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.
Using Earnings Supplements to Improve Employment Retention and Advancement Programs in Texas and the United Kingdom
Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, there is less hard evidence about what can be done to help current and former recipients and other low-wage workers stay employed or advance in the labor market. This paper looks closely at one strategy — providing earnings supplements, or stipends, to current and former welfare recipients who maintain stable full-time employment — that was used at sites in Texas and in the United Kingdom.
This report examines the financial benefits and costs of three different programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families, that have increased employment and earnings among current and former welfare recipients.
Final Impacts for Twelve Models
This report presents the final implementation and impact findings for 12 programs in the national Employment Retention and Advancement project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families. These programs attempted to promote steady work and career advancement for current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers.
An evaluation of a job placement, retention, and advancement program for individuals receiving welfare showed some effects — but not consistent or large effects — on employment and retention outcomes during the first two years of follow-up.
An MDRC evaluation of Moving Up, a program in South Carolina that aimed to help former welfare recipients obtain jobs, work more steadily, and move up in the labor market, found that the program had little effect on employment rates, earnings, employment retention, or advancement.
An Update on the Effects of Four Earnings Supplement Programs on Employment, Earnings, and Income
Four programs that supplemented the earnings of low-income adults increased employment, earnings, and income — particularly for the most disadvantaged — but these effects generally faded after the programs ended.
Six-Year Impacts on Parents and Children from the Minnesota Family Investment Program
While positive effects on most parents’ earnings and income faded after six years, young children in some of the most disadvantaged families were still performing better in school than their counterparts in a control group. And, for the most disadvantaged parents, MFIP seems to have created a lasting “leg up” in the labor market.
Early results are mixed for Employment Retention and Advancement project programs in four sites, but programs in two sites appear to help some welfare recipients work more steadily and advance to higher-paying jobs.
Building on findings that the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) resulted in higher rates of marital stability among two-parent recipient families who participated in this initiative that provided financial incentives to welfare recipients who worked, this report documents MFIP’s long-term effects on marriage and divorce among participants in the program’s sample of nearly 2,500 two-parent families who were married or cohabiting at study entry.