National Service Blog

  • Posted on Feb 9, 2015

    Most low-income families face a litany of financial and employment challenges, which is why Social Innovation Fund (SIF) intermediary the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is expanding its comprehensive Financial Opportunity Centers and using data to inform these expansion efforts.

    These 75 centers nationwide represent both a workforce-development and asset-building programming model with services such as job readiness, employment training, financial coaching and help in accessing public benefits.

    Through these services, participants can boost monthly net income and obtain critical supports such as health insurance and utility assistance that improve family well-being.

    “Low-income, low-wage jobs are not enough to sustain a family,” said Seung Kim, LISC program director for family income and wealth building. “Our strategy is to empower individuals and families through an intentional, integrated services approach.”

    These integrated services, or “bundled services,” aim to provide individuals with employment counseling, financial coaching, and access to income supports to help boost steady income, reduce expenses, and build credit and wealth. It is a value-added approach that includes a major emphasis on data and evaluation. For example, one key research question is whether participants receiving multiple services show stronger outcomes than those participating in only one or two activities.

    “The data really drive how we understand the program,” Kim said.

    For example, job placement rates are higher for those with greater involvement. Individuals with only basic employment services have a 26 percent...

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