Work Readiness: Can It Lead to Better Employment and Earnings for Low-Income Adults?

Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults, Evidence Review Issue Brief
Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Nov 30, 2016
Jacob Hartog, Sarah Wissel, Annalisa Mastri, and Kelley Borradaile

Key Findings:

  • The 19 interventions that delivered work-readiness services as their primary strategy focused on three populations: public assistance recipients, non-custodial parents, and unemployment insurance claimants.
  • Fifteen of the interventions tested services among public assistance recipients, typically single mothers applying for or already receiving cash assistance (welfare) benefits. Most of the interventions were implemented by states in the 1990s to examine how best to reform their welfare systems.
  • All 19 interventions offered other services in addition to work-readiness services, including financial incentives, supportive services, case management, and/or training. Six of the work-readiness interventions met ESER criteria for “promising”. This means they had as many or more favorable impacts as null impacts on employment and earnings.

This brief discusses 19 interventions identified by the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review that featured work-readiness services as their primary employment or training strategy and highlights six of them that had promising impacts on employment and earnings.