Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of The Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED) on employment, earnings, education, and public benefits receipt outcomes.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial. Using surveys, administrative data, and payroll records, the authors conducted statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and control group members.
- The study found that MSTED program participation was significantly related to increased employment.
- This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED), and not to other factors.
Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED)
Features of the Intervention
Minnesota started offering subsidized employment, termed supported work programs, in 2007 with an allocation of $5.5 million from the legislature. Additional funding extended the program until 2011. MSTED is one of eight Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) programs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The intervention was offered in three counties, Dakota, Ramsey, and Hennepin, selected through a competitive application process with the state's Department of Human Services (DHS). MSTED involved job readiness assessments, education and training, job search services, and supportive services offered by contracted providers. The counties were allowed flexibility with program implementation and therefore implemented a variety of program services. Individuals were eligible for MSTED if they were receiving benefits from the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, named the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).
Features of the Study
The study design was a randomized controlled trial. Participants who were unsuccessful in finding employment after working with MFIP case managers were referred to one of the MSTED providers. The program and study were explained during an orientation meeting. Those that agreed to participate completed a baseline survey and then were randomly assigned to receive MSTED subsidized employment (treatment group) or to continue collaborating with the provider to receive employment and supportive services that excluded subsidized employment (control group). The study eligibility criteria were that participants needed to be unemployed, not enrolled as a full-time student and required to participate in work activities. Of the 799 eligible participants, 403 were assigned to the treatment condition and 396 were assigned to the control condition. The majority of study participants were female (81 percent), with an average age of 31 years. Almost two-thirds of participants were Black, non-Hispanic (65 percent), 73 percent had a high school diploma or equivalent, and had been receiving MFIP benefits for an average of 30 months. Data were obtained from baseline and follow-up surveys collected 12 months after randomization, Minnesota DHS administrative data, payroll records, and the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH). The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of treatment and control group members.
Earnings and wages
- The study found that total earnings did not differ significantly between the treatment and control groups.
Education and skills gains
- The study found that there were no significant differences between treatment and control participants in receipt of a high school diploma/equivalent or earning a professional license or certificate.
- The study found that employment rates at 12 months were significantly higher for treatment participants than control participants (87 percent vs. 80 percent, respectively). However, no significant differences were found at 15 months.
- The study also found that treatment participants were employed for more quarters than control participants (2.6 vs. 2.3) and higher proportions were employed in all four quarters (36 percent vs. 29 percent). These differences were significant.
- After 12 months, the study found that more treatment participants than control participants were employed part-time (48 percent vs. 38 percent) or were employed full-time (40 percent vs. 32 percent). These differences were significant.
Public benefits receipt
- The study found no significant differences between the groups in receipt of MFIP or SNAP benefits and the proportion who left MFIP or SNAP during the year.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
MFIP providers referred cases to the MSTED providers and once potential program and study participants were referred, they attended an orientation. Some MFIP providers did not refer eligible participants to the program because they believed their staff could better help individuals find employment.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high, because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to The Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED), and not to other factors.