MDRC has been evaluating a program called the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration. One of ERA’s supported work projects is in the UK, where out-of-work customers could access pre-employment services including training and placement, as well as post-employment support and a financial incentive in the form of a wage supplement. Since this is somewhat similar to one component-in-design of our collaboration with Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, called the Tulsa Children’s Project, we’ve been keeping an eye on the results.
This particular report was for long-term unemployed individuals who were not parents, mostly males over the age of 25. Results? Not so great:
Although ERA had no effect on earnings, it did lead to a small increase in employment rates in year 2. Still, the findings after two years for the ND25+ group are discouraging, especially when compared with those for lone parents. Less than half of the ND25+ customers in ERA worked at all during the two-year period. Thus, fewer of them were able to benefit from ERA’s in-work supports. This may help to explain the programme’s limited effects for this group.