The use of behavioral interventions to engage and improve outcomes for participants in public workforce development and other assistance programs is relatively new.  Early reports from the U. S. Departments of Labor’s Behavioral Interventions project and Health and Human Services’ five-year evaluation describe the latest efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of employment coaching on participants’ employment success.

Practitioners Playbook for Applying Behavioral Insights to Labor Programs
This step-by-step resource for workforce development program professionals to improve their programs’ designs, performance, and outcomes using insights and strategies from behavioral science. The playbook starts with a clear definition of behavioral science then describes a six-step process for developing and testing behavioral interventions to improve programs and services. The resource offers useful tools to generate evidence on program effectiveness, create high impact documents, improve motivation, address limited attention, and streamline operations.

Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Take-Up of a Reemployment Program: Trial Design and Findings
Findings from a random assignment study tested the impacts of emails sent to Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients to motivate their participation in a Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program in Southwest Michigan. The REA program was designed to help unemployed workers find new employment faster and shorten their duration of UI benefit receipt through mandatory, in-person meetings with workforce staff. During the sessions, UI recipients were assessed for UI benefit eligibility and received an orientation to the American Job Center and its resources. The study found “strong evidence that the email interventions encouraged more individuals to sign up for, attend, and complete the REA program.” The email campaign increased the proportion of UI claimants who completed the REA program by 14 percent.

Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations: Evaluation Design Report
This 2019 report describes the five-year experimental research evaluation designed to measure the impact of employment coaching on recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. The impact evaluation assesses outcomes from a treatment group that received assistance with self-regulation skills from trained employment coaches. Control group members received traditional program services to address challenges to self-sufficiency, such as lack of education, job skills, transportation, and childcare, but did not have access to coaches. Treatment groups had access to trained coaches who provided support, motivation, goal-setting assistance, and feedback on self-regulation skills. Employment coaches provided semi-structured support and helped clients set and achieve employment-related goals.