Findings for the Cleveland Achieve Model: Implementation and Early Impacts of an Employer-Based Approach to Encourage Employment Retention Among Low-Wage Workers

Published: December 15, 2008
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Employment Retention and Advancement Project (ERA), 1998-2011 | Learn more about this project

This report presents results from an evaluation of the Achieve program in Cleveland. Run by the organization Towards Employment, Achieve provided on-site services in the workplace to increase retention among low-wage workers. It is among 16 models being tested by MDRC in the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional support from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

A common challenge for programs providing retention and advancement services is the difficulty of engaging clients, whose work and family responsibilities often leave little time to visit program staff. The key idea behind Achieve’s employer-based model was to take the program to the workers, making it easier and more convenient for them to take advantage of services. The Achieve program consisted of on-site delivery of case management services, where staff met individually with clients to discuss a wide variety of issues, ranging from workplace and housing problems to transportation and child care; weekly information sessions covering such topics as time and stress management, goal-setting, budgeting, and credit repair; and trainings for the supervisors of low-wage workers.

Achieve is being evaluated using a random assignment research design, in which 44 employers were randomly assigned to either a program group, eligible to receive Achieve’s services for their low-wage workers, or a control group, not eligible for these services. Because of traditionally high turnover rates in the long-term nursing care industry, Towards Employment recruited employers primarily from that sector.