The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD) evaluation, using a random assignment research design, tested seven enhanced transitional jobs programs that targeted either people recently released from prison or unemployed non-custodial parents who had fallen behind in child support payments. 

Program group members were enrolled in the ETJD programs while control group members were denied access but could avail themselves of other services in the community. This report presents the final impact results from the study 30 months after enrollment as well as information about the cost of the ETJD programs. Most outcome measures presented in the report focus on the final year of the follow-up period, when nearly all ETJD program group members had left their transitional jobs. The results, therefore, reflect the longer-term effects of the programs after the subsidized jobs had ended.

 

The ETJD project set out to test whether “enhanced” transitional jobs programs could produce larger impacts than earlier models after participants moved on. The answer is a qualified “yes.” As a group, the ETJD programs produced a modest but statistically significant increase in earnings in the last year of the follow-up period, a result that was not found in most earlier studies. It seems clear that transitional jobs programs can produce effects in the employment, child support, and criminal justice domains after participants leave the program. However, the impacts after participants left the programs were not large. Moreover, it is not clear whether transitional jobs are more cost-effective than other approaches with the same goal.


Major Findings & Recommendations

  • ETJD programs increased participants' earnings and employment rates in the final year of the study period. The program group earned about $700 more than the control group in that year. Sixty-four percent of the program group worked in that year, compared with 60 percent of the control group.
  • ETJD participants were significantly more likely to pay formal child support during the final year although ETJD programs did not produce statistically significant impacts on the amount of child support paid. However, the proportion of parents who paid at least some support during this period increased by six percentage points.
  • There is some evidence that ETJD programs affected some measures of recidivism, but overall, ETJD programs had no effect on criminal justice "events."
  • Among higher-risk participants across the three locations, there was a statistically significant reduction in incarceration in prison (12 percentage points) in the 30 months following study enrollment. The impacts on recidivism largely reflect the program in Indianapolis, which targeted a very disadvantaged and high-risk population.
  • Only about one-third of those who responded to the 30-month survey reported working more than 34 hours per week.
  • ETJD program costs ranged from about $7,000 to $11,100 per program group member. The net costs of the ETJD programs (taking control group costs and non-ETJD costs into account) ranged from about $6,200 to $11,000 per person.