Early Gains: Pandemic Curbs Earnings Impacts of JVS Boston’s English for Advancement

Anne Roder and Mark Elliott
May 2023

JVS Boston’s English for Advancement (EfA) provides adult English-language learners with employment-focused language instruction, career coaching, and job placement assistance to help them obtain employment and increase their earnings. EfA was part of the nation’s first Pay for Success project focused exclusively on workforce development. Mobility’s randomized controlled trial evaluation of EfA found that:

  • EfA increased participants’ earnings by 6.7% over the control group’s earnings in the second year after program entry. 
  • The program increased earnings by 13.1% for the first study cohort whose observation period preceded the COVID-19 pandemic but had no detectable impact on earnings for the second cohort whose observation period overlapped with the pandemic. Many EfA participants were placed in leisure and hospitality industry jobs that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • EfA was particularly beneficial to those who faced challenges identifying and accessing employment opportunities, including those who were unemployed at program entry, those with low-intermediate English skills, and parents with children under age 18 in the household.

The study’s findings support investment in workforce development programs that integrate employment-focused English-language instruction with career coaching and individualized job placement assistance to increase English-language learners’ employment and earnings.

To read the full report, click here.