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 Wisconsin PROMISE (WI 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 Wisconsin 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 WI PROMISE participants were significantly more likely to receive job-related training, obtain job-related training credentials, have paid employment, work more hours, and have higher earnings and total income compared to control participants.
- This study receives a high causal evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to WI PROMISE, and not to other factors.
Wisconsin Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (WI 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 Wisconsin Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (WI PROMISE) is one of six programs that make up PROMISE. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development led WI PROMISE and partnered with the Wisconsin Departments of Health Services, Public Instruction and Children and Families to implement the program and provide services to participants statewide, while a fourth organization provided technical assistance to program staff. The goal of WI PROMISE was to provide youth with at least one paid work experience before the end of the program and to have at least 50% of the youths’ caregivers have paid work experience as well. WI PROMISE used resource teams consisting of school representatives, mental health counselors, welfare or TANF case managers, and a PROMISE Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The team engaged with youth with vocational rehabilitation services, intensive counseling, family counseling, and training for youth and families. WI 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 1,896 youth into a treatment or control group. The treatment group received WI PROMISE services while the control group received services that were available through their community. WI 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 WI PROMISE were assigned to the same group as their sibling and were withheld from the study analysis. The analytic sample consisted of 746 youth in the treatment group and 729 youth in the control group. The sample was primarily male (66%) with an average age of 15.4 years. The largest proportion of the sample were Non-Hispanic Black (39.8%), and 44% of youth described their primary disability as another mental impairment at baseline. 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 WI PROMISE participants than control participants received job-related training (39.6% vs. 19.8%).
- The study also found that significantly more WI PROMISE participants than control participants received job-related credentials (10% vs. 1.9%).
- The study did not find a significant difference 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 WI PROMISE participants than control participants had paid employment during the study period (41.8% vs. 30.6%).
- The study also found that WI PROMISE participants worked significantly more hours in paid jobs than control participants (3.1 vs. 2.2).
Earnings and wages
- The study found that WI PROMISE participants earned significantly more than control participants during the study period ($1,276 vs. $882).
Public benefits receipt
- The study found that WI PROMISE participants had significantly higher total income from earnings and SSA payments ($8,323) than control participants ($7,852).
- The study did not find a significant difference between the groups in total SSA payments.
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 WI PROMISE, and not to other factors.