Next STEP sought to help people who were formerly incarcerated reenter the workforce by providing them with 2 weeks of work-readiness training, supportive services, and 16 weeks of subsidized work.
Next STEP participants received 2 weeks of work-readiness training and then worked with a job developer to search for a private job with subsidized wages. The subsidized job lasted for 16 weeks, with a full subsidy for 8 weeks and a half subsidy for the subsequent 8 weeks. All employers agreed to retain participants if they did well, and hired participants were invited to quarterly job retention meetings. In addition to subsidized employment, participants had access to case management, mental health services, financial incentives, and legal assistance. People were eligible for Next STEP if they met the following criteria: (1) were age 18 or older; (2) had been convicted of a crime as an adult under federal or state law; (3) had not been convicted of a sex offense; (4) had been released from prison in the past 120 days; (5) were living in Tarrant County, TX; (6) were registered with Selective Service; and (7) had at least two of the following: no recent skilled employment, long-term unemployment, an inability to return to their former profession, no high school diploma, a high school diploma but less than a ninth-grade reading level, homelessness, no right-to-work document, a physical or mental limitation or disability, or no credential or degree earned in the past five years in a high-demand occupation field.
Next STEP was implemented in Fort Worth, TX. The evaluation of Next STEP 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); Syracuse, NY (Parent Success Initiative); Indianapolis, IN (RecycleForce); and New York, NY (Ready, Willing and Able Pathways2Work).