This brief from MDRC provides an interim look at the effectiveness of WorkAdvance at promoting upward mobility in the long term by updating the economic impact findings through the third year of follow-up. The results show that sector programs can have economic effects that last beyond two years and, in some cases, that grow larger after the two-year mark.
Individuals with low incomes often struggle to advance in the labor market, yet at the same time, some employers report difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills. WorkAdvance is a workforce development model that seeks to address the needs of both of these groups through its “dual customer” approach. The model offers training and placement services to help prepare individuals for quality jobs in sectors where there is strong local demand and the opportunity for career advancement.
Between 2011 and 2013, WorkAdvance was implemented by four providers and the programs were evaluated using a randomized controlled trial design. Some programs showed promising earnings gains in the second year of follow-up, but it was an open question whether WorkAdvance could consistently increase earnings in the long term, a key measure of sector programs that have an explicit focus on helping participants advance along a pathway within a sector.