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.
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.
A Study of the Implementation and Impacts of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program
This report examines the impacts of the nation’s largest summer youth jobs program — New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) — on young people’s education, employment, and earnings. The analysis uses an experimental design based on SYEP’s randomized lottery application system. The report also describes SYEP’s implementation and participants’ experiences.
Lessons from Implementing a Rigorous Academic Program for At-Risk Young People
In Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school and who are at risk of dropping out simultaneously earn credits toward a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree. This report describes the program model and shares lessons learned from its implementation at three program sites.
This report discusses a pilot project to prepare adult education students in New York City for the new more rigorous GED exam. Revised writing and math curricula were offered to thousands of students, but attendance was erratic. Shorter lesson sequences and support outside the classroom might allow more students to benefit.
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.
Final Results of the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project and Selected Sites from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project
42-Month Impacts from the Kansas and Missouri Sites of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project
Two Early Head Start programs were enhanced with formalized services to proactively address parents’ employment, educational, and self-sufficiency needs. A random assignment evaluation finds limited impacts for the full sample but some positive effects on employment and earnings for families who had an infant or who were expecting a child at the outset of the study.