Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families Project (BEES), 2017 - 2022

The purpose of this project is to strengthen ACF’s understanding of effective interventions aimed at supporting low-income individuals to find jobs, advance in the labor market, and improve their economic security.

The project will build evidence in this area by:

  • Conducting a series of rigorous federal evaluations of innovative programs designed to promote employment and build self-sufficiency for low-income individuals.
  • Supporting states in moving toward rigorous evaluation of such programs, at a state level.
  • Prioritizing evaluations of programs that work with individuals struggling with opioid dependency, abuse of other substances, and/or mental health issues.

Interventions that are candidates for evaluation may include programs that serve TANF recipients or, more broadly, individuals and their families who are at risk of TANF dependency. The project will select interventions that have already been fully implemented, undergone formative evaluations or assessments resulting in a logic model, or have shown some significant impacts in summative evaluations, allowing this project to increase the number of evidence-supported interventions in this area.

ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation is overseeing the project in collaboration with ACF’s Office of Family Assistance. MDRC is the lead contractor; their partners include Abt Associates and MEF Associates.

ACF is eager to partner with states on this project and welcomes expressions of interest. The points of contact for the project are Tiffany McCormack and Carli Wulff.

Related Resources

This paper examines the impetus and existing evidence on programs that integrate employment services with treatment and recovery services for people with opioid and other substance use disorders (SUDs). It includes an overview of the nature and recent history of SUDs and their treatment, including the important role that employment can play in recovery, and discusses the factors that historically limited the role of employment services in treatment programs. It also provides a brief review of the limited but promising evidence on the effectiveness of integrating substance use disorder treatment and employment services in improving participants’ employment outcomes.

This paper describes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, a framework for providing employment services to those facing barriers to work.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model for helping people who have serious mental illness find employment. There is a good deal of evidence showing the model’s success, but less is known about the model’s effectiveness with those who have other types of disabilities and health conditions, such as physical disabilities or less severe types of mental illness...

The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, California, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. 

MDRC carried out a random assignment impact evaluation of the program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, in order to assess the effectiveness of the program at improving employment outcomes for program participants. Findings from that evaluation Visit disclaimer page were released in September 2019...

The Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families Project (BEES) project strengthens ACF’s understanding of effective interventions aimed at supporting low-income individuals to find jobs, advance in the labor market, and improve their economic security. Read the May 2020 newsletter.