Skip to main content

More than a job: Final results from the evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) transitional job program. (Redcross et al. 2012)

  • Review Protocol

Citation

Redcross, C., Millenky, M., & Rudd, T. (2012). More than a job: Final results from the evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) transitional job program. New York: MDRC.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) transitional job program on earnings and employment outcomes.
  • The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial. They used administrative data from New York State and New York City, along with data from the National Directory of New Hires and the CEO program itself, to measure earnings and employment outcomes.
  • The study did not find any significant differences between CEO program participants and the control group in Year 2 or Year 3 on any employment or earnings outcomes.
  • 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 CEO program, and not to other factors.

Intervention Examined

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Transitional Job Program

Features of the Intervention

The CEO transitional job program was a comprehensive program that focused on employment strategies for former prisoners. The CEO was one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, sponsored and funded by four separate federal government agencies (the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor).

CEO program participants took part in an initial five-day pre-employment life skills course followed by immediate placement into a transitional job at one of more than 30 work sites throughout New York City. Participants worked at the transitional job for four of five days during the work week. The fifth day was reserved for appointments during which participants met with job coaches and job developers, attended specialized programs such as the Responsible Fatherhood Program, and had access to other resources at the CEO program office. Study participants were paid each afternoon of their workday at the job site. The participants received minimum wage for transitional employment hours. The program participants worked with job developers to move into permanent jobs when the participants were considered job-ready on the basis of work site performance and presentation skills or prior employment history. Post-placement services included tracking of employment status and an incentive program introduced midway through the enrollment period in which participants who continued to be employed received financial incentives such as gift cards and transit benefits

Features of the Study

The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial, randomly assigning 977 people to either the CEO group or to a control group, which received a shorter life skills course and basic job searching assistance without a transitional job. A total of 568 former prisoners were randomly selected to receive CEO program services. The study excluded those who participated in the CEO or similar program within the past year. The study used administrative data on criminal history from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York City Department of Correction, and data from the National Directory of New Hires and the New York State Department of Labor to measure employment in jobs covered by unemployment insurance in the three years before and after entry into the study, and program data from the CEO management information system.

The authors used regression analyses to estimate the impact of the CEO program on earnings and employment one, two, and three years after random assignment. The analyses accounted for several pre-random assignment characteristics, including age, gender, race and ethnicity, number of quarters employed in the three years before random assignment, and number of prior felony convictions.

Findings

  • The study did not find any significant differences between CEO program participants and the control group in Year 2 or Year 3 on any employment or earnings outcomes.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Because subsidized jobs were provided for CEO program participants during the first year, this profile does not report outcomes in subsidized employment or those in the first year. In addition, the post-placement program’s financial incentives were implemented too late for many of the CEO participants to claim. Finally, the study authors estimated multiple related impacts on outcomes related to employment and earnings. 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 CEO program, and not to other factors.

Reviewed by CLEAR

November 2016