Bloom, H., Riccio, J., Verma, N., & Walter, J. (2005). Promoting work in public housing: The effectiveness of Jobs-Plus. New York City: MDRC
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus) program on the employment and earnings of residents in housing developments in six cities in the United States.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial that used data from administrative records to compare outcomes between treatment and control group members from one to five years after random assignment.
- The study found that residents in the Jobs-Plus housing developments had higher long-term earnings than residents in the control group developments.
- 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 the Jobs-Plus program and not to other factors.
The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus) Program
Features of the Intervention
Jobs-Plus was an employment and training program with three core components: employment-related services and activities, including job search skills, soft skills training, vocational training, education and training, and child care and transportation assistance; financial incentives to work; and community support for work. For the evaluation, Jobs-Plus was implemented in selected housing developments in six U.S. cities from 1998 through 1999.
Features of the Study
The authors used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the Jobs-Plus program. They selected cities based on a national competition, and housing authorities had to have at least two large developments that met the study criteria to qualify for the study. The authors randomly assigned housing developments to a condition when the program launched in 1998. Each city had a matched cluster of two or three similar housing developments; one housing development implemented Jobs-Plus and the other one or two housing developments represented the comparison condition. (The authors treated comparison housing developments as a business-as-usual condition with no Jobs-Plus services.) The impact analysis focused on people 21 to 61 years old who were not identified by the housing authority as people with disabilities. The authors obtained data for up to six years before and six years after implementation of Jobs-Plus. The evaluation included 15 housing developments in six cities with a total of 4,774 residents.
The study was conducted in public housing developments in the following cities:
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Dayton, Ohio
- Los Angeles, California
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Seattle, Washington
- The study found that residents in the Jobs-Plus housing developments had significantly higher average annual earnings than control group residents five years after program implementation ($8,578 compared to $8,106).
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The implementation of the Jobs-Plus program was slow, and many residents left the housing developments during the program rollout from 1998 through 1999. The authors based the results on those people residing in the developments at the time of data collection, who were not necessarily residents at the beginning of the intervention.
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 the Jobs-Plus program, and not to other factors.