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.
The Employment Retention and Advancement Project
A program in Los Angeles offering individualized and flexible case management services to working welfare recipients did not substantially increase the use of work-based services by participants – and did not lead to greater employment or higher earnings than did the county’s existing postemployment program.
Testing Transitional Jobs and Pre-Employment Services in Philadelphia
Interim results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for long-term welfare recipients show that transitional jobs increase employment and earnings but that it is difficult to successfully engage participants in extensive pre-employment services.
Implementation and Early Impacts for Two Programs That Sought to Encourage Advancement Among Low-Income Workers
While these two different programs in the Employment Retention and Advancement Project both increased service receipt, neither had effects on job retention or advancement after 1.5 years of follow-up.
Implementation, Two-Year Impacts, and Costs of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Prisoner Reentry Program
A random assignment study shows that participants in CEO’s transitional jobs program were less likely to be convicted of a crime, to be admitted to prison for a new conviction, or to be incarcerated for any reason in prison or jail over the first two years. The program also had a large but short-lived impact on employment.
Testing Strategies to Help Former Prisoners Find and Keep Jobs and Stay Out of Prison
Each year, almost 700,000 people are released from state prisons, and many struggle to find jobs and integrate successfully into society. This policy brief describes an innovative demonstration of transitional jobs programs for former prisoners in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Paul being conducted by MDRC.