Data can help career and technical education programs refine their models, pinpoint successes, and communicate lessons with funders and stakeholders. Drawing in part on conversations with leaders in the field, this brief outlines four steps programs can take to strengthen their data-collection and measurement activities and develop robust data strategies.
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.
Using Data to Analyze Enrollment Drop-Off
The August 2019 In Practice blog post offers tips for programs to ensure that the participants they recruit, actually enroll. In this post, we examine some key lessons from MDRC’s evaluation of the WorkAdvance project to help turn program recruits into program success stories.
In the spring of 2019, MDRC invited practitioners from innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs to discuss questions of equity. This policy brief summarizes the most common equity challenges that were raised in the discussion, along with ideas that emerged for how to address them.
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.
Implementation and Early Impacts of the STEP Forward Program
This report presents implementation and interim impact findings from a random assignment evaluation of STEP Forward, a subsidized employment program in San Francisco serving a diverse group of low-income job seekers. In the first year, STEP Forward boosted employment and earnings, which suggests that participants obtained better jobs.
Three-Year Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration
WorkAdvance offers training and placement services to help prepare individuals for quality jobs in sectors that have strong local demand and advancement opportunities. In this update on employment and earnings only, the most experienced provider continued to produce substantial impacts on both; one other provider increased earnings for late enrollees.
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.
WorkAdvance connects low-income job seekers to high-demand sectors that offer quality jobs with strong career pathways. This infographic describes the program model and its implementation in four locations and presents encouraging evidence of WorkAdvance’s effects on boosting earnings.
Lessons for Practitioners
The demonstration of WorkAdvance confirmed that sectoral employment programs can increase employment and earnings among low-income individuals. This brief offers insights from providers on selecting sectors, tailoring training to employer needs, reducing attrition, securing placements that offer better wages and benefits, and helping workers plan for advancement.