Betsy L.
Research Associate

Tessler has more than 15 years of experience with operations and implementation research at MDRC, focusing primarily on employment, training, and work-support use among low-wage workers. She has designed and led implementation research and analysis, trained program sites in random assignment procedures, and provided technical assistance on program operations. She is currently the lead implementation researcher for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s national evaluation of the Family Self-Sufficiency program, which provides housing voucher recipients with case management and an escrow savings account to encourage progress toward economic self-sufficiency. She was also the lead implementation researcher for WorkAdvance, a sector-based employment, training, and advancement program. She previously conducted implementation research for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Gold Standard Evaluation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s evaluation of WIA training services and “intensive services” (which include case management, counseling, and supportive services). Tessler was the lead implementation researcher for the Work Advancement and Support Center demonstration, which offered services to help workers stabilize their employment, improve their skills, and increase their earnings by working more hours or finding higher-paying jobs, and also helped them apply for various forms of financial work support for which they might be eligible. She was also the lead implementation researcher for the Opportunity NYC-Work Rewards evaluation, which added cash incentives for employment and training activities to the case management services provided by New York City’s Family Self-Sufficiency program. Tessler began her career at MDRC in 2001 as an implementation researcher for the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an employment effort in public housing developments. Tessler came to MDRC with more than 10 years of experience in community-based organizations, including community organizing, advocacy, and fundraising organizations, as well as several years as special assistant to former Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter when he was a city council member. She earned a Master of Arts degree in public policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.