Pathways to Careers
Mathematica Policy Research is an employee-owned company that has designed and evaluated social welfare programs under contracts with government agencies and foundations since 1968. Mathematica is also conducting a comprehensive evaluation of Pathways. More information on the evaluation activities can be found on Mathematica’s website.

Mathematica Policy Research evaluates Pathways activities for the original Pathways sites in Utah, Massachusetts, Virginia and Michigan. As the Pathways to Careers initiative has expanded, other sites, including in Utah, have been added to the list of those being evaluated. Among the goals: to understand the extent to which the Pathways activities are likely to be sustainable, replicable and if employment outcomes result in savings to state and federal programs. Thus far, findings are positive. 

There are six key components of the overall Evaluation Plan being implemented by Mathematica Policy Research:

  1. A process analysis to document the nature of the intervention, how it was implemented, and stakeholder perspectives on the factors that both hindered and facilitated implementation and ongoing operations of the project;
  2. A participation analysis to assess the characteristics of Pathways participants, the reasons why non-participants offered the opportunity to participate chose not to do so, and the participant’s tenure in the project and reasons for any dropout;
  3. An outcomes analysis to assess the employment outcomes of Pathways participants both pre- and post-participation and compare their outcomes to a group of similar individuals who did not participate in the project;
  4. A cost savings analysis to assess the extent to which the employment outcomes of Pathways participants are likely to result in cost savings to state and federal programs;
  5. A systems-change analysis to document the extent to which existing procedures, funding sources, and services were modified, the reasons why modifications were considered beneficial and necessary, the extent to which changes are likely to be sustainable and replicable, and the key factors likely to affect sustainability and replication; and
  6. A comparison of the impact of the Pathways initiative to other state outcomes and potential cost benefit/other savings realized by the state as a result of the intervention.

More information on the evaluation activities, including fact sheets, case studies and archived webinars, can be found on Mathematica’s website.