Benefit-Cost Findings for Three Programs in the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project

Source: Cindy Redcross, Victoria Deitch, and Mary Farrell, MDRC, May 2010

From the summary:
This report presents an analysis of the financial benefits and costs of three diverse programs designed to increase employment stability and career advancement among current and former welfare recipients. The programs are part of the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which tested 16 models in eight states. Each program was evaluated using a random assignment research design, whereby individuals were assigned, at random, to the ERA program group or to a control group that received services generally available in the sites’ communities. MDRC is conducting the ERA project under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The analysis focuses on three programs that operated in four sites:

– Corpus Christi and Fort Worth, Texas. This ERA program targeted welfare applicants and recipients who were seeking work; it used financial incentives and other services to help participants find jobs, stay employed, and increase their earnings.
– Chicago, Illinois. This ERA program targeted welfare recipients who were working steadily but earning too little to leave the welfare rolls; partly by helping individuals to change jobs, it aimed to increase participants’ earnings.
– Riverside County, California. The Riverside Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) ERA program targeted individuals who had left welfare and were working; services were delivered primarily by community-based organizations to promote retention and advancement and, if needed, reemployment.

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