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.
Home Visiting and Coordinated and Integrated Early Childhood Systems
Funders at all levels are investing in programs to support expectant parents and families with young children. MDRC is conducting research in that field in three areas: integrating systems of services that work together, getting families and children the right services, and building evidence about promising models.
The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. MDRC carried out a random assignment evaluation of the program. As part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-income Families project, MDRC is collecting additional administrative records to extend the original evaluation.
Lessons on Adapting Interventions for Young People Experiencing Homelessness or Systems Involvement
Young people who experience homelessness or involvement in foster care or justice systems face unique challenges. The Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)TM initiative aims to help this population reach its full potential. An MDRC evaluation of two programs adapted by 10 LEAP grantees will contribute knowledge to this field.
Implementing Individual Placement and Support in a Workforce Setting
Breaking Barriers was a San Diego-based program that provided employment services to low-income individuals with a range of disabilities or other health conditions. Preliminary analyses based on a survey found that the program did not have an impact on the primary outcomes measured — employment, length of employment, and total earnings — during a 15-month follow-up period.
A Feasibility Study of the Bridges to Pathways Program
In a program to reduce criminal justice involvement, participants received mentoring, case management, subsidized internships, and the opportunity to earn a high school credential. The program reduced the arrest rate for felonies and violent crimes but did not affect overall rates of arrest or incarceration, educational or training certification, or employment.
Results from the Evaluation of PACE Center for Girls
PACE provides academic and extensive social services in a gender-responsive environment to girls at risk of juvenile justice system involvement. Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrollment and attendance, as well as girls’ likelihood of being “on track” academically.
Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) is an initiative to help young people who have been involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, or who are homeless. This brief provides details on the models in LEAP and the young people participating, and offers some early implementation findings.
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.