This report presents early evidence on the effectiveness of four diverse programs that aim to help current or former welfare recipients maintain stable employment and increase their earnings. The four programs are part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs across the country. The evaluation design is similar in most of the programs. Individuals who meet the ERA eligibility criteria (which vary by program) are randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group. Members of the experimental group are recruited for - and, in some programs, required to participate in - the ERA services, while those in the control group are not eligible for ERA services. The extent and nature of services and supports available to the control group vary, but it is important to note that, in most cases, the ERA group is not being compared with a “no services” control group. The four programs discussed in this report, like virtually all the other ERA programs, have faced a substantial challenge in increasing participation in ERA services. These early findings reflect a short follow-up period, only one year after individuals entered the four programs. The early effects on employment outcomes are mixed: some of the ERA programs appear to be promoting retention or advancement, while others seem to be less successful.
PIC ID: 8223; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Richards, Patrice, 202-205-8324; Performer: MDRC, New York, NY