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Summaries of RCT Grants

A randomized controlled trial to evaluate Bridges to Success, a mentoring program to help low-income individuals obtain employment and financial stability

The program matches participants with mentors in a program inspired by EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring method.

Grant Recipient: University of Notre Dame, Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities

Principal Investigators: David Phillips, Ph.D., Notre Dame

Javier Espinosa, Ph.D., Rochester Institute of Technology

William Evans, Ph.D., Notre Dame

Term: 2020 - 2024

Funding: $93,572

Summary: This project is a continuation and long-term follow-up of an ongoing RCT of Bridges to Success – a two-year long mentoring program for low-income adults to help them obtain employment and financial stability. The program matches participants with mentors in a program inspired by EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring method. Mentors help participants identify and overcome barriers to economic mobility and assist participants in establishing and making progress towards long-term goals.

The RCT has produced promising early findings. In an initial follow-up of the first cohort of participants, the study found that Bridges to Success increased the employment rate by 10 percentage points (from 50% in the control group to 60% in the treatment group) 12 months after random assignment. Given the limited size of the first cohort, this finding was not statistically significant, but it would become significant if the effect persists in the full sample.

The full RCT sample comprises 434 individuals who were randomly assigned to either receive Bridges to Success or to a control group with access to usual community services. Under this project, the study will measure the program’s effect on employment rates and earnings through three to five years after random assignment, using state administrative records supplemented by surveys.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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