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The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: Implementation and early impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs (Redcross et al., 2016)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

Review Guidelines

Absence of conflict of interest.


Redcross, C., Barden, B., Bloom, D., Farrell, M. (2016). The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: Implementation and early impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


  • The objective of the study was to examine the implementation of the Next STEP program which aimed to increase job-readiness and employment among persons recently released from prison. The Fort Worth program provided job readiness training, job search assistance for subsidized employment, and additional services and supports for participants.
  • The authors conducted an implementation evaluation using qualitative and quantitative data collected from sites visits, interviews, focus groups, program questionnaires, and staff reporting of time spent on program activities.
  • The study found that the program met its recruitment goals. However, only 39% of participants obtained subsidized employment.
  • The study did not provide details regarding the data collection methods and analyses.
  • The companion impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in June 2022.

Intervention Examined


Features of the Intervention

  • Type of organization: Local workforce development board
  • Location/setting: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Population served and scale: adult, justice-involved, unemployed; 503 participants;
  • Industry focus: Not included
  • Intervention activities: subsidized employment, job search assistance, job readiness, case management
  • Organizational partnerships: Employers, Legal aid non-profit, Healthcare organization
  • Cost: Not included
  • Fidelity: Not included

The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected and funded seven organizations to operate transitional job programs for low-income, noncustodial parents or formerly incarcerated individuals. The program in Fort Worth, TX, Next STEP, took place between November 2011 and June 2014 and was operated by the Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. Next STEP provided job-readiness programming, job search assistance, and employment subsidies for persons recently released from prison. After completing a job-readiness assessment and workshop, participants received assistance in finding and interviewing for jobs. Employers provided 100% subsidized employment for the first eight weeks and then employment was 50% subsidized for the second eight weeks, and they were expected to retain good employees following the subsidized employment period. The program also provided case management, job retention services, mental health counseling (provided by a healthcare organization), legal assistance (provided by a legal aid non-profit), and job training. Early in 2013, the program began providing incentives for participating in activities. Participants were required to be from Tarrant County, Texas and released from the Texas prison system within the last 120 days. Participants had to meet two of the following criteria: had not worked in a skilled profession in the last 1-3 years, had three unemployment periods of 26 weeks or longer in the past 3 years, were unable to return to previous employment field, had less than a high school level of education, had high school diploma or equivalent but read below ninth grade level, homeless, did not have right-to-work documents, had physical or mental limitations or disabilities, and did not have a degree, certificate, or license less than five years old in a demand occupation field.

Features of the Study

The study took place in Fort Worth, Texas and the data used in the implementation study included both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Authors collected qualitative data from site staff through staff interviews during two site visits and staff reporting of time spent on program activities. They also collected information from participants through focus groups, review of case files, and interviews during site visits. The authors collected quantitative information on participation in program activities through a management information system database. Lastly, program staff and participants completed program questionnaires. There were 503 program participants and 497 individuals in the control group. Program participants were 89.9% male, and 51.8% Black and 32.6% White, non-Hispanic, with an average age of just over 38.  Most (82.6%) did not have a high school diploma or equivalent. No information was provided about the staff who participated in the study and the study did not report details on data collection methods or analyses.


Intervention activities/services

  • The study found that only 39% of participants held a subsidized job. However, 38% of participants obtained unsubsidized employment without a subsidized position.
  • The study found that a minority of program participants received child support or parenting education.

Implementation challenges and solutions

  • Since participants had to search and interview for jobs, it was difficult for some participants to obtain employment. Staff realized that some participants needed financial help while looking for jobs and that some left the program when the job search took longer than expected. As a solution, financial incentives were provided for participation. Staff reported that the incentives kept participants engaged.
  • The program had difficulties with recruitment. Recruitment efforts were expanded and ultimately the recruitment goals were attained.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The study did not detail the data collection methods and analyses. There is no information on how personal data was kept confidential  during data analysis and the  study authors do not describe the observations made during study visits or the qualitative interview data that was collected and coded/analyzed in detail.

Additional Sources

Barden, B., Juras, R., Redcross, C., Farrell, M., & Bloom, D. (2018). New Perspectives on Creating Jobs: Final Impacts of the Next Generation of Subsidized Employment Programs. Washington, D.C: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reviewed by CLEAR

August 2023

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