Educators from the Pathways to Economic Advancement program

Innovation at JVS: Pay for Success

Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement

What is Pay for Success?

Pay for Success is a partnership between government, private investors, and service providers that addresses critical social issues using an innovative funding model. Through Pay for Success (also known as a Social Impact Bond), private investors provide upfront capital to a high-performing social provider to deliver services, and the government repays the capital investment with interest to the investor if the program outcomes are achieved. If the program is not successful, however, the investors could lose their capital investment. An intermediary works with the government and service provider to mobilize capital for the project, and an independent evaluator determines whether the agreed-upon outcomes have been achieved.

Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Pay for Success Project

The Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement (MA Pathways) is the first Pay for Success project in the world to focus exclusively on workforce development. This $15 million project enabled JVS to scale our proven workforce development model to help almost 2,000 immigrants throughout Greater Boston improve their English and find higher wage jobs. Many students were served in MA Gateway Cities, where there is a critical need for English language services coupled with workforce development. Investor return was based on increased program participant earnings and the return to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts derived from tax revenues generated from increased earnings.

The project is being evaluated using rigorous evaluation standards, including a randomized controlled trial, which ensures that government funds are being used effectively. An interim evaluation, documenting the project’s success, can be found here.

This Pay for Success project enabled Massachusetts to reduce waiting lists for English language instruction, which have persisted for decades. It allowed JVS to expand a unique adult education model that blends English language and employment services, which is what thousands of adult education students want and need. And, it enabled the Commonwealth to unlock an enormous talent pool which Massachusetts employers desperately needed when they were facing a near full employment economy.

The MA Pathways project enabled JVS to scale four proven program tracks to accommodate program participants’ varying language levels, personal resources, employment objectives, and educational goals. For more information about the MA Pathways project, and the project’s intermediary Social Finance, Inc. please click here.

Beyond Pay for Success

Recognizing the success of centering workforce outcomes in adult education and paying for outcomes, in FY19, as part of the state budget process, the Commonwealth continued this investment in a new way of delivering adult education by awarding JVS a performance-based contract, allowing JVS to continue to operate EFA in multiple locations.

Program tracks:

  • Rapid Employment – provides vocational English and job training services to adults, many of whom are refugees looking to secure a first job immediately
  • English for Advancement –  provides English language instruction and job placement for students seeking re-employment or job advancement
  • Skills Training – provides specific vocational training, certification and job placement in the healthcare or hospitality sector
  • Bridges to College – provides remedial math, science, and English Language Arts to support individuals seeking to transition into higher education

Program Locations & Current Project Partners:

JVS Boston

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Lawrence Community Works

Latino Support Network

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