Research-To-Practice Brief

Should Human Services Programs Offer Financial Incentives? Lessons Learned from Two Employment Coaching Programs

Some employment coaching programs and other human services programs offer financial incentives to reward desired behaviors such as engaging in specific activities or achieving certain goals. Employment coaching involves trained staff working collaboratively with participants to help them set individualized goals, directly or indirectly related to employment, and providing motivation, support, and feedback as participants work toward those goals. By addressing financial needs, the incentives can reduce some of the stress related to having low income and thus help participants focus on reaching their goals. This Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation brief highlights lessons learned from studying the experience of two employment coaching programs serving adults with low incomes that offered financial incentives: (1) LIFT and (2) MyGoals for Employment Success.

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