The Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation in the Administration for Children & Families sponsored the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER)—a systematic review of the literature published from 1990 to mid-2014 on the effect of employment and training programs and strategies for low-income individuals. This brief is one in a “series of briefs [that] offers a synthesis of the findings of…ESER…for policymakers, practitioners, and officials who seek to improve the employment and earnings outcomes of low-income adults through research-based interventions ” (p.2).
“Trained reviewers examined the strength of the causal evidence for each study…then rated each study [as high, medium, or low] based on its rigor (not on the effectiveness of the intervention).…The ESER team identified a ‘primary strategy’ for each intervention[:]…the service most treatment group members received and most comparison group members did not.…The team determined the primary strategy for each intervention by having two reviewers independently read the description of each intervention, identify a primary strategy, compare their assessments, and discuss until they reached agreement” (p.2). The team only reviewed studies that used “randomized controlled trials or comparison group designs” (p.2).
“In this brief, [the authors] use a rigorous quantitative approach known as meta-regression to identify not only those interventions that seem successful on the whole, but also those that are effective for particular labor market outcomes and for particular types of low-income workers.
Because any given intervention typically comprises several employment strategies, [the authors] also examine the specific employment strategies that appear to be successful (1) overall, (2) for certain outcomes of interest, and (3) for certain types of low-income workers. Being able to identify the context in which particular strategies work best can help practitioners and policymakers make targeted and informed decisions about the types of interventions that could be most effective in their contexts” (p.1).
The brief “relied on the detailed ESER database of 235 high- or moderate-rated studies of 93 interventions testing employment strategies for low-income adults” (p.2).
Full publication title: The Right Tool for the Job: A Meta-Regression of Employment Strategies’ Effects on Different Outcomes(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)