Employment Retention and Advancement Project, 2000-2007 [United States] (ICPSR 33181)

Version Date: Mar 30, 2012 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Gayle Hamilton, MDRC



Version V1

The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project was designed to fill the gap in knowledge about employment retention and advancement strategies that might be effective. The goal of ERA was to identify and rigorously test a diverse set of innovative models designed to promote employment stability and wage or earnings progression among current or former welfare recipients or other low-income groups. As part of ERA, over a dozen different program models have been evaluated over the past 10 years using random assignment research designs. These models embodied states' and localities' choices of program goals, target populations, and program features, and the programs were largely paid for through existing funding streams. The programs were thus "real-world" interventions initiated by practitioners and not programs set up and funded solely for research purposes. The diversity of the models presents an opportunity to explore the effectiveness of a variety of strategies implemented for different populations in order to identify what might work. This collection includes seven datasets, four classified as Core/Final Report Sites and three from Harder to Employ Sites. Almost all of the ERA programs targeted current or former recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the cash welfare program that mainly serves single mothers and their children. The programs differed, however, in terms of when services were first provided and to whom. The Harder to Employ Sites files focus on the three ERA models that served harder to employ populations; (1) Tier 2 program in Minnesota: unemployed welfare-to-work participants who were in welfare-to-work services for a year or longer and hadn't been employed in the previous three months were given welfare-to-work services aimed at addressing barriers to employment which took into account their employment limitations. The Tier 2 program focused on assessing barriers to employment and addressing those barriers through referrals to appropriate services and close monitoring and follow-up. (2) New York City PRIDE: welfare recipients who were deemed "employable with limitations" were required to take part in welfare-to-work activities -- which emphasized unpaid work experience, education, and job placement assistance -- however, the program took into account their employment limitations when placing them in activities. The PRIDE program began with an in-depth assessment of participants' work and education history and their medical conditions. (3) New York City Substance Abuse Case Management (SACM): public assistance applicants and recipients who screened positive for signs of substance abuse were given a mandatory appointment to assess the level of substance abuse treatment needed. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, clients were referred to treatment, employment services, or a combination of both. Noncompliance at any stage resulted in sanctions and loss of public assistance benefits. Information was collected on respondents' employment status, job training, pay rate and benefits, occupation sector, health care, childcare, transportation, and a variety of job related topics. Demographic variables included household income, housing arrangements, number of people living in household, and respondent health status.

Hamilton, Gayle. Employment Retention and Advancement Project, 2000-2007 [United States]. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-03-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR33181.v1

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families (HHS Contract #105-99-8100), United States Department of Labor (HHS Contract #233-01-0012)


Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2000 -- 2007
2000 -- 2007

This collection includes impact information on which programs were effective for improving employment retention and advancement, and other notable outcomes. The zipped packages of Excel files represent the data used for the tables in the PDF reports/documentation pertaining to the impact information and study results, however the tables in the documentation may contain additional information not provided in the zipped packages of Excel files. The zipped package of Excel files also includes templates of tables and lists of variables used in each table. More information on impacts can be found in the Codebook.

Information on MDRC and The Employment Retention and Advancement Project can be found via the MDRC Employment Retention and Advancement website.

Please refer to the Codebook for information on sampling.

Core Report Sites were primarily female single parents who were former or current welfare recipients. Harder to Employ sites were primarily "harder to employ" individuals who were former or current welfare recipients.

administrative records data, survey data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Hamilton, Gayle. Employment Retention and Advancement Project, 2000-2007 [United States]. ICPSR33181-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-03-30. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR33181.v1

2012-03-30 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.