Presents findings from an 18 month evaluation of a statewide program designed to link participants with barriers to employment to both training and subsidized jobs—focuses on program design, implementation, and outcomes.

“The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded [to unemployment and underemployment of those hardest hit by the recession] with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, which had the goal of creating opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment to pursue the types of [opportunities] and occupational training associated with economic advancement” (p.3). In addition to work readiness training and occupational training in diverse fields like health, IT, trucking, and welding, the program also provided subsidized employment, case management, adult basic education, and supportive services.

The resource examines “the first 18 months of programming (May 1, 2011, through December 31, 2012),” during which the program “served nearly 1,300 disadvantaged job seekers with skills training, education, and work, with over 800 of them earning income in transitional job”(p.3). It addresses three basic research questions:
  • “How was Earn and Learn designed?
  • How was Earn and Learn implemented?
  • What were Earn and Learn’s outcomes?” (p.3)

“The findings in this report are based on a combination of sources that includes: program documents, program records, Michigan’s One-Stop Management Information System, interviews, a participant survey, and an employer survey” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training Program

Major Findings & Recommendations

The resource presents both quantitative findings from the program’s first 18 months as well as general recommendations developed from program implementation. Outcome findings include: • “The majority (66 percent) of Earn and Learn participants completed some type of work readiness training…intended to smooth the transition from unemployment to working” (p.5). • “Of participants who entered occupational training, 366 (88 percent) successfully completed it” (p.5). • “The most popular training programs were clustered in healthcare, green energy management, and trucking” (p.5). • “Earn and Learn participants most frequently needed and received assistance with public transportation in the form of bus passes (45 percent), work clothes (15 percent), or paying for permit or testing fees (6 percent)” (p.6). • “Overall, 69 percent of Earn and Learn participants were matched with transitional jobs, and 67 percent of participants had transitional jobs that were related—either by industry or occupation—to the training they completed” (p.7). General recommendations include: • “Providers that are not embedded in educational systems may need to implement creative approaches to manage the challenging logistics of offering concurrent training and subsidized employment” (p.9). • “When a program successfully targets a population with serious barriers to employment, considerable basic skills training is often needed” (p.9). • “Reflecting on participant data can spur real-time innovation and program improvements” (p.9). • “Mainstream workforce providers often aren’t well-equipped to serve more disadvantaged job seekers” (p.10). • “Participants with supportive relationships (with family, friends, program peers, or even their case manger) appear to fare better in transitional jobs programs” (p.10). • “The shared responsibility for funding and administering the program across so many stakeholders may have led to implementation delays and differing visions for the program’s emphasis” (p.11). • “Program providers should emphasize the high level of value that employer partners gain from these programs” (p.11). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)