Project Overview

While many sectoral workforce development programs include post-employment advancement services, little is known about how effective they are, how much value they add, or how best to design them. Understanding such programs’ efficacy is critical to identifying proven, scalable strategies to expand economic security and mobility for workers with low incomes, and in particular, workers of color.

To address that knowledge gap, research organization MDRC will partner with tech training provider Per Scholas to test whether adding alumni advancement coaching services—such as one-on-one coaching, upskilling referrals, and employment technical assistance—to sectoral training programs increase trainees’ success in the information technology field. The project is driven by a hypothesis that concrete post-employment support can help people sustain workforce participation and grow their earnings over time. Per Scholas will add alumni coaching services to its programs using an MDRC-led human-centered design process to ensure that the new alumni advancement model is testable and centered on equity. MDRC will conduct a quasi-experimental study to measure changes in earnings and other markers to determine whether newly placed workers are on the path to achieving stronger wage gains. The study will also examine demographic differences in the effects of the intervention to understand how well different groups of workers are being supported by advancement services.