The Employment Retention and Advancement Project: Results from the Personal Roads to Individual Development and Employment (PRIDE) Program in New York City

Published: July 15, 2007
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Employment Retention and Advancement Project (ERA), 1998-2011 | Learn more about this project

Many states are searching for ways to promote employment among welfare recipients facing serious barriers to work. This report presents interim results from an evaluation of New York City’s Personal Roads to Individual Development and Employment (PRIDE) program, a large-scale welfare-to-work program for recipients with work-limiting medical or mental health conditions. The PRIDE evaluation is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which was conceived by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC under contract to ACF, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

PRIDE operated from 1999 to 2004, serving more than 30,000 people, before it was replaced by a new program that builds on the PRIDE model. PRIDE started with an in-depth assessment of participants’ work and education history and their medical conditions. The program’s employment services were similar to those in New York’s regular welfare-to-work program — emphasizing unpaid work experience, education, and job placement assistance — but, in PRIDE, staff tried to ensure that participants were assigned to activities that took account of their medical conditions (most commonly, orthopedic problems, mental health conditions, asthma, or high blood pressure).

PRIDE is being evaluated using a random assignment research design: More than 3,000 eligible recipients were assigned, through a lottery-like process, to the PRIDE group, which was required to participate in the program in accordance with citywide rules, or to the control group, which was neither required nor permitted to participate in PRIDE but could seek out other services.