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Biological sensitivity to family income: Differential effects on early executive functioning

Individual Author: 
Obradovic, Jelena
Portilla, Ximena A.
Ballard, Parissa J.

The study examined how the interplay between children's cortisol response and family income is related to executive function (EF) skills. The sample included one hundred and two 5- to 6-year-olds (64% minority). EF skills were measured using laboratory tasks and observer ratings. Physiological reactivity was assessed via cortisol response during a laboratory visit. A consistent, positive association between family income and EF skills emerged only for children who showed high cortisol response, a marker of biological sensitivity to context.

Improving employment outcomes: Using innovative goal-oriented strategies in TANF programs

Individual Author: 
Derr, Michelle
McCay, Jonathan
Kauff, Jacqueline F.

New evidence from neuroscience, psychology, and other behavioral sciences suggests that TANF programs may be able to improve participants’ outcomes by applying the science of self-regulation. Self-regulation refers to a foundational set of skills and personality factors that enable people to control their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. It is what helps people set goals, make plans, solve problems, reason, organize, prioritize, initiate tasks, manage time, and persist in and monitor their actions.

Too far from jobs: Spatial mismatch and hourly workers

Individual Author: 
Stacy, Christina
Craigie, Terry-Ann
Meixell, Brady
MacDonald, Graham
Zheng, Sihan Vivian
Davis, Christopher
Baird, Christina
Chartoff, Ben
Hinson, David
Lei, Serena

In many cities, low-income residents live far from available jobs, and employers can’t find people to fill open positions. Economists call this “spatial mismatch”—a mismatch between where jobs are located and where job seekers live, which can cause high unemployment rates and lead to longer spells of joblessness. Data from Snag, the largest online marketplace for hourly jobs, show us that this is true for job seekers who use their platform.

“We get a chance to show impact": Program staff reflect on participating in a rigorous, multi-site evaluation

Individual Author: 
Hamadyk, Jill
Gardiner, Karen

This brief summarizes the experiences of leaders and staff from eight career pathways programs that participated in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) Evaluation. Based on firsthand accounts, the brief describes how staff perceived the benefits of participating in the randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluation, the challenges they experienced—in particular recruiting study participants and implementing its random assignment procedures—and how they overcame challenges. The brief then describes lessons staff learned from participating in PACE.

Child care in poor communities: Early learning effects of type, quality, and stability

Individual Author: 
Loeb, Susanna
Fuller, Bruce
Kagan, Sharon Lynn
Carrol, Bidemi

Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in nonparental care because of policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet, little is known about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children who were between 12 and 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care.

Findings from in-depth interviews with participants in subsidized employment programs

Individual Author: 
Fink, Barbara

Subsidized employment and transitional jobs programs seek to increase employment and earnings among individuals who have not been able to find employment on their own. First-hand accounts of participants’ experiences in these programs can inform efforts to improve long-term employment outcomes for various “hard-to-employ” populations.

The challenge of repeating success in a changing world: Final report on the Center for Employment Training Replication Sites

Individual Author: 
Miller, Cynthia
Bos, Johannes
Porter, Kristin
Tseng, Fannie M.
Abe, Yasuyo

The Center for Employment Training (CET), headquartered in San Jose, California, gained the attention of policymakers in the early 1990s, when it proved to be the only training program in two major evaluations (one of which, JOBSTART, targeted disadvantaged youth) to produce large positive effects on participants’ employment and earnings. Such documented success is rare among employment and training programs in general, but it is especially unusual among programs serving youth.

The new wave of local minimum wage policies: Evidence from six cities

Individual Author: 
Allegretto, Sylvia
Godoey, Anna
Nadler, Carl
Reich, Michael

In recent years, a new wave of state and local activity has transformed minimum wage policy in the U.S. As of August 2018, ten large cities and seven states have enacted minimum wage policies in the $12 to $15 range. Dozens of smaller cities and counties have also enacted wage standards in this range. These higher minimum wages, which are being phased in gradually, will cover well over 20 percent of the U.S. workforce. With a substantial number of additional cities and states poised to soon enact similar policies, a large portion of the U.S.

Coaching in employment programs: Reflections from three practitioners

Individual Author: 
Martinez, Dan
McConnell, Sheena
Simmons, Noelle
Timmerman, Larrry

These PowerPoints are from the 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS).This session explored goal-oriented, employment-focused coaching programs that serve low-income individuals. Facilitated  by Sheena McConnell (Mathematica Policy Research), this session opened with an explanation of the conceptual and evidence-based underpinnings of coaching, and then featured presentations from three practitioners overseeing coaching programs in San Francisco, CA; Southeast Michigan; and Ramsey County, MN. Various methodologies were used across the presentations.

Evaluation of seven Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Programs: Impact findings at 30 months

Individual Author: 
D’Amico, Ronald
Kim, Hui

This report describes the impacts of re-entry programs developed by seven grantees that were awarded funds under the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Program to reduce recidivism by addressing the challenges faced by adults returning to their communities after incarceration. In estimating impacts, the evaluation used a randomized controlled trial, whereby 966 individuals eligible for SCA were randomly assigned to either a program group whose members could participate in individualized SCA services.