Providing Job Search Support for Women Over 50; Interim Report on the Implementation of AARP Foundation’s Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative

Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative
AARP Foundation

The Women's Economic Stability Initiative (WESI) seeks to build the capacity of local education and training institutions to address the needs of older women workers between 50 and 64 years of age with incomes between 130 percent and 200 percent of poverty level by helping them prepare for employment in high-growth sectors in their local economies. The model delivers a continuum of core services through group workshops and individual coaching sessions, including career coaching, supportive services, computer skills training, financial capability building, and job search skills and employer engagement.

This report summarizes observations from the implementation study, which included two rounds of site visits to each community college implementing Back to Work 50+: Women's Economic Stability Initiative (BTW50+: WESI). It also draws on 221 telephone surveys completed with BTW 50+: WESI participants three months after program enrollment as part of the outcomes study. The study found that:

  • Subgrantees have fully or partially implemented most elements of the program model. Implementation of the career coaching, computer skills training, and job search skills training elements show the highest fidelity to the intended model.
  • Even within elements of the program implemented with fidelity, subgrantees show notable variations in how they deliver these services.
  • Subgrantee familiarity with the target population and with providing similar services is correlated with fidelity of implementation.
  • The program's database, the Foundation Impact System (FIS), has been challenging for subgrantees to use, despite technical assistance and attempts to streamline data entry.  
  • Survey respondents report positive attitudes and behaviors at three months after enrollment, but self-reported employment rates are somewhat low.
CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Economic Opportunity
Age(s) Studied: 
55+ (Older adult)
Outcomes Category(s): 
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Level of Evidence: 
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
February 15, 2018
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