The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded to the Great Recession with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, with the goal of creating opportunities for people facing barriers to employment to pursue education and occupational training that could help them get ahead.
Though providers struggled to implement the model as designed, Earn and Learn participants demonstrated an impressive unsubsidized employment rate of 77 percent, and both participants and employers involved in the program spoke of the much-needed boost Earn and Learn gave them during a difficult economic time.
Impact analyses revealed that comparison group members fared better than Earn and Learn participants on both earnings and employment. Compared to similar past research, however, treatment group members did demonstrate relatively higher rates of employment three and four quarters and after program enrollment, suggesting more long-lasting effects. Overall, lingering group differences, along with the possibility that the two groups differed on unobserved characteristics, may complicate interpretation.
This evaluation report of the Michigan Earn and Learn transitional jobs program was commissioned by The Joyce Foundation on behalf of the State of Michigan.