Grant recipient: University of Chicago
Term: 2016 –2023
Principal Investigator: Marianne Bertrand, Ph. D., University of Chicago
Summary: The project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Transforming Impossible into Possible (TIP), a job-readiness training program designed to address psycho-emotional and social barriers to employment for low-income, persistently unemployed adults. The 3‑week, 15-session TIP program is delivered by job-readiness trained staff in a group setting at local employment agencies through a manualized curriculum designed to empower job-seekers and participants with psychological capital for labor market success, while also providing traditional services such as job-search and resume assistance. Prior evidence for this intervention consists of positive findings from similar interventions tested in other settings. For example, a small but well-conducted RCT of a similar intervention in the UK, found substantially higher rates of full-time employment over a 4‑month follow-up period.
The study will take place in three employment agencies in Chicago, each serving economically disadvantaged adults who have been persistently unemployed. The study will randomly assign 930 adults to either receive TIP services, or to a control group that receives usual services (i.e., job-readiness training and job search assistance). The study will use data from the Illinois Department of Economic Security and the Illinois Department of Human Services to measure earnings and employment over a three-year period.