Presents findings from a review of eight organizations using an integrated service delivery approach to deliver employment, asset building, and work support services to economically disadvantaged individuals, including college students in need of income enhancements and underemployed people, and identifies key challenges and lessons for similar programs to consider when implementing such an approach.

“Individuals and families with chronic unemployment, low levels of income, or high levels of debt generally face…barriers to economic success and must seek support from a patchwork of public and nonprofit providers….In [response, organizations] pioneered an approach that breaks down service delivery silos by offering integrated service delivery (ISD) across three pillars: (1) employment and career advancement, (2) financial and asset building services, and (3) income enhancements and work supports….This approach—initially implemented through the Center for Working Families—was expanded and rebranded as the Working Families Success Network (WFSN)” (p.1).

“Pillars of ISD

1. Employment and career advancement helps participants gain work readiness, stay in and complete college or a training program, or obtain, retain, and advance in a job.
2. Financial and asset building services help build a family’s financial knowledge, reduce their debt, improve credit scores, and increase access to savings and wealth-retaining financial products.
3. Income enhancements and work supports include those that assist families in accessing public benefits and other income supports to increase economic stability” (p.1).

“WFSN considers ISD to occur if services are integrated across two—and preferably three—of the pillars….Although organizations have flexibility in how to implement ISD, it is expected that integration be deliberate and service packages be targeted to a participant’s level of need” (p.1).

“Using information from [a] literature review and the site-level survey, a team of researchers…worked with representatives of the WFSN leadership to design a series of site visits…that would address the following research questions:

• What is the approach to integrating and sequencing services across the three pillars?
• How do partnerships and multiple locations per organization affect ISD?
• What organizational and staff capacities facilitate implementation of ISD?” (p.2.).

“This report shares findings from visits to eight WFSN organizations” (p.2).

“[The] report is organized in [five] chapters. Chapter II describes ISD implementation across organizations. Chapter III presents findings about how organizations engage participants in ISD. Chapter IV shows how ISD is supported through staffing and use of data. In Chapter V, [the authors] conclude with a summary of overarching findings and a discussion of next steps” (p.3-4).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Key site visit findings •Organizations structure service packages across pillars in different ways to implement ISD. •Organizational partners facilitate ISD by offering access to additional services that the organizations themselves do not provide. •Eligibility requirements and application processes, as well as systems-level and participant-level barriers, may prevent participants from being offered or accessing services in multiple pillars. •Organizations use strategies such as participant goal setting, developing trusting relationships with participants, and tailoring service content to engage and retain participants in services across pillars. •Close communication among staff and defining staff roles that correspond to the three pillars facilitate ISD. •Organizations use data to track (1) whether participants are accessing services across the three pillars and (2) participant outcomes; however, not all staff collect and use data consistently within and across organizations” (p.3). “Key challenges…. •“Participants may not demonstrate interest in—and therefore do not access—services across all three pillars” (p.17). •“To identify candidates who are ready to participate in services, organizations may use eligibility criteria and application processes that limit participants’ access to services across all three pillars” (p.17). •“Participants may face both systems-level and personal barriers to engaging in services across the pillars” (p.17). •“While organizations report tracking data on ISD, staff reported having different beliefs about how data can and should be used to track and enhance service delivery” (p.17). “Key lessons learned…. •“Organizations can facilitate ISD by adopting a standardized curriculum that crosses the pillars” (p.17). •“Organizations can also facilitate ISD within the context of a coaching approach” (p.18). •“Partnering with other organizations can help to facilitate ISD” (p.18). •“Organizations can also address participation barriers by using specific engagement and retention strategies, including setting and tracking goals, developing close and trusting relationships with participants, and tailoring content” (p.18). •“Structuring staff roles appropriately and ensuring strong communication between staff can also facilitate ISD” (p.18). •“Organizations can use data to identify participants who have or have not received services in all three pillars to identify service gaps” (p.18). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)