
An evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for long-term welfare recipients finds that: (1) transitional jobs substantially increased employment in the short term, but these effects faded after one year, and (2) it is difficult to engage welfare recipients in extensive preemployment services long enough to improve their employability.
A Review of State Employment Programs Created Through the TANF Emergency Fund
In 2009-2010, states placed more than 250,000 people in subsidized jobs using the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This report reviews the experience of the largest subsidized employment initiative in the country since the 1970s.
The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. Participants in the CUNY project were more likely to have been employed for pay than youth in the control group. However, the project had no impacts on income, expectations, or a composite measure of school enrollment or high school completion.
The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. The implementation of the Colorado project deviated from the YTD model, and, while participants were more likely to have used employment services than youth in the control group, the program had no impacts on employment, income, or other measures.
The Youth Transition Demonstration, led by Mathematica Policy Research, MDRC, and TransCen, Inc., is developing and evaluating strategies to help youth with disabilities transition from school to work. While participants in the Erie County, NY, site were more likely to participate in self-sufficiency services, the program has had no impact on employment or school completion in its first year.
What Have We Learned, What Are We Learning, and Where Should We Go from Here?
Each year, the more than 600,000 people released from prison face numerous obstacles to successful reentry into society, starting with the challenge of finding stable work. What does existing research say about the effectiveness of work-focused programs for ex-prisoners?