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Implementation and early impacts of the Minnesota subsidized and transitional employment demonstration (Farrell & Webster, 2019)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Not Rated

Review Guidelines

Absence of conflict of interests.


Farrell, M., Webster, R. (2019). Implementation and early impacts of the Minnesota subsidized and transitional employment demonstration. OPRE Report 2019-68. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


  • The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED) which provided two types of subsidized employment to improve employment outcomes of individuals who were previously enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). The study was conducted by three nonprofit community providers across three counties in Minnesota.
  • The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using participant program data, participant case reviews, and in person and over the phone interviews with site staff, employers, and participants.
  • The study found that each of the community providers implemented MSTED in slightly different ways. Additionally, program enrollment did not meet expectations of how MSTED was designed.
  • The data sources used in the study appear to target various stakeholders and individuals; however, the study does not provide clear descriptions of the analytic methods used.
  •  The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in April, 2022.

Intervention Examined

Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (MSTED)

Features of the Intervention

  • Type of organization: Community Providers
  • Location/ setting: Multi-site in Minnesota
  • Population served and scale: 799 adults
  • Industry: Not included
  • Intervention activities: employment supports
  • Organizational Partnerships: Employers
  • Cost: Not included

MSTED was created and funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in 2014 to provide subsidized employment for individuals who participated in Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and had not obtained paid work or jobs. MSTED targeted adults who participated in MFIP, received MFIP benefits and earned $1,200 or less in the past six months. Adults who were between the ages of 18-24 years of age pursing full time education were excluded from participation. MSTED was implemented by three nonprofit community providers in Dakota County, Hennepin County, and Ramsey County in Minnesota. MSTED site providers provided individuals with two types of subsidized employment: 1) participants could receive paid work experience with a wage of $9.00 an hour for 24 hours a week for up to eight weeks or 2) participants received subsidized employment with a wage of $15/hour for 40 hours/week, with wages 100% subsidized for the first eight weeks and a reduced 50% subsidy for an additional eight weeks. Participants who were deemed to be more job ready received subsidized employment whereas participants who required more basic job skills received paid work experience.

Features of the Study

The implementation study selected three of the nonprofit community providers to provide the MSTED model due to their experience as MFIP service providers and working with MFIP recipients. With this prior experience, the three organizations were deemed to be appropriate to implement the MSTED model. Implementation data were collected through participant case reviews, participant program data, in person and over the phone interviews with MSTED sites, job employers, and participants.

Study Sites

  • HIRED in Dakota County
  • HIRED in Ramsey County
  • Goodwill in Hennepin 
  • Goodwill in Ramsey County
  • Avivo in Ramsey County


Intervention activities/services

  • The study found that the three MSTED providers did not implement MTSED consistently in how they prepared participants for subsidized employment. HIRED provided a two-week mandatory job readiness workshop, while Goodwill and Avivo did not require a job readiness program because most of their participants had already participated in a type of job readiness program in the past and were eager for their job placements.
  • The study found that HIRED expected participants to find three job placements on their own and HIRED job developers would inquire about the employer’s interest in hiring. Goodwill and Avivo relied upon their job developers to contact prospective employers and place participants at an available employer. Additionally, the job developers offered subsides to the employers to encourage them to hire their participants for paid work experience or for subsidized employment.
  • One-third of participants received paid work experience or subsidized jobs a year after MSTED. On average it took about three months for participants to find their own paid work or subsidized employment. Forty-five percent of Goodwill participants, 43% of HIRED participants, and 25% of Avivo participants received paid work experience or subsidized employment.
  • Small businesses found MSTED beneficial because they could use the subsidy to help their businesses grow and had a desire to help people acquire skills to get ahead in life.
  • Hennepin County had a large Somali population that were likely refugees or asylum seekers enrolled in MSTED. MSTED helped Somali individuals fill out job applications, attend interviews, and assisted with translations.

Implementation challenges and solutions

  • Recruitment into MSTED was difficult for all three providers based upon the enrollment strategy of only accepting referrals from MFIP employment counselors. To rectify this issue, job developers from all three sites helped market the program to MFIP counselors and provided informational sessions and staff meetings for MFIP counselors. This strategy did increase enrollment; however, the marketing task took time that job developers could have used working with participants and making job connections.
  • The study found that at the time of implementation the United States economy created difficulty for participants to obtain employment. To help increase subsidized employment for their participants, Goodwill and Avivo provided paid work experience within their own organizations.
  • The study found that 40% of participants enrolled in MSTED were not participating in the program due to lack of interest, health issues, lack of housing, criminality, pregnancy, and childcare. To help increase program engagement, job developers continued to try to stay connected with participants if they returned to the program.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The study obtained data about the implementation of MSTED from participants, site provider staff, employers, and program data. The study does not provide clear descriptions of the interviews and the analytic methods used.

Reviewed by CLEAR

April 2023

Topic Area