Per Scholas Employment/Training Program for Low-Income Workers

Updated: Jan 25, 2018
Evidence Rating:
Near Top Tier

Highlights

  • Program:

    An employment and training program for low-income workers that focuses on a specific economic sector—information technology.

  • Evaluation Methods:

    Two well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a combined sample of 1,143 individuals.

  • Key Findings:

    An increase in annual earnings of about 30 percent, or $4,000-$5,000, two to three years after random assignment.

  • Other:

    While the program’s large effects have been replicated across two well-conducted RCTs, both studies were conducted at the same program site in the Bronx. An RCT at another site would be valuable to hopefully establish that the effects generalize across different settings.

Per Scholas is an employment and training program for low-income workers that focuses on the information technology sector. Per Scholas originated in the Bronx (a borough of New York City) and now has six program sites in the United States. Participants receive 15 weeks of occupational skills training in information technology, career readiness services (e.g., assistance in resume and interview preparation), and job development and placement services. The program maintains strong relationships with local employers that hire workers with information technology skills, and the employers help shape the program’s training curriculum and other services. Program applicants are carefully screened to identify those most likely to be capable of completing training and to succeed in the information technology field, while not being so qualified that they could easily find a job without the program’s training and services. The program’s cost, which was carefully measured in the second RCT, is about $5,800 per participant (in 2013 dollars).

Per Scholas’ program services varied modestly between the two RCTs. Each RCT summary in our full evidence summary describes the version of the program that the study evaluated.

Click here for the Per Scholas’ website.

To see our full evidence summary:
Download PDF

References

Maguire, Sheila, Joshua Freely, Carol Clymer, Maureen Conway, and Deena Schwartz. “Tuning into Local Labor Markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study.” Public/Private Ventures: 2010. Click here for the full study report.

Hendra, R., Greenberg, D.H., Hamilton, G., Oppenheim, A., Pennington, A., Schaberg, K. & Tessler, B.L. (2016) Encouraging evidence on a sector-focused advancement strategy: two-year impacts from the WorkAdvance demonstration. MDRC. Click here for the full study report.

Schaberg, K. (2017) Can sector strategies promote longer-term effects? Three-year impacts from the WorkAdvance demonstration. MDRC. Click here for the full study report.

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