Good afternoon Chairman Reichert, Ranking Member Doggett, and members of the Subcommittee on Human Resources. Thank you for inviting me to provide testimony about the research evidence on subsidized employment programs.
I am with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization based in New York City. MDRC was founded 40 years ago to build reliable evidence on the effectiveness of programs for the disadvantaged and to help policymakers and practitioners use that evidence to improve policies and programs. MDRC is known for conducting large-scale evaluations and demonstration projects to test the impacts and cost-effectiveness of social and educational programs. Many of our studies use a random assignment research design, the most rigorous method for assessing such programs. I direct MDRC’s work on programs for groups seeking to gain a foothold in the labor market, including recipients of public assistance, people returning to their communities from prison, disconnected youth, individuals with disabilities, and others.
Subsidized employment is broad term that covers a wide range of programs and models, with varying goals, target groups, and organizational structures. Thus, before describing research results, I will provide some background information on subsidized employment and briefly describe the kinds of programs that fall under this heading. I will then discuss key research findings, focusing first on the subsidized employment programs that states operated with funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund (TANF EF) in 2009 and 2010, and then on the results from rigorous evaluations of three specific types of subsidized employment models. Finally, I will discuss two important ongoing studies sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL) and Health and Human Services (HHS) that are testing the next generation of subsidized employment programs.