New research is underway to explore how to improve outcomes for low-income workers. The Pathways Clearinghouse assigns a developmental rating to interventions that are currently being rigorously evaluated. This page lists effectiveness evaluations that are underway and the interventions associated with them.

Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families Project (BEES): Individual Placement and Support (IPS), Other TBD

The purpose of this project is to strengthen ACF’s understanding of effective interventions aimed at supporting low-income individuals to find jobs, advance in the labor market, and improve their economic security.

The project will build evidence in this area by:

  • Conducting a series of rigorous federal evaluations of innovative programs designed to promote employment and build self-sufficiency for low-income individuals.
  • Supporting states in moving toward rigorous evaluation of such programs, at a state level.
  • Prioritizing evaluations of programs that work with individuals struggling with opioid use disorder, other substance use disorders, and/or mental health issues.

Interventions that are candidates for evaluation may include programs that serve TANF recipients or, more broadly, individuals and their families who are at risk of TANF dependency.

Planned research design: Randomized controlled trial, Implementation study, Other design

Evaluation funder: OPRE

Evaluator: MDRC with Abt Associates and MEF Associates

Study start date: 2017

Estimated end date: 2024

Populations served: Former incarceration, Homelessness, Disability(ies), Long-term cash assistance recipients, Mental illness, Substance use disorder, Unemployed, Specific employment barriers, Cash assistance recipients, Very low income, Justice system involvement

Setting: Tested in multiple settings

Expected domain and outcome: Employment, earnings, others TBD

Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations : MyGoals for Employment Success, LIFT, Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program, Goal4 It!

OPRE launched this project to evaluate interventions that apply coaching practices to promote job entry and retention among TANF populations and other low-income individuals. The project is conducting impact evaluations and complementary implementation assessments of the sites selected to participate in the evaluation. The evaluation is also examining the impact of coaching on self-regulation skills, and the role of these skills in generating any impacts on employment outcomes

The sites participating in the evaluation are:

  • MyGoals for Employment Success in Baltimore, MD and Houston, TX (being evaluated as two distinct sites)
  • LIFT in New York, NY; Chicago, IL; and Los Angeles, CA
  • Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program, operated by the Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Goal4 It!, administered by the Jefferson County Department of Human Services in Jefferson County, CO

Planned research design: Randomized controlled trial, Implementation study

Evaluation funder: OPRE

Evaluator: Mathematica with Abt Associates and MDRC

Study start date: 2016

Estimated end date: 2022

Services provided: Employment coaching, Financial incentives, Supportive services, Work-readiness activities, Pre-employment services, Job search/placement assistance, Assessments

Populations served: Cash assistance recipients

Setting: Tested in multiple settings

Expected domain and outcome: Self-regulation and goal-related skills, Employment, Earnings, Public assistance receipt

Job Corps Cascades Impact Study: Cascades Job Corps College and Career Academy

The purpose of this study is to design and conduct a rigorous evaluation of the impact of the Job Corps pilot program, the Cascades Job Corps College and Career Academy, of the youth served. Cascades will serve high school drop-outs and unemployed youth ages 16 to 21. The pilot aims to provide expanded and intensive academic instruction, career pathways technical training, and noncognitive skills training in two industry sectors, Health Care and Information Technology.

Planned research design: Randomized controlled trial

Evaluation funder: Chief Evaluation Office, Department of Labor

Evaluator: Abt and MDRC

Study start date: 2016

Estimated end date: 2021

Services provided: Apprenticeships, Case management, Education, Employment coaching, Financial literacy, Health services, Job development/job placement, Job search assistance, Occupational or sectoral training, On-the-job training, Physical health services, Soft skills training, Substance use treatment and mental health services, Supportive services, Training, Transitional jobs, Work experience, Work-readiness activities

Populations served: Disconnected/discouraged workers, High school diploma or GED, Less than high school diploma or GED, Unemployed, Very low income, Young adults (aged 16-24)

Setting: Suburban only

Expected domain and outcome: Confirmatory: Education and credential attainment, Exploratory: Employment and earnings

National Evaluation of the 2nd Generation of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation): Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program

In 2015, OPRE launched a comprehensive evaluation of the second round of grants awarded under the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program. The HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation will rigorously assess the HPOG programs administered by the non-tribal grantees. The 27 non-tribal grantees operate 38 HPOG programs across 17 states.

The HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation includes several key components:

  • The impact study will use random assignment of eligible participants to either a treatment group that will have access HPOG services or a control group that will not but will be allowed to receive other services available in the community (“business as usual”) to assess the impacts of the HPOG programs.
  • The descriptive study includes implementation, outcomes, and systems change studies and will help interpret findings from the impact study. The descriptive study also includes in-depth qualitative interviews with a small sample of HPOG study participants.
  • The cost benefit study will assess the costs and benefits of a standard HPOG program.

Data sources for all three components of the National Evaluation include program data, administrative data from the National Directory of New Hires and the National Student Clearinghouse, and participant follow-up surveys at approximately 15 months and 36 months after random assignment. Longer-term outcomes and impacts will be examined using administrative data.

Planned research design: Randomized controlled trial, Implementation study, Other design

Evaluation funder: OPRE

Evaluator: Abt Associates with MEF Associates, the Urban Institute, Insight Policy Research, and NORC at the University of Chicago

Study start date: 2015

Estimated end date: 2025

Services provided: Apprenticeships, Case management, Education, Employment retention services, Job development/job placement, Job search assistance, Occupational or sectoral training, On-the-job training, Soft skills training, Supportive services, Training, Unpaid work experience, Work experience, Work-readiness activities

Populations served: Long-term cash assistance recipients, Parents, Single parents, Cash assistance recipients, Female, Very low income, High school diploma or GED

Setting: Tested in multiple settings

Expected domain and outcome: Receipt of training and support services, Educational progress, Earnings, Employment, Healthcare employment, Job quality, Career progress, Public assistance receipt (TANF, SNAP, Medicaid), Well-being (financial and non-financial)

Reentry Employment Opportunities Evaluation: Reentry Employment Opportunities

The goal of the Reentry Employment Opportunities grant program (REO) evaluation is to identify and evaluate promising practices used in reentry employment programs which are comprehensive strategies to address the range of challenges formerly incarcerated adults and young adults who have been involved in the juvenile or adult justice system face in making a successful transitions back to the community. This evaluation will include an implementation and an impact study among select REO grantees to understand their effectiveness in achieving the goals of improving participant outcomes such as employment, earning, and recidivism.

Evaluation funder: Chief Evaluation Office, Department of Labor

Evaluator: Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research

Study start date: 2017

Estimated end date: 2022

Services provided: Apprenticeships, Case management, Education, Employment coaching, Financial literacy, Health services, Job development/job placement, Job search assistance, Occupational or sectoral training, On-the-job training, Soft skills training, Substance use treatment and mental health services, Supportive services, Training, Work experience, Work-readiness activities

Populations served: Disconnected/discouraged workers, Former incarceration, Justice system involvement, Young adults (aged 16-24)

Setting: Tested in multiple settings

Expected domain and outcome: TBD: likely to include outcomes related to credential attainment, employment, earning, and recidivism