2018 RECS Plenary: Serving the Hardest to Employ: Evidence from Evaluations

2018 RECS Plenary: Serving the Hardest to Employ: Evidence from Evaluations


– So good afternoon. My name is Erica Zielewski. I am a senior analyst in the
Office of Management and Budget in the economic policy division. Congratulations, you made it
to the end of day two of RECS. And to reward you, we have a
great treat planned for you, we have a wonderful panel discussion on subsidized employment
and other strategies for the hard to employ. So, in addition to welcoming folks here, I want to welcome our viewers
on the live stream as well. During the next 75
minutes, we’re gonna talk about strategies to serve those
who are very hard to employ and move them into employment
and economic self-sufficiency, with a particular focus on
evidence from one approach, which is subsidized employment. Work is central to the lives of Americans. Economic self-sufficiency
and the ability to provide for oneself and one’s family is really a tenant of the American dream. This administration has
recognized and stressed the importance of work
and has made this clear through a series of actions,
including executive order, the President’s budget, and
several new opportunities to give states flexibility to test different engagement approaches. Yet we know that for many
individuals and families, work and that pathway to
economic self-sufficiency and wellbeing remain elusive. The federal government,
through programs like TANF, and other things that you’ve
heard about at this conference, is really committed to
helping low income families get on that track to economic self-sufficiency and wellbeing. But for some, finding and keeping a job and a good job, that pays sufficient wages and has benefits and has opportunities for progress is difficult. We think about individuals
with limited skills, disconnected youth, individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. You know, the challenge to
getting some of these people into what we would consider
good jobs and on the path to self-sufficiency,
the challenge is real. But, out of difficulty comes creativity, and thankfully we’ve developed
a number of approaches and responses to address this
very issue and figure out how to move these hard
to employ populations into non-subsidized employment. So during this discussion,
we’ll hear about a range of strategies, and you’ll hear quite a bit about one strategy that’s been studied, which is subsidized employment. So Dan Bloom and Cindy
Redcross will focus on this approach and share
broadly what we know about it’s effectiveness and supporting
unsubsidized employment, including some evidence
from two recent studies funded by the federal government. So I don’t want to scoop you guys, but I’m gonna take moderator’s prerogative and tell you why I’m especially excited to be here moderating this panel. So, back in the early part of this decade, which I say that and it seems
like it wasn’t that long ago, but it’s 2018, so it
really was that long ago. Both HHS and DOL were
starting major evaluations of subsidized employment programs for hard to serve populations. Now, the populations were
a little bit different. So in HHS’s case, there was
a focus on TANF clients, and noncustodial parents,
and disconnected youth. For DOL, the focus was also
on noncustodial parents, but also a reentering population, although recognizing there’s
a big overlap between the two. So Dan and Cindy are
gonna tell you more about those studies and the findings,
but I want to tell you a different story about that,
and that is what I think is a pretty great story about
the power of collaboration and coordination in
the federal government. So full disclosure, I’m
an OPRE alum, and I was a project officer of HHS’s
study and helped to design it and get it off the
ground with my colleagues Mark Fucello and Girley Wright,
I don’t know where they are, but I know they’re, well I see Mark. I don’t see Girley,
but I know she’s there. So as these two studies were launching, our respective agency
leaders, as well as OMB, really pushed us to make
sure that our studies were coordinated and conducted
in concert so that we could use our limited
resources effectively. So what this means in practice
is that we shared resources. In fact, two DOL’s sights
were actually evaluated as part of HHS’s study. We used common data collection
instruments to make sure that we were measuring the same things in the same way at the same point in time. There are coordinated
reports, or common reports and other coordination, and
I also want to just recognize Eileen Patterson who is
also out here somewhere, who from the Employment and
Training Administration, who was a great collaborator
with us throughout. So frankly, I think the
two studies are stronger for this collaboration, and
it’s a really wonderful example of government at its best coming together to work
together to support evidence, and I’m just really proud of it, so I’m personally excited to be here. So that’s enough from me. You want to hear from these
people, and I understand that. So, let’s move on to the real action. So I’m going to introduce
each of our speakers now and lay out a plan for the session. I just want to say a word
or two about each of them, I could go on and on,
they’re very esteemed folks, but you can read their bios on the app, or the old fashioned way, which is like you could also Google them. (attendees laugh) But if I went through their whole bios, we would never get to
what they have to say, so I will move on. So to start the session,
we’ll hear from Dan Bloom. If you know anything about
subsidized employment research, you know who Dan Bloom is, but regardless, he directs MDRC’s work on groups seeking to gain a foothold in
the labor department, including former prisoners,
disconnected young adults, low-income noncustodial parents, welfare recipients and others. Since joining MDRC in
1988, Dan has coauthored more than 40 research reports
and contributed articles to many published volumes on
workforce and youth policy. Dan directs HHS’s subsidized
and transitional employments demonstration, which
we’ll hear about shortly. To his left is Cindy Redcross,
who is the deputy director of MDRC’s youth development,
criminal justice, and employment policy area. Cindy’s expertise is in
random assignment evaluations of programs that serve
individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Currently, she’s leading several projects that are evaluating interventions that target former prisoners and others involved in the justice system. Including Department of Labor’s multi site enhanced transitional jobs demonstration, which we’ll hear about shortly, as well as NIJ’s demonstration
field experiment, what works in reentry research? Following Dan and Cindy’s presentation, we’re thrilled to have three discussants, who are even further to my left, who will share their views and reflect on this important topic and
tell you their take on things. So in alphabetical order, I’ll
start with Clarence Carter, if any of you were here yesterday or for the morning plenary
to start this conference, you know who Clarence
is, but if you weren’t, he is the director of the Office of Family Assistance at ACF. Previously, he founded the Institute for the Improvement of
the Human Condition, which worked with state
and local safety agencies to meet the emergency needs
of vulnerable citizens. He has served extensively
in social services programs around the country,
including at the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the Virginia Department
of Social Services, and the Washington, DC
Department of Human Services. Next is Grant Collins, Grant
is senior vice president of Fed Cap’s workforce
development practice area, which includes providing services for 65,000 individuals
under a work requirement. Some of their programs
include Breaking the cycle, which provides state-wide
services for Maine’s TANF program, and the Riker Smart program with the New York City
Department of Corrections. Grant also has a connection
to ACF, he served as special assistant and
senior policy advisor to the assistant secretary
for children and families and deputy director of OFA within ACF. And last but certainly not least, we are joined by Harry Holzer. Harry is the John LaFarge S.J. Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and is an institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research. He is also a non-resident senior fellow in economic studies at Brookings, and is an affiliated scholar with several poverty research institutes. He’s the former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor,
and he co founded the Georgetown Center on
poverty and inequality, and has published extensively,
including several books. Again, if you know anything
about employment research, you know who Harry is,
and we’re very lucky to have him with us today. So I could go on and on, but you’d rather hear from them than about them, so with that, I will turn
it over to Dan and Cindy. – Thanks, Erica. You neglected to mention
the one brilliant thing the two agencies did to
facilitate the collaboration, which was picking the same organization to run both projects. (attendees laugh) But I know that wasn’t a
collaborative decision. So, I’m going to start off
with some general information about subsidized jobs,
and the first question is, what is a subsidized job? This is not a beautiful
definition, but I said it’s a job in which
all or part of the wage is paid with public funds as
part of a special program, and I particularly said a special program, because I’m standing in
a room full of people whose wages are mostly
paid by public funds (attendees laugh) and they probably don’t
consider themselves to be part of a subsidized
employment program. So, just trying to be careful. There are many different structures, amount of subsidies, who
is the host employer, who is actually the employer of record, many different names for these programs, community jobs, community service jobs, transitional jobs, but
it’s a whole cluster of different kinds of programs under this general heading of subsidized jobs. So why do we do these things? One reason that we create subsidized jobs is to put money in people’s pockets when there aren’t enough jobs for everyone who wants to work. The U.S., we’ve done that
a few times during periods of very high unemployment, the most famous was during the Great Depression, the most recent was during
the Great Recession, most recently when states got funding under the TANF emergency fund and created large number of subsidized jobs. So that’s sort of the one that most people are familiar with. I would say the success
of a program like that would be measured by how fast
can you get it up and running, how may people can you employ in sort of real jobs and get money
to people’s pockets. Then there’s this other purpose of some subsidized job program, not
all where the purpose is to use the subsidized job
as sort of a training tool, essentially, to help people
learn to work by working, getting hands-on work experience. In those cases, for those programs, I think success is
measured, in part at least, by the post-program outcomes, so what happens after people are finished with a temporary subsidized job, because there’s an explicit goal of using the subsidized
job to teach people, to make people more
employable, essentially. And then there’s other goals,
depending on the program, reducing recidivism, you’ll
hear more about that later, reducing welfare receipt,
and then sometimes people in subsidized jobs are working on projects that improve their
communities and so that can be an important outcome as
well, and if you think back to the WPA and the Great Recession, they built lots of things that
are still here around today, and that’s the very important thing. So, and I will say for
that middle category, which is mostly what we’re
going to be talking about today, programs that had an
explicit goal of trying to improve people’s employability
and long term outcomes. The targeting is usually at
people who are considered hard to employ, hence the
topic of this session. So what do we know from recent evidence and experience, and this is not a full list, but a selected list. There were a bunch of
randomized control trials that were done in the I guess the decade, now that you reminded me
that we’re almost done with this one, of
transitional jobs programs, most of them targeted people
who were formerly incarcerated. There’s the experience of the
TANF emergency fund programs that I mentioned, and then
there are the two projects that Erica introduced,
that are still ongoing. And just to note one other
difference between them, besides the target
groups, which you heard, is that the ETJD project, the
Department of Labor project, gave sites about $40
million, picked seven sites and gave them a total of about $40 million to run these programs. The STED project didn’t have a particular funding stream attached
to it, so in DOL’s case it was a demonstration project
that gave out funds. Okay, so just quickly, some
overall findings and lessons. So, the TANF emergency fund, we learned, and maybe we learned
something that we had learned before and we relearned,
which is that these programs can be scaled up quickly. In a matter of a very short time, most states set up subsidized
employment programs, employed somewhere around a quarter of a million people very quickly. They were broadly popular,
sort of across the aisle, there were governors of both parties that spoke very positively
about these programs. Interestingly and differently from many of the earlier programs,
many of the placements were in the private sector, where business were getting subsidies to hire people. And then the programs
dramatically scaled back, or in many cases ended when
the federal funding expired, which suggests that they probably needed that federal funding to
keep the programs running. Okay, so what about these
transitional jobs evaluations, these randomized control
trials that we’ve done, what have we learned? First, these programs can
successfully target people who are unlikely to work on their own, and that’s the first goal
of any of these programs. Many different programs
structures are feasible, we’ve seen these run
in many different ways by many different kinds of organizations. All of them have managed to put
people to work in real jobs. And that’s baseline feasibility question, I think has been answered
a number of times. The actual placement rate
in transitional jobs, so I’m not talking about post-program now, I’m talking about in the program, tends to be higher when the jobs are in the non-profit or public sector, and I’ll show a picture
of that in a minute, and when the placements are immediate. So when people go to work
right when they enter a program and don’t have to go through a lot of pre-employment activities,
and that’s predictable. Important to know, may
people leave these programs, leave the transitional jobs
before the job actually ends. So you shouldn’t have a picture
of, it’s a four month job, people go work for four months, and they get kicked out of the job. Many people actually leave
for both good and bad reasons before they get to four months. Most of the programs that
we studied did not teach what I would call hard skills, they were not occupational
training programs. The jobs mostly did not
require high level of skills. Impacts on post-program employment. If you’ve seen any
talks about this before, you probably know that those impacts are small when the exist at all. And an interesting
finding about some hints of improvement in subjective wellbeing while people worked in transitional jobs, I’ll explain more about that in a minute. The enhanced transitional
jobs demonstration, which has not released
its final report yet, and I can’t tell you the
details, but I can say that some of the programs in that project do have some somewhat
more successful results than we’ve seen in the
past, so just a little plug for the report when it does come out. Okay, so this is the typical chart, if you’ve seen me or Cindy
or any of us present before, you’ve seen this picture before. We call it the TJ chart
or something like that. The dark line, can I get
one more line to, sorry. I meant to have another line
on there, but that’s okay. Large, large impact on
employment initially, we’re counting the
transitional jobs, right. So this is a very large impact
on employment initially. It peters out after people
leave the transitional jobs, and the question is whether
it goes down to zero. And in some programs,
it’s gone down to zero, and in some programs, same general shape. But the impact has been
sustained a little bit longer. So this was a model, by
the way, many models, it’s sort of an amalgam of
many different programs, where people were placed in nonprofit job, or in the public sector, basically placed with an employer who would
take pretty much anybody. This is what happens in program, we don’t have as long of follow up here, but this is what happens in programs where the program attempts to place people with a subsidy in a private sector job, and it turns out that
although many of the TANF emergency fund programs
were in the private sector, when you try to place
very hard to employ people in jobs in the private
sector with subsidies, many employers won’t bite. Even with a subsidy. So if you want to target a
very hard to employ population and get a very high rate
of subsidized employment, you probably need to
have a component of that at least that’s in the nonprofit
or in the public sector where people can,
organizations essentially that will hire anybody. This is just illustrating
the point I made before that the faster you
place people into jobs, the higher the rate of
subsidized employment. So for example, you look
all the way at the bottom in Indianapolis, the people
typically got their first, started working their subsidized job within just a couple of
days after they enrolled in the program and lo and behold, they place 100% of the
people in subsidized jobs. Some of the other programs
more up to the top of the chart, there were
various pre-employment activities people had to go through and they lost people along the way. The one at the very
top, Fort Worth program, tried to place everybody into
private sector employment. It took a long time and they only managed to get 39% of the people
into subsidized jobs, so another illustration of what
I was talking about before. Interestingly, the San Francisco program, the second one which we’ll
hear about more in a minute, that program did not have
a particularly high rate of placement in subsidized
jobs, fewer than half of the people in the program group worked in the subsidized job,
but interestingly it had pretty good post-program effects. And when you read the
report when it comes out, you’ll learn that that
may have had something to do with a very interesting
child support related incentive that this program
used where they lowered peoples child support orders temporarily while they participated and
it may have given people more of an incentive to work. We don’t know, we can’t prove that, but we think that may have been part of what was going on there. So what are some of the implications? If the goal is to improve
long term employment outcomes, so we’re going, about employability, proven employability and and
proven long term outcomes. I think we need to try to
test some new kinds of models. We’re getting maybe some
modest more positive effects in this enhanced transitional
jobs demonstration, but I think we need to do something to build people’s skills
more than we have. I think the hypothesis
that you can put people in a job that’s essentially
a low wage, low skill job, and the simple fact of them
working for several months is gonna make them
significantly more employable. I think that’s probably
not true in most cases. So I think maybe models
that have a bigger focus on occupational training, perhaps combined with subsidized employment
in various ways, may be a promising avenue
for future research. The other thing I wanted
to say before I end this, there’s a lot of talk recently
about subsidized employment. It’s sort of risen up
in the news recently, there have been proposals
for guaranteed jobs and a variety of other things
going on in the Congress. To me, the results from
these RCTs that I’ve been talking about may not
speak directly to the question of whether that’s good public policy. Because I think when people talk about a guaranteed jobs program,
and I don’t want to speak for the people that are proposing those, but I think they’re generally saying that it’s very important that everybody who wants to work be able to work. And that there are opportunities
for everyone to work and that they can earn, they
can essentially earn money in a socially desirable
way through employment. Whether or not those programs
lead to long term improvements in peoples employment outcomes, I think is to me a separate question, and so that’s why I think these RCTs, which really did look at that
long term employment outcome as the main outcome, or
recidivism in some cases, that’s not exactly what
we’re talking about, I think, when we’re talking about
a guaranteed jobs program. So I won’t say one way or the
other what I think about that, it’s not my place, but I just don’t think these RCT’s are necessarily the answer to whether that’s good public policy, so gonna turn it over to Cindy. (attendees applauding) – Hi everyone. I’m going to talk about
a subset of programs that targeted, of subsidized
employment programs that targeted formerly
incarcerated people. Could you? Okay, great. Okay, skipped a slide. Okay, so what does prisoner
reentry and recidivism have to do with employment? And that’s not on the slide,
this is just me talking. (coughs) Basically, when
we talk about prisoner reentry and we talk about recidivism, we often talk about employment,
it comes up in that context, and we talk about hard to employ people. So former prisoners are actually a subset of this larger hard to employ group, and they likely, many of them likely have the same kinds of
barriers that other people that are hard to employ have, so low educational obtainment,
lack of occupational skills, gaps in their work history,
other kinds of barriers, and in addition to that, they
also have a criminal record. So that’s just an added barrier. But just wanted to make
the point that many of them were hard to employ
before they went to prison. So their only barrier is likely not just the criminal record. But employment is also one
of the most important things that former prisoners
consider upon release, as well as their parole
officers and the programs that work with people
coming out of prison. So employment is on the top of the list, and it probably will remain there. In addition, many of the characteristics that make people hard to employ
are the same characteristics that might make them
more likely to recidivate or commit crime in the future. So likely by targeting these
kinds of characteristics and helping people
overcome those barriers, there’s also the potential to improve both employment and recidivism. So, and how might subsidized jobs programs improve employment and reduce recidivism? So there’s for both of these categories, there’s employment
earnings, and then there’s a category of recidivism,
for both of them, subsidized jobs programs
could effect these outcomes, both directly and indirectly. So for employment and earnings, similar to other hard
to employ populations, subsidized jobs programs can
improve people’s employability. So, they attend job readiness classes, teach them sort of soft
skills about how to work, how to show up on time,
that kind of thing, and generally make them more employable or more appealing to employers. They also work, many of these
subsidized jobs programs include not only the transitional job, but they have job coaching
and job development services, so they try to connect people with jobs, connect these participants with jobs they couldn’t access on their own. So the job developers
go out and actually talk to employers, and they’re working both with the employers and
with the participants. So that’s sort of, that’s a direct way to affect people’s
employment and earnings. And then, in terms of recidivism, so how might subsidized
jobs affect recidivism? So that’s again indirectly
through employment. So if someone does have
improved employment outcomes, they may also be less
likely to recidivate, simply because they’re working. But then directly, these
programs, as I mentioned, have other types of
services that can change their attitudes and behaviors, so there’s other things
going on in the programs that might affect these
attitudes and behaviors that tend to drive people to commit crime. So, the lessons that I’m going
to be talking about today actually draw from a
range of studies that Dan already mentioned, and
these studies started in 2003 and all the
way through the present with the enhanced transitional
jobs demonstration, which is still ongoing,
in the final stages. So this is sort of a
culmination of lessons across these random assignment studies. In total, there were eight
subsidized jobs programs that I’ll be drawing lessons from. So this looks familiar. Just wanted to illustrate
to you that the effects that we see for former
prisoners are very similar to the effects we see for
the other populations. Essentially the same chart. As you can see, there were
large increases in employment. So when people entered the program, they immediately started working
and we see large impacts. And what we have learned
across these eight evaluations is that subsidized jobs can
actually reduce recidivism. So this isn’t guaranteed,
we’ve seen this only in two of the eight
subsidized jobs programs that targeted former prisoners,
but we know it’s possible. So the question is sort of, how? And when we talk about
recidivism, we’re talking about rearrests, re-convictions
and re-incarceration, and those things are highly correlated, but to get the most complete picture of recidivism, we really
should measure all three of those things, any one
on its own isn’t going to give a complete picture. So, what does this tell us? This tell us, the fact that
only two of the eight programs reduced recidivism, it
tells us that it can’t be the job itself, because
we did see that impact that we saw in all of the other programs, with this big impact on employment. So even during that time, when we know that the program group was
more likely to be working, we didn’t necessarily see
the impacts on recidivism in all the programs. That tells us that the relationship between employment and recidivism
is not straightforward, so it might be causal, it might not go in the direction that we expect. Where we have seen a bit more consistency, in terms of how subsidized
jobs can affect recidivism, is that when the programs
target that high risk subgroup, they tend to be more
effective and more likely to reduce recidivism,
so for those programs, we looked at the impacts on employment and on recidivism among
groups that were categorized based on their level
of risk of recidivating when they entered the program. And what we found there is that for the highest risk subgroup, we
saw the largest reductions in recidivism and we saw that
in four of the eight programs when we looked at that subgroup. So four of the eight programs
that targeted former prisoners did have reductions in recidivism for that particular subgroup. What we also tend to see,
which criminologists wouldn’t be surprised about, is that
when you provide people who are low risk with
very intensive services, like subsidized jobs, you may actually have a negative impact. So the lesson here is just to be careful about the targeting. And for people who don’t
need that intensive help that’s provided by a
subsidized job programs, you could have negative effects. So in summary, what do we know? So we know that subsidized jobs will, it’s almost guaranteed that
there will be improvements in short term employment earnings, so that suggests that for people who are chronically unemployed, in
and out of the labor force, if there is a subsidized
job there available to them, their income will improve
during that time period when they’re in the transitional job. It’s almost, as I
mentioned, almost guaranteed as long as it’s targeted appropriately. And we also saw that
long term improvements in employment and earnings are possible, but if we see that and when we see that, they tend to be pretty small. So that means that people are still, even when we have those impacts,
people are still struggling in the labor market. For this population, on the longer term on subsidized employment, we tend to see that it’s usually less
than 50% at any given point are actually really working
at any given point in time. We also learned that subsidized
jobs can reduce recidivism among the four million incarcerated, but it’s not guaranteed
and it’s not clear exactly what mechanism is occurring. I can talk in a minute about some lessons, some sort of consistency
that we saw in the programs that were effective, but
we don’t know for sure. We think that subsidized jobs can be, we hear a lot about
engagement and how difficult it is to engage people in services. And subsidized jobs, if nothing else, are pretty good at engaging
people in services. So, because they’re showing up for work and they’re getting paid,
it makes them more motivated and available, willing, to
participate in other activities that might be helping them
improve their outcomes without, while they’re there. Also, the subsidized
jobs programs are very, they tend to be more structured. There’s a job, they have to
get up and they have to report to a job, so these programs
tend to provide structure during a period of transition
for former prisoners that’s, when they first get out, may
be a very uncertain period, so the structure may help. So, overall, what are the
lessons, the takeaways for how subsidized jobs
can reduce recidivism? As we mentioned, targeting
those at the high risk for recidivism likely
to have bigger effects. Among those people who walk in your doors, you’re already, it’s all
ready sort of a lower risk, but still high risk people
that are walking in the doors of the programs, and really just working to engage them right away, those that aren’t necessarily
as motivated to come back. What we also noticed
for those two programs in particular that were most effective at reducing recidivism is that
they were very experienced with the population, very
engaged with the parole systems and the other criminal
justice systems, the jails. Really just knew their
population and actually served exclusively that population. So that was an interesting
lesson to take away. The programs were also, the
most successful programs were also very highly structured, so people knew exactly
what their day was going to look like when they
got up in the morning and they walked into the
program, they knew that these were the things
that were going to happen, and it happened every day,
they knew their schedules, very structured. And also the programs
that were most effective, given the high risk
nature of the populations that these subsidized jobs
were most effective for, programs should probably
consider other services that are sort of
happening at the same time and might be affecting people’s
attitudes and behaviors. That’s it for me. Thank you. (attendees applauding) – Thank you guys, that was great. So I think with that,
I’d like to turn it over to our discussants. I’ve asked each of them to
spend a couple of minutes sort of reacting to what they just heard and kind of sharing
their thoughts with you, and then we’ll do some
questions among the panelists and then open it up for all of you to hear what your questions are. So, I actually didn’t plan this, but I was going to suggest we go Grant, Clarence, and Harry,
and the seating worked out, so that means we should do it. So, Grant do you want to get us started? – Fantastic. So, good afternoon everybody. I’m glad to be in the room with the smartest people in America. So just some quick observations, and then I have a little bit of other information I
want to share with you. The first one is I was
wondering if there were any measurable differences
between men and women regarding the transitional jobs. Another one would be,
I’ve always been concerned about how models taper the subsidy, particularly if it ends abruptly. Is the employer more interested
in getting the next person, or interested in what I
call the out transition of the transitional job. I look at it in two pieces,
there’s the in transition, and then there’s the out transition. So I was gonna spend most
of my time being concerned about and talking about the
out transition portion of that. And I noticed that there are implications for T.J. evaluations and
formerly incarcerated where there’s at least some recognition that skills might be
valuable and it should be considered in new models to test. And I would add to hard
skills, job readiness skills. I would expand that to
include job readiness skills, particularly interviewing skills, resumes that individuals can articulate what we call packaging the responsiveness of the ability to open
and close an interview and sort of command it. Prior to, or complementary
with the transition out phase, not so much before they
start, but perhaps alongside, but certainly before they transition out. Interestingly enough, we’ve
provided the job and the work, and we’ve heard this from
the two speakers already. But I would argue that we
have not built the pathway or the bridge to long-term, sustainable, competitive employment. And that worker qualities
that employers are looking for may not have been conferred fully through the work itself
in the transitional job. For any model or intervention
that can unlock the greatness or potential that lies in a person, and providing a transitional job, if and when it’s for the
goal of long term employment, in my view, requires more structure. Both going in, and
particularly before exiting, as I mentioned before. I would be looking for
the following factors: how clearly has this
opportunity been communicated as temporary yet designed specifically to improve long-term
employability via three things: what does the person
need to get out of this? Number two, that this
is a source of recent, viable work history, and
a credible reference. So, can it be communicated very clearly that this engagement period,
whether it’s 90 days, 180, whatever the term, but that there are some
very specific goals for it. And I would also add this to that, how has ownership of one’s
employment future been conveyed? So, in the process of doing it, there has to be an ongoing thought of, okay what’s the future look like? What do you plan to
leverage this to go get? What’s the goal from here? How has urgency been conveyed or messaged? What is the plan? And how are you taking
active steps towards it. The third one would be what
I refer to as learn by doing, so that there’s always an element of, you don’t actually have to be fully ready for the next thing to do, but that you can actually learn on the job,
and this should be an example, serve as an example during
the transitional job of that very thing. And this notion of what I
refer to as lifelong learning. So, every time you go to a new plateau, you essentially start over,
you’re going to start over with people, you’re gonna
start over with new tasks. But that we need to socialize
this point of change The next one is, can we
motivate through productivity? Is there a way to help this person celebrate milestones along the way? Whether it’s full attendance
for showing up on time for two weeks straight,
or whatever have you, there might be some
opportunities to do that. Along with the inclusion of hard skills, employers say they want
people who are reliable, who take on projects and be efficient, willing to learn new things and
continue to adapt and learn, and I believe that those five principals soft of drive towards that. And that these qualities could be embedded in some additional
structure via complementary job readiness, as I mentioned before, as a part of the out transition, and in so doing, improve
the jobs-getting skills of the job seeker. I think this would be
a good model to study. – Good afternoon, pleased
to be back here again with you today. And I think I’m a little
chagrined Grant went in front of me because he stole
everything I was going to say. (attendees laughing) – It’s the haircut. (attendees and presenters laughing) – But let me share maybe a little bit of a different dimension. What I see in the ultimate
results of these studies is that this approach
to subsidized employment was an approach of a job
for the sake of a job. Not for a job as a plan to grow capacity, to ultimately reduce dependency. It is the flaw, the central flaw, of the system of public
supports that it’s one thing. It’s either nutrition, or
it’s education, or it’s cash. It is never one thing. The challenges that our consumer have they are woven together. And so, while employment is vital, it has to be in conjunction
with the other aspects of the life of the individual. And so, what I would argue, and this is what to me,
Grant articulated very well is that those new models,
they need to operate from the context of employment
as an important component of the life of that
individual and how can you strengthen that individual’s
ability to not only get a job, but hold a job and grow in a job. And so, if we were to think
about subsidized employment from the perspective of,
let’s say that first job is not going to have
a life-sustaining wage in most instances. So then what if you use
the subsidy to enhance the level of earnings to
be able to make that job closer to life sustaining? As you grow their capacity to hold a job that has higher wage. So again, it becomes part of a plan to incrementally grow the
capacity of that individual to ultimately be able to act
in their own best interest. So whenever the model is only focused on whatever the one thing
is, that model will fail. And so that’s my reaction to the reports. (attendees applauding) – Clarence only spoke for three minutes, can I take his two leftover? (attendees laughing) The dominant reaction
I have to the reports, and again, we haven’t
seen all the reports, just based on what we’ve heard, is that it actually
doesn’t look that different from what we had known going in, that the two dominant findings, number one that you have
this big early spike in employment that mostly fades away, but maybe not completely. That holds up, and
number two that sometimes there’s recidivism effect, but not always, not for everybody, not at every program. We’ve known that before. And so it’s reinforced by these results. I found Cindy’s discussion
of for whom and when you get the recidivism
effect and when you don’t really quite interesting. Recidivism is very expensive. And it gets hard to cost out
all of the costs it imposes. There’s the administrative cost in the criminal justice system, forgoing earnings for the people you’re locking up, there’s a lack of child support
payments for the family, and increasingly we’re finding evidence of strong intergenerational
effects of incarceration, it really hurts the kids. And my guess is that
there’s no single study that can really cost all that out. But even a modest impact
on recidivism that lasts could make these programs
bring it much closer to cost effectiveness, and again we’d have to see the details,
but that was important. But in terms of what else I’d like to see, just want to mention
three things very quickly. First of all, I align
myself with the comments both of Grant and Clarence that probably more is needed. And the question is, what is that more? Probably something else that enhances, at a minimum, something that enhances the person’s job readiness. Now, do we have strong evidence of what enhances job readiness
among the hard to employ? The quick answer is no, we
just don’t have great evidence. And yet we all have a sense
that some things could work. Making people more familiar with the obligations of employment. By the way, no one’s
mentioned substance abuse. And making sure people are substance-free. Might well have a big impact
on these lasting benefits. Helping them with child support. By the way, when folks,
a lot of these guys are in arrears on child support, and when you’re in arrears, you have a lot of incentive to disappear. Helping them manage their
child support arrears could be another thing that
might enhance these efforts. Making them eligible for an
earned income tax credit. The next round of paychecks plus results are gonna come out pretty soon, I can’t say what they are,
I was on the advisory team. There is some good news
for this population. So that enhanced incentive
might be something that helps this population. Some kind of certification,
there’s evidence that when employers see
some kind of certificate of successful program
completion of something, that sometimes makes them more comfortable with bringing these folks on. So again, there’s a range of possible additional enhancements. And by the way, the skills
of the job developer on the way out the door, if they’re not being kept on by their first employer. That could be, some job developers are very good and have very strong ties to local businesses and some don’t. That could be important. And finally, work release
programs pre-release could help sustain, when
you still have people and you can work on their skills, and I see Jillian Burke in the back and I always like to pump
her doctoral dissertation on positive effects of work
release on subsequent earnings. Also there’s little pieces
you might add to this puzzle which might lead to sustaining effects. But, the point that Dan made that maybe, maybe we just can’t keep expecting this one, and Clarence said this too, that this one transitional
job is gonna solve all the problems, it’s
unlikely to do that, so maybe we just have
to start thinking about this as a piece of a broader effort, and of a longer effort,
not just a one time effort. And I’d like to think more
broadly about subsidized jobs. You know, transitional
jobs are just one model of a broader subsidized jobs piece, and as Dan said, the broader piece, you’re usually not thinking about it as a one time investment,
you’re thinking of it as an ongoing tool to
connect people to employment, I’d like to learn a lot
more about the possibilities of that ongoing tool and
what it costs, and we can come back to policy implications later, but I’d like to learn more about that. And finally, I’m a labor economist, so I always think about, what
about the labor market context and are there some labor market conditions in which all these programs
are more effective than others? My gut instinct is to say
the tighter the labor market, the better, and right now we have a pretty tight labor market. That’s good because
employers simply can’t afford to be that choosy when
they’re having trouble hiring and retaining their
most favorite type of worker, so they might be more
willing to take people on who they otherwise might not. On the other hand, Dan
talked about the experience of the emergency TANF program
during the Great Recession, which was also seen as a success
story by a lot of people, it’s never been rigorously evaluated, but it’s popular and people felt it did have some successes, and in a recession. And part of that program, it wasn’t as tightly targeted on the hard to employ, which maybe lowered the stigma. You know, all these
programs tend to stigmatize. If you tell an employer, this is a program for the hardest to employ,
you’ve probably killed any chance that they
have of really wanting to take these folks on. During the Great Recession,
you didn’t have the hardest of the hardest to employ,
and a lot of people were out of work, and
it seemed like employers weren’t reacting so
negatively to the candidates you brought forward, so
you can make the case that sometimes it’s good to
have a very strong economy, with very high demand,
sometimes in a recession, which kind of means in different
labor market circumstances you might want to structure
these programs differently. And again, possibly with
different kinds of goals to maximize your ability
to get something out of it. So those are some of my
thoughts and takeaways, and happy to talk more about those. (attendees applauding) – Thank you guys. I told you that they wouldn’t disappoint. So, Dan and Cindy, I
just wanted to give you the opportunity to, if
you had any reactions or responses or wanted to sort of jump in. – I can just, say one,
I mean you guys raised an incredible number of good points, I can’t respond to all of
them, I wrote down a few notes. I feel bad sometimes being
sort of a Monday morning quarterback after we evaluate something and then look back and say, “we knew that wasn’t going to work.” I think the theory here,
which didn’t seem crazy, was that the best way for someone to learn to work is by working. And so, we’ll give them a
job and it’s not a real job in the labor market, but it’s a job that will employ this individual. They’ll learn to get up in
the morning, go to work, and they’ll have a supervisor,
and they’ll sort of get used to those habits, and that will make them more employable. I think the way a lot of
these programs have worked in practice, and Cindy
can say if she disagrees, but there’s a subsidized
job and people sort of work for awhile, they get handed
off to a job developer after four months or whatever it is, and the job developer
helps them find a job. I don’t feel like in most
of them there was a lot of connection between
all that, and I think you were getting at this a
little bit, taking advantage of what happened in the
subsidized job to help sort of launch the person, it
was more like hand them over to the job developer and then
they sort of do what they would have done if the
person had just walked in the door without having just worked for three or four months
in the subsidized job. And so I think maybe there
was a little naivete initially about how much this would
make somebody more employable, just the simple face of working
for three or four months, and maybe it was a lot to expect. But I think that was sort of the theory and just one thought. – So I can try to respond
to a couple of the comments. So, Grant you were asking
about the men and women and whether we’d seen differences. For the most part, most of the studies had such a small
population of women in them that we really couldn’t look at it. But, we did anyway, but we
can’t say anything for sure. But the effects are just so different. They were a bit more positive for women. And I think in general
we knew that from earlier from supported work that for women these programs tend to
work a little bit better, but nothing definitive,
but that’s what we know. You were asking about the
employers, the out transition. So I, in the ETJD project,
we had one site in Fort Worth that tried to place people with
the private sector employer, and that was their, it was also tapered, so they would pay their
full wage for I want to say four weeks, or
eight weeks, four weeks, no eight weeks, and then
the next eight weeks it would be half of the wage. So I had the opportunity to
interview some employers, which I found really
fascinating to hear sort of what they were looking for out of it, and they really liked the
opportunity that they, pretty much they could hire someone, not have to worry about
giving them benefits or worry about if they don’t work out and then I’m gonna have to fire them, ’cause they could put all
of that on the program. It didn’t sound like
for the most part they were taking advantage, they
really seemed like they went in with the intention
of hiring people. So in terms of the out transition
for that particular model, they weren’t looking
to transition them out. They actually wanted to keep them. But it could have been, it
was part of the agreement. But they were, they really are
looking for stable employees. And I think that working
with those employers when job developers are able to do that, sometimes they can change their mind, but they have to already be of the mindset that they would change their mind about hiring someone with a record. – Right, right. – And then Harry, you were
asking about a lot of things, more enhanced job readiness, certificates, and these are all the
child support I found particularly interesting. I wish that we had more
time to get into the results from ETJD and look at some
of those enhancements. But some of those models were enhanced, and there is some, especially
with the child support, we did see some really interesting effects that seem like they could be coming from the particular child support enhancement, the one where they reduce their orders because it’s sort of immediate. We had another program that
also had a child support incentive, but it wasn’t,
it was reducing the, sorry, forgiving interest on arrears, which maybe felt a little less tangible, so we didn’t see similar effects. But the one in San Francisco
was really in their paycheck they saw a big difference. So there could be something
there, we don’t know for sure but it would have been nice,
and some of these models, they were enhanced transitional jobs, and they tried out a
lot of the enhancements that we’re talking about
in one form or another. And the effects were
somewhat more positive on longer term outcomes, but still small. I don’t want to say that we
tested the hard skills, though. That I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying, some of the programs had that component, but it was small and not really marketed, and I think they kind of saved it for the, a very limited number of people
who really sought it out. It would be interesting
to test a skills model. I could keep talking, but
I feel like I should stop. – If I could, again, I think the point you make about a Monday morning quarterback, I understand that, but I
feel like we’re glossing over the point of the belief that
something is a single bullet. To me, it’s the fundamental
flaw of the way our system is designed and operating. I’m not saying, I’m not
diminishing the importance of work one bit, it is fundamental. But that in and of
itself don’t get it done. And until we understand
that the only way we’re going to be able to
significantly move the needle in service to vulnerable populations is to understand that the whole context of their vulnerability,
and attempt to organize a set of supports around all of that, we’re gonna continue to
have the substandard results that we have had. – It’s always hard to go after Clarence. (attendees laughing) You always say something really– – Right. – So I do want to leave
some time for questions from folks, and we have a few minutes before we need to get to that, so I want to throw it back to you
guys and say, so what? So what does this mean for policy? What do we think this
means for the next steps? What are your thoughts on that? So, Harry since you went last, last time, how about you start us off? – About time. So, I think, and again, following up on what both Grant and Clarence said, the idea if you can do
another round of these Tjs, again what more would you pack in? What more complementary services? What more ongoing se vices? More coaching during and after the TJ ends and some of these other things. And the whole, the public
versus private sector thing, actually I thought was quite interesting. First time you glance at the diagrams, they look pretty similar,
you know bump up, but the public sector you
get a much bigger bump up and then a much faster decline, and the private sector doesn’t
fall off nearly as quickly. This notion of the really
hardest of the hard to employ the high risk
and only the public sector, and really maybe focusing
on the recidivism effects, whereas people, one or
two runs up the ladder, sending to the private sector, that might be an
interesting differentiation. So I can see more work with Tjs, but I really want to try the
broader subsidized jobs piece. And the way I would structure it is to send, have some kind
of competitive grant and sent these dollars to
really distressed regions, distressed areas where
even in an four percent unemployment economy, it’s clear
that there are too few jobs for the people who need them. And see what you can generate
in terms of employment for folks in that, and
experiment what you evaluate. Evaluate what it does to the local economy to have those kinds of injections. So to me that’s pretty
high in the policy agenda. Getting away from this mindset
of a one-time investment, and something maybe we
might need to have ongoing, which leads me to one more point, and here I’m gonna stir
the pot a little bit and pick a little bit of
a fight with Clarence, not too much. Clarence, when I heard
you speak a few days ago, you presented all these
things and all these goals for ACF, and they all sounded great, except for one. When you insisted on cost neutrality for all these programs. What that means, and I even asked you just to make sure I understood, and you said that every dollar spent has to be offset somewhere
else, and I’m sorry, I think that will wipe
out, everything that’s been said on this panel
requires more spending on these folks, not less. And I was on a panel
before, not about hard to employ folks, but three great programs, all of which work ASAP, Quest and Vida, not for the hard to employ
but a little higher, but each costs 10 to 15
grand per participant, and you have those kinds of
numbers, you’re not gonna get cost neutrality in the public sector, just not gonna happen. And there’s this notion, this stereotype that we hear a lot from our
conservative friends, it’s “there’s so much money
we’re already pouring “into these programs,
there’s so much waste “and so much overlap,
it’s easy to carve out.” There are too many programs, and there does need to
be some consolidation, I think that’s correct. America does not spend so much money on low income people, period. America, the federal
government spends four percent of GDP on means tested programs, but half of that is Medicaid. Healthcare is so expensive
in America that that’s, and outside of that
it’s two percent of GDP. Two percent of GDP is
just not a lot of money compared to almost over
industrialized country, and all those other countries
have fewer poor people as a percentage of their
population than we do. So I want to get away
from this notion that, “oh, there’s so much.” And I don’t even want
to talk about tax cuts to millionaires in the
trillions of dollars, I won’t go there. (attendees laughing and cheering) But if we’re gonna be
honest about everything that’s been said on this
panel by every single person, we got to get away from this
notion that cost neutrality, ’cause that’s gonna wipe out everything that might actually work for these folks, in my humble opinion. (attendees applauding) – I gotta take a run at that. (panelists laughing) – Imagine my surprise. – (laughing) First of all, we spend, as a society,
just federal and state government alone, annually
about a trillion dollars in pursuit of service to
vulnerable populations. My principle argument is, not
that we don’t spend enough, is that what we spend, we spend stupidly. A vast majority of our expenditures are on accessing the consumer, bringing the consumer into the system, not serving them, but
literally the structure that brings them in, that acquires them. If we thought smarter,
if it was our intention as a system to grow people through, and we restructured our spending, there would be more than enough spending to achieve the objective. We simply don’t spend the dollars
that we spend effectively. And so I would argue for
restructuring spending before we say, “yep we don’t
have enough, we need more.” – So I’m gonna try to
do something with that. (attendees laughing) I think I actually have a practical bridge of sort of both perspectives here. We do something alongside,
so the notion is, I wrote it down several days ago, it says here, help policymakers understand the job isn’t always enough. So we all understand that, right. In the work that we do,
not only are we doing the transitional jobs and
subsidized employment, but we build something
called circles of support. We have 21 different
service site locations across two states, each has
its own circle of support. I’ve organized 1,299
mission based organizations that don’t charge us to help, in service of the
population continue to grow and move forward, because
we’re not thinking of the person just with the subsidy, or just with a job, but
we’re actually thinking of all of the de terminates that are going to weigh on this individual,
so I’m gonna just give you a brief overview
of what those are, but in just about every
one of our circles, we have 29 different domains, so it’s a very broad set of supports that we organize on behalf of
this person and their family, and I have to include
that because sometimes, the family, as many of you
know, may weigh differently on the individual’s ongoing
pursuit of employment and/or able to persist in employment. So, we have to deal with that as well. So we’re talking child abuse and neglect, clothing is an obvious
one, I’m gonna just go through some of them,
education, family counseling, so there’s cognitive behavioral therapy, childcare, medical
services, language services, legal, child support,
utilities, supportive housing, that’s just a broad sort of group, but we found it necessary, otherwise, people don’t persist. The other thing I would add to that, in terms of a practice, is
that it would make sense to screen people for
asset-building resources. Even at the beginning
of a transitional job, even if they’re not eligible for them, just so that they can
understand that work pays, and that they can continue
the forward progress, whether it’s EITC, which Harry mentioned. But individual development counseling, whatever milieu is local that is there, I think it’s worth doing. As far as next steps, I’ll be brief, find better ways to out transition, put some structure on that. I already mentioned the notion about a job not being enough, ane
expect greater outcomes for long term employment, I
think is where we should start. And I think that’s consistent
with what Clarence said, and we do it, so I’m not afraid to say it, but I think some portion
of pay on performance in these models also help as well. – Erica, can I just add one other thing? – [Erica] Go for it. – I just want to amplify
something Cindy said, ’cause I think it, we talk about the job is not enough, which I think everybody agrees. But I think there is a
little bit of necessary but not sufficient piece to this, because when you have a subsidized job, it really is an
opportunity to deliver lots of other things to people. It’s really hard to engage
people in all sorts of services. And not only do people come,
because they’re getting paid and most people want a job, and so they come, there’s
a structure to the day. There’s other things you could layer on, these programs may not have
done that particularly, but jobs are really useful, and a useful way to provide other things. – [Clarence] Absolutely. – All right, so let’s hear from you. I would encourage our
viewers on the livestream that you can enter your
questions on the livestream or send an email to [email protected], or tweet @recslive, but
for those in the room, let’s start here. – Hi, my name is Chris
Peek, I’m from the Illinois Department of Human Services. I really appreciated the
summary of the modest but miserable effect of
subsidizing employment, and I primarily direct this to Mr. Bloom, can you summarize the
research on what we know about how effective
introducing or increasing work requirements are on people who are in public aid programs for increasing or sustaining employment? – No. (all laugh) I mean, I think we have evidence that mandatory sort of
welfare to work type programs did increase employment, maybe a little, I have colleagues who could probably answer
this a little better. Separating the fact that the mandate versus the actual service that people got is a little hard, but I think, I don’t know if that
answers your question, but I think and I can’t say whether more of a mandate, stricter sanctions are better than not, I
don’t know about that, but I think there is
evidence that if you create a mandatory, a mandate to participate in employment activities or work, you do end up increasing employment. – Partly asking from the
front line perspective where if we have a new work requirement, the onus falls on our
thousands of case workers to kind of explain how we’re helping you by requiring you to work, otherwise you won’t receive your benefits. And we struggle as an
agency to try and frame that in a way that’s
constructive and realistic. – Could I make a comment about that? If you look at purely at workforce work requirements, something
about the national evaluation of welfare to work strategies, there was an initial bump in employment but after five years, any
positive effects disappear, so I think the evidence
is if it’s a mandate only, that probably, along the
lines of what we’ve all said, just forcing someone to work alone and doing nothing else
does not enhance their long term employability. Now, welfare reform in the nineties seemed to have had a permanent
effect on raising employment for less educated single moms. Some of the effect
disappeared as time went on, but some of it didn’t. But you had a perfect
storm of positive things. Not only did you have the
stick of the work mandate, and of course a lot of people
were driven off the rolls, you had the carrot of big
expansions in the EITC, expansions in childcare
subsidies, a rising minium wage, and of course in the late nineties, a very tight labor market, which pushed and pulled a lot of folks. So maybe the work mandate
by itself is not going to be a silver bullet, and by the way, you have to think of the
costs as well as the benefits to the people who are
kicked off, and if you want to think about, there’s a
guy named Peter the Citizen, who writes a lot about the TANF– – I know him. – I’m sure you do (laughing). Disabuses us of the notion that if you just hit these people enough that you’ll do, but combining it within a package of a broader supports and broader incentives, in the
right kind of labor market, could possibly do some good. Again, I’m going to
argue that doing it right often costs more money, not less, but that’s how I think about it, depending on how it’s done
and what it’s combined with, it could be more or less positive. – And I would build on
that, Chris, and say again, and it’s consistent with what I’ve said and heard the rest of the panel say, if the way that your front line worker is explaining this is, just go to work, they ain’t explaining it right. It has to be, we have to
approach work as a part of a fuller prescription for
human wellbeing and growth. And if we approach it and operate it in that context, it can work. But no one thing, no just
telling somebody to go to work, no that’s not gonna solve the problem that we’re trying to solve. – Thank you all for the great information and recommendations you provided today. My name’s Amanda Evans, and I’m with Puma Community
College in Tucson, Arizona. We’re proud to partner with
our Federal Bureau of Prisons and our Arizona Department of Corrections to provide occupational
training inside of prisons. Can you talk about recommendations for moving forward for the next stage, on how those career and technical skills that I heard you all talk
about can be important added to that job factor,
how that plays with what happens inside the prison, and how you see Department of Education, and specifically Title 4 fitting in with some recommendation moving forward for transitional jobs supports? – I think it’s great, I think
it’s a great opportunity to, if services can start,
especially education and training while people are still inside, I don’t see any downside,
why not take advantage of that time to help them build skills? There’s no, not much
rigorous research out there that suggests that would be effective. It’s very difficult to
operate training programs and education programs
in the prison setting because of, I’m sure you’re aware, of all the security and the
moves and the in and out, and from a research
perspective, the people who quality and are
interested in those programs while they’re incarcerated
are very motivated, a specific subset of people. So I think, I don’t see any
downside in offering it, I think it would be great. You have to get Department of Corrections to participate and be cooperative. – If I could say one other thing, I would build on that. I think a point that Dan
raised in his presentation, the individuals who are
helping with the intervention have to understand the environment because they can, it’s almost like the convening part of a 12 step program. When a group of people get together, they understand the experience. And so I believe that being
able to have individuals who understand that
incarceration experience and the bridge to the other side, as being part of the intervention, I think it’s really important. – So we all agree that
it’s hard to do good career and tech ed in prison, you
don’t have the equipment, there’s all kinds of things. A couple of things, number
one, differentiating the prisoners to see who can more benefit from these services versus less. At a minimum, trying to get people GED’s, for the people who are closer to that. But really working on
that work readiness piece. And job readiness in terms
of helping them understand what to expect, and by the way, federal prison industries
has not been a great tool to enhance subsequent employability. And one of the problems is
we pay people very little for the work they do
when they’re behind bars, which doesn’t exactly give them a positive experience with work. So, I would argue that they
have to be better compensated if you’re going to have
something like work release, or some real work, besides
just folding the laundry or working in the kitchen, that it should be compensated while you focus
on the work readiness piece for those who are, in some
sense, closer to the line and ready to be helped. – All right, well we’re at, there’s someone who really
wants to ask a question, we’re out of time, so we
have just a couple minutes, come on up. Sorry, it’s like a labyrinth
to get to the microphone. – I’m from Virginia,
Department of Social Services, and my question is, in the research, did you or could you include information about what was the status or condition of these individuals before
they were unemployed? Have they been unemployed for three years? What was the condition before
they were incarcerated? Because there’s a
difference between someone who was, had a job,
embezzled, was incarcerated, they get out, and when
you’re lumping everyone into one category of incarcerated, I think the effects of these
programs can be different. So I guess my question
is could you or do you get information about their
experience prior to the program? – Yeah, I think that’s a great question. On the research, we collect
administrative data, and we try to get at the
how much were they working, both a combination of administrative data as well as asking them a baseline about the prior three years. Now with the formerly incarcerated people, I can say that their employment
history is quite spotty. Many of them, most of them,
had worked at some point, but then we find maybe
half of them ever worked for six months at a time, so we do, we try to measure it that way. I think the noncustodial parents and the TANF populations
have a little more recent work experience, but
for the formerly incarcerated that we focused on in these studies, they’ve been in and out of prison, this is not, it’s not their first offense. They had issues before. – If we took a more person
or family-centered approach to our service, we would have to begin serving any individual or family with a robust assessment of who they are and what are the set of
challenges that they’re facing. So instead of just trying to put any particular intervention
on, that intervention has to happen in the
context of understanding who it is that we’re serving. But in our sort of
cookie cutter environment where we think, we’re
gonna give you what I got, whether or not what I
got is of value to you, that won’t help us ultimately
help that individual or family create the path that they need. – [Erica] So we just have
one quick question, last one. And I mean it this time. (attendees laughing) – I’m Megan Reed from the
University of Wisconsin, (microphone booms) whoa, for research on poverty. So my question is just
given the persistent, the ongoing racial discrimination
in hiring practices, especially among people
with criminal justice histories, I was
wondering if you looked at or found any differential
impact by race and ethnicity within these program evaluations? And if not, or even if
so, I was wondering if you thought of additional research questions you could ask that could get at that more, like for example, I was
wondering if maybe subsidies might change employer
behaviors in these areas, or many other questions like that. – In our studies, the
majority of the population is black or Hispanic,
so the subgroup analysis isn’t as robust as we would like it to be. We definitely haven’t
found difference though when we have been able to look at impacts by race and ethnicity, other than to say that Hispanics sometimes
have more positive effects. But yeah, I don’t know if
that answered your question or was helpful, anything to add? – [Dan] It wasn’t a huge
amount of variation. – One way to think about,
the deep pager work, for instance, which says there’s strong incarceration effect,
there’s a strong race effect, even if they’re not
interactive, black ex-offenders start with two big strikes
against them rather than one. So even if the impact of
the treatment is the same, is still leaves many fewer of them further from the starting line. Now that’s a case potentially, and again, not with people reading
at the sixth grade level, not for people that still
have substance problem, but for people who are
reading at the ninth or tenth, that really could be, along the lines of the previous question, more employable, some of this discrimination
is what economists call statistical discrimination,
absent any real information about the individual, people
fall back into stereotypes. But if you have
person-specific information, the developer has it, you can sort of say, look this individual’s
done some positive stuff, they’ve completed these efforts,
and they have a good record of working, some of those things, my guess is, could chip
away at the employer’s fear, which is likely to be
greater with black men than with white or latino men. – [Megan] Thank you. – All right, well before
we thank our panel, I just want to invite people, there is a young professionals happy hour happening at the Marriott
Marquis, so not here, down the street, for
those that are interested, and I think the conference starts back up tomorrow morning at 8:30. But I promised you a great session, I think we delivered, so please join me in thanking our panelists. (attendees applauding)

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