PSI provided noncustodial parents with low incomes support in finding work with the goal of improving participants’ employment skills and ability to pay child support.
PSI participants attended a job-readiness course, called Learning Expectations and Developing Employment Readiness Skills (LEADERS), course for two weeks. In addition to providing information about the program services and its expectations, LEADERS included conflict resolution, work readiness, mock interviews, and help preparing resumes. LEADERS was intended to prepare participants for the National Work Readiness assessment, which they took at the end of the course to be placed on a work crew. After completing LEADERS, participants were placed in transitional jobs with either a nonprofit or a public-sector organization, where they worked for six hours per day for four days per week, earning minimum wage. Throughout their participation in the program, participants met with a case manager. Case managers were expected to have weekly meetings with participants through the transitional employment period and to meet participants once or twice per month after transitional employment, until the participant was employed for 90 days in an unsubsidized job. While in transitional employment, participants who had not taken a similar course were enrolled in a family life-skills class, which was intended to help them develop parenting skills and general communication skills and lasted six hours over three sessions. The program provided employment assistance, such as job development services, during and after the transitional job. The program helped participants to access high school equivalency services and occupational training and provided legal assistance, particularly with child support issues. Participants with criminal histories received support addressing barriers specific to that population.
After completing the transitional job, participants could receive financial education instruction and financial incentives to remain in unsubsidized employment, with incentives given at 60, 90, and 180 days of unsubsidized employment. Most participants were permitted to hold transitional jobs for a maximum of four months, and could continue to access some services afterwards, if desired. PSI served unemployed noncustodial parents who had one or more of the following barriers to employment: no history of working full time, no high school diploma or equivalent, a criminal history and an ongoing job search of at least 60 days, or release from prison or jail fewer than 60 days before the time of referral.
PSI was implemented in Syracuse, NY. The evaluation of PSI was part of the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD) evaluation, which also tested similar subsidized employment programs implemented in Atlanta, GA (Good Transitions); Milwaukee, WI (Supporting Families Through Work); San Francisco, CA (TransitionsSF); Fort Worth, TX (Next STEP); Indianapolis, IN (RecycleForce); and New York, NY (Ready, Willing & Able Pathways2Work).