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The Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse: The What Works Clearinghouse of Proven and Promising Approaches to Move Welfare Recipients to Work, 2018 - 2021

Project Overview

People who run programs for low-income job seekers and those seeking to promote policies that can improve employment outcomes for low-income individuals need evidence about what works. While a large body of evidence exists it can be challenging for program administrators and policymakers to know where to find that evidence and determine how it might apply to their programs and populations. To provide reliable, accessible information about what works to help people who are low income succeed in the labor market, OPRE launched the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse: The What Works Clearinghouse of Proven and Promising Approaches to Move Welfare Recipients to Work, a systematic evidence review and website. By systematically reviewing the evidence, the Pathways Clearinghouse identifies interventions that aim to improve employment outcomes, reduce employment challenges, and support self-sufficiency for populations who are low income.

The Clearinghouse has several goals:

  • Conduct a transparent, comprehensive search to identify studies of employment and training interventions designed to improve employment, increase earnings, support self-sufficiency, or advance education and training for populations who are low income.
  • Rate the quality of those studies to assess the strength of the evidence they provide on the different interventions.
  • Determine the evidence of effectiveness for those interventions.
  • Share the results, as well as other Clearinghouse products, on a user-friendly website (pathwaystowork.acf.hhs.gov) to help state and local TANF administrators, policymakers, researchers and the general public make sense of the results and better understand how this evidence might apply to questions and contexts that matter to them.
  • Synthesize the overall state of evidence in the field by creating and disseminating synthesis reports.

The Clearinghouse provides a comprehensive source of information about what works to help individuals who are low-income succeed in the labor market. The website was designed with significant input from key stakeholders including TANF administrators, employment service providers, researchers, and technical experts on evidence reviews to ensure that the findings from the evidence review were presented in as useful and clear manner as possible. Users of the website can search the site to find interventions that are well-supported, supported, or not supported; strategies for finding programs that work with similar target populations; and examine detailed study-level information on findings.

The Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse builds on the work of OPRE's Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER) by including newer and wider- reaching research and assessing the effectiveness of the interventions reviewed. The Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse will also, when possible, collaborate with and build upon other federal clearinghouse efforts.

OPRE contracted with Mathematica, Hager Sharp, and MEF Associates to develop and administer the Pathways Clearinghouse.

The points of contact are Kim Clum and Clare DiSalvo

  • Protocol for the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse: Methods and Standards

    Published: May 13, 2020

    During the past several decades, evaluations have produced a great deal of research on interventions designed to improve the employment outcomes of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, beneficiaries of other public benefit programs, and other people with low incomes. But the sheer volume of research combined with the diversity of the findings can make it challenging to find applicable research, identify the most reliable and relevant studies, and use information...

More Reports on this Project