Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Ready, Willing and Able Pathways2Work program (Pathways), which provided transitional employment, internships, job search services, and social and economic supports for formerly incarcerated individuals.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using data collected from site visits, interviews, focus groups, participant questionnaires, and staff reports of time spent on program activities.
- The study found that the program was implemented largely as intended. Though recruitment targets were met, recruitment was challenging.
- The study does not detail the data collection methods and analyses.
- The companion impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in June 2022.
Ready, Willing and Able Pathways2Work program (Pathways)
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Non-profit organization
- Population served and scale: New York, NY; 504 participants
- Industry focus: Not included
- Intervention activities: subsidized employment, internship, social and economic supports
- Organizational partnerships: Employers, non-profits
- Cost: Not included
- Fidelity: Not included
The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded seven organizations to operate transitional job programs for low-income noncustodial parents or formerly incarcerated individuals. Pathways was a program for formerly incarcerated individuals operated by the Doe Fund in New York, NY. In addition to being formerly incarcerated, participants met the following criteria: had less than an associate degree; no trade license; could not belong to a union; and had no A+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, Cisco Certified Network Associate, or Oracle certifications. In addition, participants could not be using drugs; needed to read at a fifth-grade level; had to be physically able to work; speak English; could not have participated in a Doe Fund program within the past five years; and could not be receiving more than $700 in Social Security benefits. Participants also could not be residing in a shelter.
Through a staged model, groups of participants (in cohorts) completed a one-week orientation, followed by a six-week transitional job, before moving to a paid, eight-week internship. If participants did not find a paid position by the end of their internship, they participated in a six-week paid job search. Additional services included case management, job-readiness training, classes (financial management, computer skills, wellness, parenting management, anger management and conflict resolution, and GED preparation), occupational training, and certifications. Over 40 employers partnered with Pathways to provide internships.
Features of the Study
The implementation study was conducted in New York, NY and included both qualitative and quantitative data sources. There were 504 participants enrolled in the treatment group of the study between November 2011 and December 2013 and 1005 study participants in total. Study participants were primarily Black (68.9%) or Hispanic (27.4%) men (96.3%) with a high school diploma or equivalent (63.7%) or less (34.9%). The majority were unstably housed, with 54.5% staying in someone else's home, and 22.7% living in a halfway house, transitional house, or residential treatment facility. The authors collected quantitative information on client participation in program activities through a management information system database. Qualitative data was collected from site staff through staff interviews during site visits and staff reporting of time spent on program activities. The authors also collected qualitative information from participants through focus groups, review of case files, and interviews during site visits. Lastly, program staff and participants completed program questionnaires. No information was provided on analysis methods used.
- The study found that the program was implemented largely as intended.
- The study found that recruitment was challenging, though recruitment targets were met.
- The study found that the vast majority (93.2%) of program participants received help in finding or keeping a job, 79% worked in a transitional job, 58.7% participated in education and training, and 90.1% received assistance related to criminal convictions.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The study found that some participants who received housing assistance needed to leave the program, as participation in a work program was a requirement for assistance, but Pathways was not considered a work program. As a solution, staff explained program requirements during recruitment to ensure participants understood they may lose housing benefits if they participated.
- Recruitment was challenging because other prisoner reentry programs without a control group were available. To meet recruitment goals, program managers altered the program structure and enrolled more frequent, smaller cohorts. In addition, they spent more time on recruitment.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The data used in the implementation study included both qualitative and quantitative data collection. However, the data collection methods and analysis are not fully discussed. It is unclear if there were any issues in data collection due to lack of detail provided by the study authors. There was no information on how personal data were kept confidential/anonymous during data analysis and the study authors do not describe the observations made during study visits or the qualitative interview data that was collected and coded/analyzed in detail.