Bloom, D., Miller, C., and Azurdia, G. (2007). The Employment Retention and Advancement project: Results from the Personal Roads to Individual Development and Employment (PRIDE) program in New York City. 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 impact of the Personal Roads to Individual Development and Employment (PRIDE) welfare-to-work program in New York City on the employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt of low-income single parents with physical or mental health problems that limited their ability to work.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial that used data from administrative records for the two years following assignment and a survey conducted with a random subset of the sample to assess outcomes one year after assignment.
- The study found that treatment group participants were significantly more likely than control group participants to have had a job and had higher average earnings. The treatment group was significantly less likely to receive cash assistance and received lower amounts of cash assistance benefits than the control group.
- 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 PRIDE and not to other factors.
Personal Roads to Individual Development and Employment (PRIDE)
Features of the Intervention
PRIDE was a welfare-to-work program in New York City that operated from 1999 to 2004. The program had two elements: work-based education and vocational rehabilitation. Recipients were required to participate in unpaid work placements designed to accommodate their health conditions and received job search, placement, and retention services. Clients who did not participate could face a reduction in their welfare benefits or have their welfare cases closed. The work-based education component included education and training programs.
Features of the Study
The study was a randomized controlled trial that screened participants for eligibility before randomly assigning people to either a treatment or control group. Study participants received either Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Safety Net (a locally and state-funded welfare program) benefits and had physical or mental health problems that limited their ability to work. The study focused on the 2,648 single parents in the sample, with 1,553 in the treatment group and 1,095 in the control group. Analyses of survey data focused on the 759 randomly selected subsample members who completed a survey, with 380 in the treatment group and 379 in the control group.
The authors compared outcomes for the treatment versus control groups by examining means for each group, after adjusting for pretreatment characteristics.
- The study found that treatment group participants were significantly more likely than control group members to be employed during the first year (23 versus 19 percent). Treatment group members were also more likely to be employed during the ninth quarter after random assignment (20 versus 16 percent), which researchers counted as the end of the second year.
- The treatment group had significantly higher weekly earnings than the control group did at the time of the 12-month survey ($73 versus $55).
- The treatment group received significantly less cash assistance at year 1 ($5,806 versus $6,100) and at year 2 ($4,925 and $5,450) than the control group did, and a smaller percentage had ever received cash assistance by year 2 (88 versus 91 percent).
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Only about half of those assigned to the treatment group actually received PRIDE services. Those who did not receive services were determined to be either fully or not at all employable, or were sanctioned for not complying with New York City’s Human Resources Administration work requirements.
In addition, the study authors estimated multiple related impacts on outcomes related to employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt. Performing multiple statistical tests on related outcomes makes it more likely that some impacts will be found statistically significant purely by chance and not because they reflect program effectiveness. The authors did not perform statistical adjustments to account for the multiple tests, so the number of statistically significant findings in these domains is likely to be overstated.
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 PRIDE and not to other factors.