Transitional Jobs

Program basics

  • Typically take the form of short-term subsidized employment opportunities hosted by public, private, or nonprofit employers, in some cases accompanied by other support services
  • Aim to increase employment and earnings for participants, preparing individuals for longer-term labor market success and reducing recidivism and poverty

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population

Formerly incarcerated individuals

Program cost


Implementation locations

Dates active

Not applicable

Outcomes and impact

  • Boosts employment and earnings during the transitional job period
  • Effects often dissipate, particularly for formerly incarcerated individuals and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients
  • Some evidence of reduced recidivism

Keys to successful implementation

  • Evaluate direct-hire models (employers commit to hiring after subsidy period ends) and intermediary models (a shorter employment period meant to prove an opportunity to those with limited skills or experience) based on the populations you intend to serve and local economic conditions.
  • If the direct-hire model fits the program’s goals, partner with employers who are willing to create new positions for transitional employees and with the intent to convert transitional roles into full time ones.
  • Give preference to program applicants who have experienced particularly long (6+ months) periods of unemployment.
  • Build job readiness training and expectations into the program – especially on punctuality and attendance, which is the most common reason employers choose not to retain employees after the transition period.
  • Prioritize engaging with for-profit companies rather than non-profits or public agencies, given their more extensive resources and capacity to keep workers on after subsidies end.

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