By MDRC, May 2020
Subsidized employment programs use public funds to create or support jobs for people who can’t find employment in the regular labor market. These jobs are often called “transitional” because they are temporary until program participants can find permanent unsubsidized work. The largest subsidized employment programs in the United States have operated during periods of economic distress, most recently during the Great Recession in 2009-2010. These programs help to ensure that people can continue to earn wages for productive work while also helping to stimulate the economy. Many have argued that subsidized employment programs should be a major component of economic stimulus in the coming months if the unemployment rate remains high.
MDRC has been studying subsidized employment programs since its founding over 45 years ago. This series profiles a few of the innovative programs that have participated in our studies using a question-and-answer format.
RecycleForce, a social enterprise based in Indianapolis, participated in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration, which provided grants to seven agencies to operate subsidized employment programs. RecycleForce targeted individuals returning to the community from prison. We interviewed Gregg Keesling, President of RecycleForce.