Millions of welfare recipients have entered the labor force in the past decade, but surveys show that many remain in unstable, low-paying jobs that offer few opportunities for advancement. This report presents early evidence on the effectiveness of four diverse programs designed to help current or former welfare recipients work more steadily and increase their earnings. The programs are part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs nationwide. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC under a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Each ERA program is being evaluated using a random assignment research design whereby individuals are assigned, through a lottery-like process, to a program group that is eligible for ERA services or to a control group that is not.