“In 2011, REDF placed social enterprise (SE) employment at the heart of its five-year strategy to transform how people with many employment barriers transition into the workforce. SEs are mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people who face barriers to work. In support of its strategy to leverage these organizations, REDF launched a new portfolio, with funding from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and support from corporations, foundations, and individuals. REDF also committed to conducting an evaluation to support the success of the SE approach and selected Mathematica Policy Research to design and implement the evaluation. The evaluation, which is called the Mathematica Jobs Study (MJS), is structured to address the general research question, How do social enterprises serve individuals with multiple barriers to employment? Its focus is economic self-sufficiency and life stability for SE workers hired from April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013. The analysis looks at participants’ employment as the primary indicator of self-sufficiency, although the study also examines participants’ income and support from government. In addition, the study examines five outcomes related to life stability: (1) housing (most important), (2) recidivism, (3) physical health, (4) mental health, and (5) substance abuse.
The MJS contains four integrated components: (1) an implementation study of eight organizations that received REDF SIF funding in January 2012; (2) an outcomes study of the change in economic self-sufficiency and life stability for SE workers in seven organizations, from the period before they started the job until one year later; (3) a quasi-experimental impact study that complements the outcomes study by offering stronger internal validity (a more rigorous estimate of the effect of SE employment) at the expense of external validity (ability to generalize results); and (4) a cost benefit analysis (CBA) that assessed whether the net value of the SE to society as a whole—which includes the SE workers, the SE business enterprise, and taxpayers (those not directly involved in the SE)—outweighed its costs. This report provides results of the outcomes and impact studies and the CBA. It is a follow-up to the interim report (Maxwell et al. 2013), which provides results of the implementation study” (p.xvii).(Abstractor: Author)