Employment Services

Making the successful transition to adulthood had become increasingly challenging for disadvantaged young people. Two changes in the labor market have contributed to this trend. First, the rise in demand for higher skilled workers, while increasing the payoff to college, has resulted in declining real wages for less-educated workers.

For low-income youth who lack basic skills and drop out of school, finding employment at a living wage is a challenge. Developed by MDRC as a nonresidential alternative to Job Corps, JOBSTART was an unusual collaborative effort to help disadvantaged young people join the economic mainstream.

It is widely recognized that having no job or a job that pays a low wage puts people at risk of living in poverty. Less well known, though also well documented, are the dangers that low-wage work and unemployment pose to health by exposing people to physical hazards and psychological stressors that satisfactory employment could prevent.

Over the past two decades, poverty has become increasingly concentrated in the nation’s inner cities, while many employment opportunities — especially entry-level jobs for people with limited education and skills — have relocated to the urban periphery.