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Secure Jobs Evaluation

secure jobs logoIASP is conducting a multi-year mixed methods evaluation of the Secure Jobs Initiative, in partnership with the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation and Massachusetts' Department of Housing and Community Development. Based on the theory that steady employment can contribute to housing stability, Secure Jobs integrates employment support into housing stabilization and wraparound services to establish a service network for homeless families in Massachusetts.  Almost 2000 homeless parents enrolled in the three-year pilot.  About two-thirds gained new employment through the program.  The seven regions administering Secure Jobs changed their institutional stabilization practices to provide coordinated, holistic service to families.

four staff membersThe Secure Jobs evaluation team: Zaynah Johnson and Erika Krajcovicova, Graduate Research Assistants (now MPP graduates); Sara Chaganti, Project Manager; Tatjana Meschede, Principal Investigator


secure jobs first report secure jobs second report secure jobs third report secure jobs fourth reportsecure jobs fifth report secure jobs sixth report cover secure jobs seventh report cover of final report
IASP has released eight reports using data from the Secure Jobs evaluation.  IASP is committed to using data to inform practice. Therefore, we release results as we receive data, rather than waiting until the demonstration is over.  The first report, released shortly after the first Phase of Secure Jobs, details the implementation process, including challenges and innovations. The third report describes changes in implementation as Secure Jobs expanded in the second phase.  The second and sixth reports detail participant outcomes. The fourth, fifth and seventh are topic briefs, examining particular aspects of Secure Jobs more closely and locating them within the larger field of practice.  The final report highlights outcomes of the initiative. More information on each brief is below.  IASP staff members have also presented this research at conferences across the US.

Secure Jobs [is] a way of bringing [together] entities that were pretty much siloed. Before, you know, [it was each agency saying] we're the housers, we're the shelter-providers, we're the daycare people, and basically saying, "Okay, we're really all together and we're going to try to find a way of ensuring all the pieces that a family needs in order to be successful and stay out of the homeless system are threaded together"... And the learning is, what's the best practice to ensure that as we move forward? I think that would be the ideal thing that we're looking to come out of Secure Jobs.

-State Government Staff Member

cover of final Secure Jobs reportSecure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families: Final Report for Massachusetts' Secure Jobs Initiative (April, 2017)

The final report highlights the results of the Secure Jobs Initiative. The data collected from participants in the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Initiative for close to 4 years show us the opportunities and outcomes of targeted employment services for homeless families, as well as challenges that the families face. The research shows that employment can stabilize housing: Those participants who found employment through Secure Jobs were less likely to enter shelter in the two years following program entry.

secure jobs sixth reportSkills Training for Homeless Families: Human Capital Investments in Support of Employment and Housing (November, 2016)

This seventh brief reports on Secure Jobs participants who entered skills training to explain how Secure Jobs sites use short-term training programs for their participants. Secure Jobs participants who enroll in skills training programs show moderate gains in job retention.  About half choose training in healthcare fields. Participants who enter training in traditionally female-dominated fields are more likely to find employment than those in traditionally male-dominated fields.

secure jobs sixth reportPhase One & Two Participation & Employment Outcomes (June, 2016)

The sixth brief in this series compares implementation, participation, and employment outcomes from the first two phases of Secure Jobs.  Phase Two expanded to include families in shelters, motels, and other emergency housing programs. Findings point to the need for increased planning for recruitment when expanding eligibility and the importance of both skills training, and providing employment services in shelters and motels.

secure jobs fifth reportSystems Change in Service Delivery for Homeless Families: Building and Leveraging Networks to Improve Service Provision (November, 2015)

The fifth brief in this series describes Secure Jobs as an application of systems thinking.  Systems thinking suggests that a social problem needs to be viewed holistically in order to understand and address its multiple sources in a coordinated effort with sustained impact.  By forging a strong link between traditionally separated services, Secure Jobs creates the infrastructure to institutionalize service provision through a collaborative network of strategic partnerships.

I think a lot [of partnerships] are mutually beneficial too -- like a symbiotic relationship between the two agencies.

-Secure Jobs Staff Member

secure jobs fourth reportJob Readiness Training for Homeless Families: Preparing for Work to Achieve Housing Stability (July, 2015)

The fourth brief in this series focuses on the job Readiness Training component of the Secure Jobs Initiative. Job Readiness Training is a package of services intended to move job seekers quickly into employment by market their existing skills and abilities, and is central to Secure Jobs at all seven sites.  Participants experience Job Readiness Training as supportive and empowering.  Recommendations include using an evidence-based curriculum and providing wraparound supports.

When we came in, and the first thing that they're talking about is professionalism. Everybody has an idea of what professionalism is, but once you start trying to speak about it, it's like, "Well, what does it really entail? How important is it?" And... the next thing you know, you're really thinking about yourself, like, "How am I in the business place? Am I professional? Am I courteous?"

-Secure Jobs Participant

secure jobs third reportSecure Jobs for Homeless Families: Expanding an Integrated Service Model (March, 2015)

This brief introduces the second phase of Secure Jobs.  In 2014, Massachusetts' Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) took over administration of Secure Jobs, with continued support from the Fireman Foundation.  DHCD expanded eligibility  and two additional Secure Jobs sites were added, expanding coverage to most of the state.  Secure Jobs has also received national attention, and is being replicated in Connecticut.

secure jobs second reportSecure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families: Summary Report of Massachusetts’ Secure Jobs Initiative Phase One (December, 2015)

This second report in the series summarizes short-term employment and housing outcomes for Phase One participants as well as participant, employer, trainer, and staff assessments.  Resembling the typical homeless family, but slightly more educated, Secure Jobs families who entered new employment did not see significant increases in their wages but saw an increase in working hours. Flexible funds and program partnerships with employers proved key to program success.

I think [Secure Jobs] helps you more realistically than those [other employment] programs do... A lot of programs will just help you to build up your resume and give you the interview skills, [but Secure Jobs] will actually fund towards something that you want to do. Like they funded my [certification] test... They'll actually fund those things. And they'll help you with transportation, like giving you bus passes and stuff like that. I feel like it's a more realistic approach.

-Secure Jobs Participant

secure jobs first reportSecure Jobs, Secure Homes Secure Families: Process Evaluation of the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Pilot (October, 2013)

The first report in the series describes the program model and documents the Phase One implementation process. Secure Jobs set the ambitious goal of serving over 500 HomeBASE families in Massachusetts with 80% employed and 80% remaining employed one year after.  Secure Jobs' two hallmarks, collaboration and flexibility encourage the development of partnerships between housing and employment service providers, area employers and community resources.

Secure Jobs is a partnership by design, not just a service we've heard about and are referring people to... It's easier to refer people when you know you can follow up in the next meeting... In other programs, we feel like we send a referral into the abyss and just hope for the best. [Also, with dedicated employment staff,] I can focus on other important issues with them like housing, because I don't have to focus on the job search.

-Housing Case Manager


IASP staff has presented research on Secure Jobs at academic and practitioner conferences across the nation.

Heartland Alliance - National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity's A Nation That Works 2016 Conference

October 27, 2016 - Chicago, IL

tatjana meschede presenting at homeward conferenceIASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede presented "Creating Opportunity for Homeless Jobseekers: Findings from The Secure Jobs Initiative in Massachusetts" at the Heartland Alliance's conference.

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation's Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency

June 1, 2016 - Washington, DC

person presenting poster at conferenceIASP Research Associate Sara Chaganti presented the poster "Supporting Self-Sufficiency through Cross-Systems Collaboration: An Innovative Service Delivery Model for Homeless Families" at OPRE's biannual RECS conference.

Commonwealth Workforce Coalition'Sharing Skills, Building Connections Conference

May 17, 2016 - Sturbridge, MA

sara chaganti presents at cwc conferneceIASP Research Associate Sara Chaganti presented "Job Readiness Training for Homeless Families" at CWC's 13th annual conference. She was joined by Frances Bernier, an employment specialist at CareerPoint in Holyoke, MA.

Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio's Housing Ohio 2016 Conference

April 12, 2016 - Columbus, OH

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede presented "Creating Opportunity for Homeless Job Seekers at COHHIO's 2016 conference.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness' National Conference to End Homelessness

July 15, 2015 - Washington, DC

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede presented "Best Practices and Participant Outcomes from the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Initiative" at the NAEH National Conference pre- conference session Improving Employment Outcomes: Exploring Research, Funding, and Approaches That Work

Homeward’s Best Practices to Prevent and End Homelessness Regional Conference

June 5, 2015 - Richmond, VA

tatjana with audience at homeward conference

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede led a workshop titled "Pairing Rapid Re-Housing with Employment" at Homeward's 9th annual conference in Richmond, Virginia.

Commonwealth Workforce Coalition's Sharing Skills, Building Connections Conference

May 1, 2014 - Sturbridge, MA

iasp staff presenting at cwc conference

IASP Research Assistant Sara Chaganti led a workshop titled "Secure Jobs for Secure Families: Partnerships for Integrated, Individualized Services" at CWC's 11th annual conference.  She was joined by program staff who offered a picture of program operation on the ground.

Institute for Children, Poverty and HomelessnessBeyond Housing Conference

January 16, 2014 - New York, NY

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede and Research Assistant Sara Chaganti presented "Workforce Development for Homeless Families: Using a Partnership Model to Achieve Secure Employment and Housing" at ICPH's third biennial Beyond Housing conference.

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