Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) program which serves youth and adults with justice/criminal involvement and those with unstable housing. The program includes training and assessment, case management and support services, and employment placement services.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using semi-structed interviews with program staff, focus groups with program participants, observations of program sites and program materials and analysis of workforce data.
- The study found the program model was delivered as designed but there were delays in implementation, and participants had mixed successes achieving their goals. The cost-effectiveness analysis found that costs per participant were high and likely impacted by start-up costs and costs associated withs serving participants with multiple barriers to employment.
- The strengths of the study include multiple site visits and use of both qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the program implementation. It is unclear if there were any issues in data collection due to lack of detail provided by the study authors. The number of individuals interviewed, questions asked, and specific site visits was not provided.
- The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in July 2022.
Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE)
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department
- Location/setting: Los Angeles, CA/ Multi-site in California
- Youth and justice-involved and low-income adults
- 508 participants
- Industry focus: Not included
- Intervention activities: training and assessment, case management and support services, employment placement services
- Organizational partnerships: social enterprise partners, workforce development system partners, personal support provider partners, employment partners
- Cost: The average cost of serving a LA:RISE participant was $9,090.
- Fidelity: Not included
LA:RISE was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and provided transitional employment and services to three priority populations: youth, individuals with a criminal record, and those with unstable housing. The program was a limited intervention that served youth in Los Angeles, CA and was implemented from 2015 to 2018. LA:RISE coordinated with partner organizations to provide transitional education and employment services to clients. Supportive services included case management, employment, training, and education services. The program was designed to bring together a variety of stakeholders including leadership partners, social enterprise partners, workforce development system partners, personal support provider partners, and employer partners to deliver the program services.
Features of the Study
The authors collected qualitative data from multiple sources: (1) semi-structured interviews with administrators and staff members from the social enterprise providers, workforce development partners, personal support providers, and bridge employers; (2) focus groups with LA:RISE participants; (3) observations of program services at partner sites; and (4) program documents including outreach materials, program guidelines, and staffing, assessments. The authors used the qualitative data to create partner-level summaries for each type of participants and compared them for common themes. Authors also collected data on participation and service delivery for LA:RISE and the WIOA program comparison group from California's workforce development database.
- The study found a total of 62% of program participants received at least 300 hours of transitional employment services which exceeded the goals set by the program.
- The study found 77% were co-enrolled in WIOA within one year of entering the program and 43% of participants completed job readiness assessments.
- The study found between 26 - 46% of participants received personal support provider services.
- The study found that 77% of all program participants who were supposed to be co-enrolled in WIOA were co-enrolled and received employment, case management, and transportation services.
- The study found partner organizations expanded their transitional employment opportunities based on participant feedback.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The study found the providers indicated that participants faced housing, health, and personal challenges that made it more difficult for them to complete the program. Staff reported difficulty retaining participants in the program due to factors including lack of interest in specific transitional employment offered and personal barriers including health issues or lack of housing.
- The study found about 26-46% of participants used personal support providers services. In later implementation of the program, the role or personal support providers was better defined with better partnership roles and communication, so more participants were able to utilize these services.
- The study found that to increase retention efforts, leadership agencies set up meetings to discuss supportive services and retention issues. Additional funds were provided to address housing and health needs.
- The study found the average cost of serving a LA:RISE participant was $9,090 compared to $417 for WOIA Adult and $3,286 for WOIA Youth participants. The costs for LA:RISE participants included costs for staffing and program startup.
- The cost of producing a 1% increase in employment rate for the LA:RISE program group was $363,408 - $562,881.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the program implementation. It is unclear if there are any issues in data collection due to lack of detail provided by the study authors. The number/list of individuals interviewed, questions asked, and specific site visits were not described. There is no information on how study participants were identified or how personal data were kept confidential/anonymous. No information is provided about the analysis methods for the quantitative data.