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.
Findings from Three New Studies of Youth Employment Programs
Over four million young people in the United States are “disconnected,” meaning they are not in school and are not working. In the past few months, studies of three programs aimed at such young people have released new findings. This brief discusses these findings and their implications.
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.
The Experience of a New Program for Young People Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
STRIVE International engaged MDRC to help the organization improve a new program model aimed at increasing educational attainment and employment of young adults involved in the juvenile justice system. This Issue Focus describes the partnership and offers advice to organizations implementing new programs on how to build evidence of effectiveness.
The Youth Transition Demonstration identified and tested service strategies, combined with waivers of certain Social Security Administration program rules to enhance work incentives, to help youth with disabilities maximize their economic self-sufficiency as they transition to adulthood.
Promising Models for Moving High School Dropouts to College
This report examines interventions that make adult education and GED standards more rigorous, that combine academic preparation with supports for transitioning to college, or that allow students to enroll in college while earning their GED. The most promising reforms integrate basic skills and GED instruction within specific career fields and support students’ entry into college.
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.
Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults
This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.
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 Career Transition Program were more likely to have used employment-promoting services than youth in a control group, there were no impacts on work, income, or 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. A program in West Virginia produced positive impacts on paid employment, earnings, and income but no effects on school enrollment or high school completion or on cessation of disability benefits.