Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE): Wisconsin PROMISE Process Analysis Report
- The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) in Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development was the lead agency for the statewide WI PROMISE program and contracted with many entities to implement it. The program model emphasized (1) early engagement of youth in DVR services; (2) intensive case counseling to facilitate employment; (3) engagement of the whole family in counseling and services, including work incentives benefits counseling; and (4) trainings for youth on soft skills, self-advocacy, health literacy, and financial literacy, as well as a training for parents designed to increase their expectations for their children’s employment prospects.
- Three years into program operations, 86 percent of treatment group youth had participated to some extent in WI PROMISE. At that time, WI PROMISE counselors had developed Individual Plans for Employment for 94 percent of program participants, referred three-quarters to DVR services, and facilitated work experiences for 39 percent. They had also developed resource teams consisting of representatives from many of the systems and networks with which the youth and family interacted, including school, church, friends, and case workers from other programs for half of participating youth. Take-up rates among participating youth for other WI PROMISE services ranged from 28 percent for soft skills training to 36 percent for benefits counseling.
- Communication and effective working relationships among administrators of WI PROMISE partners were strong before the program was implemented and increased even more as the program rolled out. WI PROMISE counselors quickly assumed their roles in the program, including the establishment of relationships with the partner organizations and maintained those relationships throughout implementation. Other program staff communicated with the staff of partner organizations less frequently.
- Several factors muted the distinction between the treatment and the counterfactual, potentially weakening the program’s capacity to generate impacts. By design, the intensive, family-centered case counseling and individualized employment services that WI PROMISE counselors were responsible for providing constituted the primary distinction between the services available to the treatment group versus the control group. However, WI PROMISE counselors found it challenging to deliver those services because (1) they were serving the entire family unit and thus more people per case and (2) family crises around basic needs often delayed connections to employment and other program services. Additionally, several changes that occurred in response to or following implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act increased the opportunities for control group youth to receive services similar to those available to treatment group youth.
Evaluation of the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income PROMISE Grants
Social Security Administration
Mary Anne Anderson