Next Steps for Employment and Training Research: Roundtable and White Papers, 2017 - 2021

The primary goal of this project is to identify gaps in knowledge of employment and training approaches for low-income populations and recipients of social safety net benefits by convening a roundtable of subject matter experts to discuss the current status of and gaps in the research and by producing a series of complementary white papers.

The roundtable was held in January 2019 and gathered policymakers, employers, researchers, and practitioners to discuss the status of and future directions for research on improving the economic prospects of low-income populations. In 2020 the project published, Employment and Training Programs Serving Low-Income Populations: Next Steps for Research, which synthesizes themes from the roundtable, summarizes what is known from past and current research, identifies knowledge gaps, and proposes a set of potential research questions that can help define future research opportunities.

The project is currently working on two additional white papers. One focuses on potential changes in the labor market and nature of work over the next 10 to 15 years and implications for research on employment and training programs supporting low-income workers. The other paper will summarize a scan of the field and expert consultations on interdisciplinary approaches to inform future employment and training strategies for low-income populations and further expand the knowledge base.

OPRE may draw on this knowledge as it considers potential future directions for its research and evaluation portfolio.

The project is being conducted by MEF Associates in partnership with MDRC.

Point(s) of contact: Hilary Bruck and Lauren Deutsch.

Related Resources

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a long history of supporting rigorous research and evaluation on the broad range of human services programs that fall under ACF’s auspices. Many of ACF’s programs have components aimed at supporting employment among low-income populations, and, consequently, OPRE regularly supports...