Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) program on education, employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt outcomes. This profile focuses on the Arkansas PROMISE program. The authors investigated similar research questions for other sites, the profiles of which can be found here:
- The study was a randomized controlled trial at the Arkansas site. Using participant surveys and administrative data, the authors conducted statistical models to compare the outcomes of the treatment and control group members.
- The study found that Arkansas PROMISE participants were significantly more likely to receive job-related training, obtain job-related training credentials, have paid employment, work more hours, have higher earnings and total income but lower SSA payments compared to control participants.
- This study receives a high causal evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Arkansas PROMISE, and not to other factors.
Arkansas Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (Arkansas PROMISE)
Features of the Intervention
The Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) was a program jointly created by the U.S. Department of Education, Social Security Administration (SSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor to provide supports and services to youth with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in their transition to adulthood.
The Arkansas Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (Arkansas PROMISE) is one of six programs that make up PROMISE. Arkansas PROMISE began in September 2014 and was led by the Arkansas Department of Education. The Arkansas Department of Education partnered with the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions to coordinate and implement the program within 25 of the 75 counties in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas contracted with five partner organizations to provide direct services to youth and their families. Arkansas PROMISE provided intensive case management, vocational evaluations and career readiness training, two-week summer work internships, and financial education. Case managers had access to discretionary funds that allowed them to aid youth families to cover transportation needs, school supplies, tuition, utilities, and phone bills. Arkansas PROMISE served youth between the ages of 14 and 16 who had a disability and received SSI benefits.
Features of the Study
The study was a randomized controlled trial that assigned 1,805 youth into a treatment or control group. The treatment group received Arkansas PROMISE services while the control group received services that were available through their community. Arkansas PROMISE was allowed to nonrandomly assign five youth to the treatment group; however, their data were not included in the analysis. Additionally, siblings of youth who were already enrolled in Arkansas PROMISE were assigned to the same group as their siblings and were withheld from the study analysis. The analytic sample consisted of 750 youth in the treatment group and 719 youth in the control group. The sample was primarily male (66%) with an average age of 15.4 years. Over half were Non-Hispanic Black (58%), and 45% of youth described their disability as another mental impairment. Primary data sources included an 18-month follow-up survey that was provided to youth and their caregivers, SSA administrative records, state Medicaid agency records, and state vocational rehabilitation records. Study authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of the treatment group and control group members.
Education and skills gains
- The study found that significantly more Arkansas PROMISE participants than control participants received job-related training (47% vs. 14.7%).
- The study also found that significantly more Arkansas PROMISE participants than control participants received job-related credentials (12.8% vs. 3.2%).
- The study did not find significant differences between the groups in school enrollment or obtaining a GED, high school diploma, or certificate of completion during the study period.
- The study found that significantly more Arkansas PROMISE participants than control participants had paid employment during the study period (55.6% vs. 19.6%).
- The study also found that Arkansas PROMISE participants worked significantly more hours in paid jobs than control participants (4.3 vs. 1.6).
Earnings and wages
- The study found that Arkansas PROMISE participants earned significantly more than control participants during the study period ($1,960 vs. $747).
Public benefits receipt
- The study found that Arkansas PROMISE participants had significantly higher total income from earnings and SSA payments ($8,796) than control participants ($7,803).
- However, the control participants received significantly more in total SSA payments ($10,930) than Arkansas PROMISE participants ($10,671).
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The study authors report a less stringent statistical significance level, considering p-values of less than 0.10 to be significant, though it is standard practice to consider statistical significance if the p-value is less than 0.05. Only results that demonstrate a p-value of less than 0.05 are considered statistically significant in this profile.
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 Arkansas PROMISE, and not to other factors.