Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Strategies Project, 2018 - 2023

Project Overview

To further build the evidence around effective strategies for helping low-income individuals find and sustain employment, OPRE contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Strategies (NextGen) Project. This project will identify and test approximately nine innovative, promising employment interventions designed to help individuals facing complex challenges secure a pathway toward economic independence. These challenges may be physical and mental health conditions, substance misuse, a criminal history, or limited work skills and experience. Additionally, the project is working closely with the Social Security Administration to incorporate a focus on employment-related early interventions for individuals with current or foreseeable disabilities who have limited work history and are potential applicants for Supplemental Security Income.   

Key components of the project include:

  • Impact Study – To examine the interventions’ impact on participants’ employment and earnings, and other outcomes of interest.
  • Descriptive Study – To describe the design and operations of the selected interventions, and to document the outcomes of participants served by the interventions. The project may also conduct case studies of the role of employers and market-oriented programs, such as social enterprises, in assisting individuals with complex challenges to obtain and retain employment.
  • Cost Study – To examine each interventions’ sources of funding, use of resources to implement the approach, costs and benefits, and sustainability.
  • Dissemination – To share findings and lessons learned from the project with a broad range of stakeholders such as policymakers, practitioners, program developers, and researchers across the welfare, workforce, disability, education, and justice communities.

The project is actively coordinating with Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families Project (BEES), another OPRE project focused on strengthening 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 OPRE points of contact for the NextGen Project are Hilary Bruck (federal project officer), Gabrielle Newell, Marie Lawrence, and Connor Williams.