Building Credit Where It's Needed argues that it is critical for employment programs to engage their participants in credit building both before and after they start working. Mobility's brief, which is based on its interim evaluation of LISC's Family Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in Chicago, indicates that:
Although Mobility's evaluation found no significant improvement in participants' credit scores or their likelihood of having a score, there were signs of FOCs' potential. FOC participants were much more likely to pay any of their trade accounts on time during the year after enrollment than people in the comparison group. This was particularly true for people who participated in the programs for three months or more. And, while only a few participants in the study enrolled in LISC's Twin Accounts credit building program, those that did were much more likely to become scored and have a credit score above 620.
Building Credit Where It's Needed concludes that given the exorbitant expense entailed by poor credit, it is essential for workforce programs to begin incorporating financial counseling and credit building into their strategies. Credit building could be particularly valuable in programs that invest in skills training and employment retention.