Sectoral strategies train people for industries with strong local demand. This report summarizes the Year 7 findings of an evaluation of WorkAdvance, a sectoral training initiative launched in 2011. Overall, the results show that sector programs can increase earnings in the longer term and can lead to career advancement gains.
Implications for Research and Evaluation to Inform Programs Serving Low-Income Populations
This paper discusses several ongoing trends in the labor market and their potential effects on the nature of work over the next 10 to 15 years for low-income populations. The trends are used to highlight potential questions to inform research and evaluation agendas on this topic.
This report from Westat and MDRC focuses on the implementation and short-term impacts of TechHire and the Strengthening Working Families Initiative, two programs that make training in high-demand industries more accessible to individuals who experience barriers to training and employment.
A Partnership Between Child Support Agencies and Local Service Providers
The Families Forward Demonstration examined strategies to help parents with low and middle incomes make reliable child support payments by increasing employment and earnings. The model, which emphasized free occupational training activities, shows promise for helping parents qualify for jobs in their chosen fields and for improving child support compliance.
Next Steps for Research
The paper summarizes past and ongoing research, identifies gaps in knowledge, and presents four categories of potential questions to help define future research in employment and training programs serving low-income people.
Costs, Benefits, and Impacts from the WorkAdvance Demonstration
WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs, concentrating on demand-driven skills training and identifiable career pathways. Findings show the approach increased earnings and led to advancement gains over time at the most successful study sites. One program, Per Scholas, boosted earnings by 20 percent in the last year of follow-up.
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.
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.
Findings from a Study of the Career Readiness Internship Program
Work-based learning opportunities vary widely across colleges and are rarely evaluated. Through the Career Readiness Internship (CRI) program, 33 colleges provided large numbers of low-income students with valuable career-focused internship experiences, and employers generally viewed the program positively. Nevertheless, CRI was difficult to maintain after its grant period ended.
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.