Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations

2016-2023

OPRE launched this project in 2016 to evaluate interventions that apply coaching practices to promote job entry and retention among TANF populations and other low-income individuals. Coaching-based interventions have been put forth as one way to give people the tools to overcome various barriers in order to build employment-related skills and to secure work. The hypothesis underlying these approaches is that participants’ challenges may be addressed through coaching by specially trained staff who help them identify goals for change and steps needed to attain them. While coaching-focused employment programs for individuals with disabilities have been evaluated extensively, it is not yet known to what extent similar models will translate into impacts for low-income and other vulnerable groups. This project seeks to fill that gap in the research and contribute to the body of evidence regarding what works for helping TANF clients and related populations move toward self-sufficiency.

Led by Mathematica Policy Research in partnership with Abt Associates, the project is conducting impact evaluations and complementary implementation assessments of the five sites selected to participate in the evaluation. The evaluation is also examining the impact of coaching on self-regulation skills, and the role of these skills in generating any impacts on employment outcomes. The five sites participating in the evaluation are:

  • MyGoals for Employment Success in Baltimore, MD and Houston, TX (being evaluated as two distinct sites)
  • LIFT in New York, NY; Chicago, IL; and Los Angeles, CA
  • Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program, operated by the Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Goal4 It!, administered by the Jefferson County Department of Human Services in Jefferson County, CO

Point(s) of contact: Hilary Bruck and Victoria Kabak

Information collections related to this project have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under OMB #0970-0506. Related materials are available at the Evaluation of Employment Coaching page on RegInfo.gov Visit disclaimer page .

The most currently approved documents are accessible by clicking on the ICR Ref. No. with the most recent conclusion date. To access the information collections (E.g. interviews, surveys, protocols), click on View Information Collection (IC) List. Click on View Supporting Statement and Other Documents to access other supplementary documents.

Related Resources

This report summarizes the design and implementation of the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program and describes FaDSS’ design and goals, the target population and program participants, the implementation of coaching, and other services available to program participants.

This report discusses issues related to selecting and testing measures of self-regulation skills in evaluations of employment programs for low-income populations. First, it presents an overview of criteria for selecting measures of self-regulation skills. Second, through a presentation of empirical evidence, this report demonstrates a process for developing and testing self-regulation measures in the context of an impact evaluation of employment coaching programs for low-income populations. Third, it discusses how the process could be adapted to other studies.

An important goal of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other assistance programs is to help their participants become economically secure and achieve self-sufficiency. To meet this goal, some programs offer services to address challenges to employment such as those caused by lack of education or occupational skills, mental health issues, or lack of transportation or child care. However, for some participants, these services are not enough to help them become economically secure.

New research has led policymakers and researchers to argue that some people might not achieve economic independence in part because of difficulty applying the self-regulation skills needed to get, keep, and advance in a job (Pavetti 2018; Cavadel et al. 2017). These self-regulation skills—sometimes referred...

Together with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families, Mathematica and its partners Abt Associates and MDRC are examining the effectiveness of using coaches...

People’s ability to find, keep, and advance in a job depends on self-regulation skills in addition to education, work experience, and technical skills (Almlund et al. 2011). Self-regulation skills include the ability to finish tasks...

This project will evaluate up to three coaching interventions that are oriented toward both job entry and retention and target TANF populations and other low-income individuals. Coaching-based interventions have been put forth as one way to give people the tools to overcome various barriers in order to build employment-related skills and to secure work. The hypothesis underlying these approaches is that participants’ challenges may be addressed through coaching by specially trained staff...