Two new MDRC reports published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development highlight both the long-term potential of the Jobs Plus employment program to improve economic mobility and the challenges of effectively expanding the model.
In 2014, HUD expanded Jobs Plus, a rigorously tested model offering rent incentives and on-site work support to public housing residents. The first three groups to enroll show no evidence of higher employment or earnings during the early years, potentially due to low participation levels and implementation challenges.
The Jobs Plus demonstration aimed to increase economic empowerment and mobility for public housing residents through on-site employment services, rent-based work incentives, and supportive work activities. Sites that fully implemented the model saw long-term positive employment and earnings effects, but negative effects were observed in sites that did not.
A Toolkit for SNAP E&T Programs
This toolkit offers state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies a systematic approach—with accompanying examples and worksheets—for employing human-centered design and behavioral science to address problems that may be limiting engagement and participation in SNAP Employment and Training programs.
How Place-Based Employment Programs like Jobs Plus Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Employment programs situated within public housing developments are facing multiple challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With routine operations disrupted by shelter-in-place orders, programs like Jobs Plus can find creative ways to keep their doors open and their clients engaged.
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.
Ongoing Implementation Experiences
Households receiving federal rental subsidies struggle to become self-sufficient. Jobs Plus provides grants to public housing agencies to offer tenants employment-related services, rent-based work incentives, and community support for work. This report examines a second round of Jobs Plus implementation, including evolving program operations, challenges, resident participation, and technical assistance.
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.
Highlights from the Jobs Plus Pilot Program Evaluation
Jobs Plus promotes employment among public housing residents through employment services, rent rule changes that provide incentives to work, and community support for work. Within the first 18 months, all nine public housing agencies in this evaluation had begun structuring their programs, building partnerships, and implementing the model’s core components.
Subsidized employment programs use public funds to create jobs for the unemployed. This two-page memo describes how they can provide short-term income support to individuals with serious barriers to employment or to broader groups during poor economic times — while having positive effects on reducing recidivism, increasing child support payments, or reducing reliance on welfare.