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Transitional Jobs Program – RecycleForce

A comprehensive reentry program that removes common barriers to post-release employment by providing skills training, job coaching, and help in securing transitional and permanent jobs for newly released offenders.

Program Outcomes

  • Adult Crime
  • Employment

Program Type

  • Adult Crime Prevention
  • Employment - Vocational
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • Transitional Between Contexts

Continuum of Intervention

  • Indicated Prevention

Age

  • Adult
  • Early Adulthood (19-22)

Endorsements

Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Gregg Keesling, President
RecycleForce
Email: gkeesling@recycleforce.org
Website: https://recycleforce.org/
Phone: (317) 532-1367 ext. 101

 

Program Developer/Owner

Gregg Keesling
RecycleForce


Brief Description of the Program

The RecycleForce transitional jobs program aims to help formerly incarcerated individuals learn skills and behaviors that will ultimately result in permanent jobs, and help participants reintegrate into the community through connections to children, families, and positive peer groups. Participants begin by working in a "wage paying" transitional subsidized job with RecycleForce for four to six months. Next, they obtain unsubsidized temporary work through a staffing partner that allows them to gain further skills while adhering to any continuing criminal justice mandates. The final component of the program is to move into a career position with at least a living wage. Program components include development of job skills and credentials, weekly personal development time, mentorship (including with peer mentors), adult basic education, financial planning and mental health services.

Outcomes

Redcross et al. (2016) and Barden et al. (2018) reported that over the observation period, compared to the control group, intervention group participants reported significantly:

  • Higher employment rate (including subsidized employment, posttest and follow-up)
  • Higher earnings (including subsidized earnings, posttest and follow-up)
  • Fewer felony convictions (posttest and follow-up)

Risk and Protective factors

Over the observation period, compared to the control group, intervention group participants were significantly more likely to successfully:

  • Make court-ordered child support payments
  • Rent or own residence
  • Have health insurance

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Redcross et al. (2016) randomly assigned 998 participants from Indianapolis to either the transitional job treatment group or other job placement support programs, presumably without a transitional job component. Participants were accepted from late 2011 to 2014 and employment and criminal records, in addition to self-reported surveys, were obtained at least 1 year after assignment to the treatment or control. Barden et al. (2018) conducted a 30-month follow-up to the original study.

Study 1

Barden, B., Juras, R., Redcross, C., Farrell, M., & Bloom, D. (2018). The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: New perspectives on creating jobs. Final impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs. MDRC, May 2018.


Redcross, C., Barden, B., Bloom, D., Broadus, J., Thompson, J., Williams, S, . . . Muller-Ravett, S. (2016). The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: Implementation and early impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs, Chapter 7. New York: MDRC.


Risk Factors

Neighborhood/Community: Transitions and mobility

Protective Factors

Individual: Prosocial involvement, Skills for social interaction


* Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details
Participants generally reflect the demographic characteristics of the U.S. prisoner population, with offenders that are mostly male, nonwhite, and of low socioeconomic status.

Source: Washington State Institute for Public Policy
All benefit-cost ratios are the most recent estimates published by The Washington State Institute for Public Policy for Blueprint programs implemented in Washington State. These ratios are based on a) meta-analysis estimates of effect size and b) monetized benefits and calculated costs for programs as delivered in the State of Washington. Caution is recommended in applying these estimates of the benefit-cost ratio to any other state or local area. They are provided as an illustration of the benefit-cost ratio found in one specific state. When feasible, local costs and monetized benefits should be used to calculate expected local benefit-cost ratios. The formula for this calculation can be found on the WSIPP website.


No information is available

Funding Overview

No information is available

Maximizing Federal Funds

Discretionary Grants:

  • The Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program provides funding, authorized as Research and Evaluation under Section 169 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, for justice-involved youth, young adults and adults who were formerly incarcerated. The goal is to develop strategies and partnerships that facilitate the implementation of successful programs at the state and local levels that will improve the workforce outcomes for this population.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Job Training Program provides funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where assessment, cleanup, and preparation of brownfield sites for reuse activities are taking place. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (2021), the Agency is currently providing grants to 19 organizations to enhance job training.
  • The Administration for Children & Families Office of Community Services provides Community Economic Development grant funding to organizations that address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities.

Foundation Grants and Public-Private Partnerships

Grants from foundations or local city governments with interests in workforce development can be considered as sources of funding to support a transitional jobs program (e.g., Eli Lilly Endowment, Clowes Fund, KeyBank Foundation, City of Indianapolis).

Generating New Revenue

RecycleForce generates revenue from its recycling operations.

Program Developer/Owner

Gregg KeeslingPresidentRecycleForce1255 Roosevelt AvenueIndianapolis, IN 64202(317) 532-1367 ext. 101gkeesling@recycleforce.org recycleforce.org

Program Outcomes

  • Adult Crime
  • Employment

Program Specifics

Program Type

  • Adult Crime Prevention
  • Employment - Vocational
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • Transitional Between Contexts

Continuum of Intervention

  • Indicated Prevention

Program Goals

A comprehensive reentry program that removes common barriers to post-release employment by providing skills training, job coaching, and help in securing transitional and permanent jobs for newly released offenders.

Population Demographics

The employment program targets former adult prisoners referred to employment services by their parole, probation, and community corrections officers.

Target Population

Age

  • Adult
  • Early Adulthood (19-22)

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Participants generally reflect the demographic characteristics of the U.S. prisoner population, with offenders that are mostly male, nonwhite, and of low socioeconomic status.

Other Risk and Protective Factors

Individual

  • Limited employment options
  • Limited job skills
  • Significant criminal justice court imposed mandates administered by parole, probation and community corrections oversight

Risk/Protective Factor Domain

  • Individual

Risk/Protective Factors

Risk Factors

Neighborhood/Community: Transitions and mobility

Protective Factors

Individual: Prosocial involvement, Skills for social interaction


*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program

Brief Description of the Program

The RecycleForce transitional jobs program aims to help formerly incarcerated individuals learn skills and behaviors that will ultimately result in permanent jobs, and help participants reintegrate into the community through connections to children, families, and positive peer groups. Participants begin by working in a "wage paying" transitional subsidized job with RecycleForce for four to six months. Next, they obtain unsubsidized temporary work through a staffing partner that allows them to gain further skills while adhering to any continuing criminal justice mandates. The final component of the program is to move into a career position with at least a living wage. Program components include development of job skills and credentials, weekly personal development time, mentorship (including with peer mentors), adult basic education, financial planning and mental health services.

Description of the Program

RecycleForce operates a transitional jobs program that aims to help formerly incarcerated individuals learn skills and behaviors that will ultimately result in permanent jobs, and help participants reintegrate into the community through connections to children, families, and positive peer groups. Operating as an employment social enterprise, RecycleForce embeds the transitional program into its social enterprise, guaranteeing jobs for those unlikely to be employed in the competitive job market and then transitioning these workers to better employment opportunities.

The transitional jobs program uses the "ABC Model - Any job - Better job - Career." The "Any job" component of the model consists of the first step on the employment ladder, a subsidized "wage paying" job at RecycleForce generally lasting from four to six months. Upon completion of the transitional job, RecycleForce's alternative staffing partner helps participants obtain unsubsidized flexible temporary work - the Better job - that allows them to gain further skills while adhering to any continuing criminal justice oversight mandates and/or completing education and credential programs. The final Career component of the model occurs when program participants gain permanent employment paying at least a living wage, often obtained via temp-to-hire positions.

Primary program components include:

  • Development of job skills: Participants gain general and specific job skills in the electronics recycling industry and are paid an hourly wage (currently $11) for up to 35 hours per week for at least four months. The wage paid is based on current economic conditions - the goal to pay the most possible - but also to be below wages clients can obtain when they leave the program.
  • Development time: Participants are allotted a minimum of five hours of unpaid, excused time each week for nonwork activities such as drug screenings, court hearings, and meetings to address child support-related issues.
  • Support to help individuals stay in the program and address employment needs: Case managers meet with participants during orientation, at specified milestones (30, 60, and 90 days into the program), and as needed. Mentors are secured for some clients. Additionally, peer mentors (former program participants) supervise participants, teach job-related skills, and model appropriate work-place behavior. Finally, each morning begins with the "Circle of Trust" where all workers meet with permanent staff members to reflect on and share successes and challenges.
  • Workforce job training and credentials: OSHA and OSHA10 training, including hands-on safety learnings. Various credential training and actual hands-on experience - credentials are HAZWOPER 40, Powered Industrial Truck (forklift), EPA 608, and Certified Logistics Associates (CLA). RecycleForce is working with Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana) to further develop the credentials to include three to six credits toward an associate degree or other certifications from the community college.  Clients are paid a wage for these activities when done on site.
  • Adult Basic Education: RecycleForce provides onsite educational assistance towards high school equivalency and other basic education assistance. Clients are paid a wage for these activities when done on site.
  • Financial Planning: RecycleForce provides onsite financial planning administered by local banks as part of their Community Reinvestment Act activities. Clients are paid a wage for these activities when done on site.
  • Mental Health Services: RecycleForce provides onsite mental health services by licensed certified mental health providers. Clients are paid a wage for these activities when done on site.
  • Access to Alternative Staffing and Job Placement: Some clients are connected with the program's staffing arm for the next step and others are set to interview with employers willing to hire from the population served.  Resumes and practice interviews are set up for all clients.

Theoretical Rationale

This program reduces the economic incentive to participate in crime by helping newly released offenders obtain job skills and secure and maintain steady post-release employment.

Theoretical Orientation

  • Skill Oriented
  • Person - Environment

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Redcross et al. (2016) randomly assigned 998 participants from Indianapolis to either the transitional job treatment group or other job placement support programs, presumably without a transitional job component. Participants were accepted from late 2011 to 2014 and employment and criminal records, in addition to self-reported surveys, were obtained at least 1 year after assignment to the treatment or control. Barden et al. (2018) conducted a 30-month follow-up to the original study.

Outcomes (Brief, over all studies)

Redcross et al. (2016) found significantly higher employment and earnings in the treatment group as compared to the control group, however this included subsidized employment. Significantly fewer treatment participants were convicted of felonies as compared to control participants. Treatment group participants were more likely to pay child support and pay more in child support, however the self-reports suggested less informal or noncash support among the treatment participants, as compared to the control participants. Treatment group participants were also more likely to have housing and health insurance as compared to control group participants. The 30-month follow-up (Barden et al., 2018) found that treatment group participants reported significantly higher rates of employment and lower rates of incarceration.

Outcomes

Redcross et al. (2016) and Barden et al. (2018) reported that over the observation period, compared to the control group, intervention group participants reported significantly:

  • Higher employment rate (including subsidized employment, posttest and follow-up)
  • Higher earnings (including subsidized earnings, posttest and follow-up)
  • Fewer felony convictions (posttest and follow-up)

Risk and Protective factors

Over the observation period, compared to the control group, intervention group participants were significantly more likely to successfully:

  • Make court-ordered child support payments
  • Rent or own residence
  • Have health insurance

Mediating Effects

Not tested.

Effect Size

Not presented.

Generalizability

Implemented in Indianapolis.

Potential Limitations

Redcross et al. (2016), Barden et al. (2018):

  • Tests for baseline equivalence were combined with other samples
  • Use of baseline controls not possible but used other controls
  • Some evidence of differential attrition for survey measures

Endorsements

Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Gregg Keesling, President
RecycleForce
Email: gkeesling@recycleforce.org
Website: https://recycleforce.org/
Phone: (317) 532-1367 ext. 101

 

References

Study 1

Certified Barden, B., Juras, R., Redcross, C., Farrell, M., & Bloom, D. (2018). The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: New perspectives on creating jobs. Final impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs. MDRC, May 2018.

Certified Redcross, C., Barden, B., Bloom, D., Broadus, J., Thompson, J., Williams, S, . . . Muller-Ravett, S. (2016). The Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration: Implementation and early impacts of the next generation of subsidized employment programs, Chapter 7. New York: MDRC.

Study 1

Evaluation Methodology

Design:

Recruitment: The study recruited participants from Marion County Probation, Indianapolis Parole District 3, Duvall Residential Center (a work release facility), and the Marion County Reentry Court. Reaching the enrollment goal of 1,000 participants through a steady referral stream, a total of 998 parolees and probationers were assigned.

Assignment: The study randomly assigned 501 individuals to the treatment and 497 to the control group. Participants assigned to the control group were enrolled in other job support programs.

Assessments/Attrition: Redcross et al. (2016) followed participants for a period from 1 year after assignment for administrative data and an average of 14 months after assignment for survey data. All but two participants had posttest data from official records. The total sample for the survey was 803 (80.5%). At the 30-month follow-up (Barden et al., 2018), administrative data was available for the full sample on employment and for 982 participants on the recidivism measures. The sample size for the survey was 770 (77.3%) and 366 for the child support outcomes.

Sample: The sample was 96% male, the average age was 33.6, 81.5% were black, 15.1% were white, and 1.9% were Hispanic. A majority of participants had a high school degree or equivalent (69.4%) and 24.4% had less than a high school education. A large percentage of the sample had worked previously (83.4%).

Measures: To measure employment, the study used data from the National Directory of New Hires, which included only jobs covered by unemployment insurance. To examine criminal justice outcomes, the study used criminal justice system administrative data on arrests and convictions in jails and prisons. For data on child support, the study used child support agency administrative data. The measures of employment, crime, and child support from administrative records were supplemented with measures from survey data. For economic and personal well-being measures, data came only from the survey.

Analysis: The analysis used linear regression models, with tests done for the difference between condition means on the posttest outcomes after adjusting for an unspecified list of pre-random assignment characteristics.

Intent-to-Treat: The study appeared to use all available data.

Outcomes

Implementation Fidelity: The study did not discuss quantitative measures of fidelity. All of the treatment participants received some services, all had a subsidized job, and nearly all received some other service (99.8%)

Baseline Equivalence: Appendix Table H.3 (Redcross et al., 2016) compared baseline equivalence for survey respondents only (i.e., the analysis sample). The table finds one significant difference in 11 tests. The significant difference for age is small - 34.9 in the treatment group and 33.2 in the control group. In addition, Appendix I examined baseline equivalence for formerly incarcerated prisoners in all sites participating in transitional jobs programs rather than for the Indianapolis sample only. Numerous tests showed only one significant difference.

Differential Attrition: The records had almost no attrition, but the survey data lost about 20% of participants by posttest. Appendix H (Redcross et al., 2016) tested for differential attrition in the survey data. First, it found that age differed significantly between responders and dropouts (Appendix Table H.2). Second, it found that age again differed in tests for baseline equivalence excluding dropouts and using the analysis sample (Appendix Table H.3). At the 30-month follow-up (Barden et al., 2018), survey respondents were less likely to be noncustodial parents (Appendix Table K.2). Again, however, there were no significant baseline differences between conditions when using the analysis sample (Appendix Table K.3).

Posttest: At posttest, Redcross et al. (2016) found that treatment participants had significantly higher employment, number of quarters employed, average quarterly employment, employment in all quarters, and total earnings, as compared to the control group, per administrative records (Table 7.5). However, these results likely included subsidized employment stemming from the program. Per survey data, the treatment group reported significantly higher employment, current employment, hourly wage, hours worked per week, and significantly lower unemployment.

At posttest, the study found that treatment participants had significantly lower likelihood of a felony conviction, as compared to the control group per administrative data, but no significant effects on 15 other measures (Table 7.6). Self-reported recidivism showed no differences between conditions.

At posttest, the study found that treatment participants had significantly higher payment of any child support, months of child support, and total amount of child support, as compared to the control group per administrative records. Survey results showed that control group participants were more likely to be current noncustodial parents and were more likely to pay informal and noncash child support, as compared to the treatment group (Table 7.9).

Finally, treatment group participants reported a higher likelihood of renting or owning their own apartment or room, to have health insurance in the past month, and to have employer-based health insurance, as compared to the control group (Table 7.10).

Long-Term: In the 30-month follow-up (Barden et al., 2018), the study found a significant positive effect on nine measures of employment and earnings (Appendix Table G.1). Compared to the controls, treatment group participants reported higher total earnings during the full period of the follow-up, higher total earnings in the last year of the follow-up period, ever being employed in the last year, and more quarters employed during the last year. There was a significant positive treatment effect on employment at the time of the survey, earning more than $10 per hour, more hours worked, and higher rates of permanent employment. Treatment group participants were also less likely to be unemployed than control group participants. In addition, participants in the treatment group were significantly less likely than those in the control group to have been arrested, convicted, or admitted to jail or prison during the 30-month follow-up period. Specifically, treatment group participants reported lower rates of incarceration in prison, lower rates of admission to prison for a parole or probation violation, and fewer days incarcerated in prison (Appendix Table G.2).

The study did not find a significant long-term effect on child support and family engagement (Appendix Table G.4). Compared to control group participants, more treatment group participants reported they could not pay rent or mortgage, had been evicted, and had a utility or phone service disconnected, but fewer program participants received food stamps in the past month (Appendix Table G.5).

Contact

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309

Email: blueprints@colorado.edu

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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.