Paths to Advancement for Single Parents

Publication Date: November 15, 2010


Between 2000 and 2003, the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project identified and implemented a diverse set of innovative models designed to promote employment stability and wage or earnings progression among low-income individuals, mostly current or former welfare recipients. The project’s goal was to determine which strategies could help low-wage workers stay employed and advance over time –– and which strategies seem not to work.

Over a dozen different ERA program models have now been evaluated using experimental, random assignment research designs, and three of the programs increased single parents’ employment and earnings. This report augments the ERA project’s experimental findings by examining the work, education, and training experiences of single parents targeted by the studied programs. Although the analysis is descriptive only and cannot be used to identify the exact causes of advancement, examining the characteristics of single parents who advance and the pathways by which they do so can inform the design of the next generation of retention and advancement programs.


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