BTW 50+ Womens Economic Stability Initiative Final Implementation Report

Program/Intervention: 
Back to Work 50+
Implementing Organization: 
Austin Community College; Eastern Florida State College (transferred to Career Source Brevard); Jefferson State Community College; Miami Dade College; Santa Fe College; Santa Fe Community College
Intermediary(s): 
The AARP Foundation
Summary: 

Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative (BTW50+: WESI) is an AARP program that is geared on building the capacity of local education and training institutions to address the needs of older women workers between 50-64 years of age with incomes between 120% and 200% of poverty level. The six subgrantees’ participation allowed for an increase of the number of program staff members and the capacity to serve larger numbers of participants.

Study Goals:

The evaluation’s three components have the following goals:

  • The goal of the implementation study is to describe and assess the program’s fidelity to the prescribed model, implementation challenges, and best practices.
  • The goal of the outcomes study is to measure service intensity and participant outcomes using two data sources: the program’s electronic client profile and FIS database and telephone surveys of job candidates at three months, six months, and 12 months after program enrollment.
  • The goal of the impact study is to use propensity score matching to create a quasi-experimental comparison group. The comparison group members will be compared with BTW50+: WESI job candidates on three key measures: post-program employment rate, post-program average earnings, and, for training participants, completion of training.

Research Questions:

The report addresses research questions on implementation experiences and features, implementation variations, and job candidate characteristics and perspectives. Among others, the research questions include:

  • How do subgrantees develop local partnerships that allow the project to leverage community resources to connect candidates with supportive services and job opportunities?
  • What challenges have the participating colleges encountered as they have implemented the BTW50+: WESI model?
  • What are the key features of the BTW50+: WESI program model as intended by AARP Foundation, and to what extent have subgrantees achieved fidelity to this model, as measured through a standardized fidelity assessment checklist?
  • To what extent do subgrantees have the internal capacity and commitment to offer effective training services to the 50+ population after the conclusion of the program period?
  • To what extent do subgrantees target different subsets of job candidates, such as women who have experienced economic hardship as a result of limited work experience or long spells of unemployment, women with limited English language or literacy skills, or women over 60 years of age?
  • What changes in attitudes and behavior (related to quality of life, financial management, and computer use) do job candidates exhibit during the year after enrollment?

Findings:

The evaluation found the following:

  • BTW50+: WESI was implemented as intended in terms of the number and types of job candidates enrolled, as well as the design, delivery, and receipt of program services.
  • Subgrantees reported the following challenges:
    • limitations in the types of jobs available in the local labor market,
    • difficulty maintaining a stable staff given time-limited grant funding,
    • difficulty tracking job candidate outcomes during the follow up period, and
    • limited financial capacity to take over funding the program when the grant ended.
  • Employer engagement was the most challenging component of the model for subgrantees to implement.
  • Job candidates who completed surveys and participated in focus groups gave high satisfaction ratings on core components of the BTW50+: WESI program. However, many job candidates felt that connections with employers needed to be stronger.

For more information, download the full report and report brief.

CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Economic Opportunity
Age(s) Studied: 
55+ (Older adult)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s): 
Rural
Suburban
Urban
Low Income
Outcomes Category(s): 
Employment
Study Type(s): 
Implementation
Study Design(s): 
Quasi-Experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence: 
Preliminary
Researcher/Evaluator: 
Social Policy Research Associates
Year Published: 
2019
Date Posted Online: 
December 4, 2019
Study Site Location (City/County): 
Study Site Location (State): 
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