Learning, Evaluation, and TANF: Workforce Program Redesign Technical Assistance for Denver County

2016-2017
Prepared for
Denver Office of Economic Development

In June 2017, the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) launched a collaborative partnership with Denver Public Schools Family and Community Engagement to provide comprehensive career and educational support services to out-of-school youth. Supported with funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the partnership provides Denver youth, parents, and families with wraparound services designed to support them in meeting their employment, education, and personal aspirations.   

Mathematica examined the services offered through this new partnership and assessed the extent to which they incorporate the key features of evidence-informed interventions for advancing the self-sufficiency and well-being of youth. Mathematica’s assessment was grounded in “A Framework for Advancing the Well-Being and Self-Sufficiency of At-Risk Youth.” In conducting the assessment of out-of-school youth services, Mathematica researchers developed a rubric from this framework, used the rubric to independently rate each component, and averaged scores to calculate a final rating.

A December 2017 brief found that:

  • Denver's WIOA-funded services for out-of-school youth mostly or fully incorporate key features of evidence-informed interventions.
  • Services are more comprehensive than simply placing out-of-school youth into jobs.
  • Establishing trusting relationships lays a foundation for successful engagement.