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 federal, state, and local governments, private investors and local 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.

Pay for Success projects started in the UK in 2010. As of 2017, over a dozen Pay for Success projects have launched in the United States and over 60 proposed projects are in the pipeline.

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 enables JVS to scale our proven workforce development model to help 2,000 immigrants throughout Greater Boston improve their English and find higher wage jobs. Many students will be served in MA Gateway Cities, where there is a critical need or English language services coupled with workforce development. The project is being evaluated using rigorous evaluation standards, including a randomized controlled trial, which will ensure that government funds are being used effectively.

This Pay for Success project enables Massachusetts to reduce waiting lists for English language instruction, which have persisted for decades. It allows 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 enables us to unlock an enormous talent pool which Massachusetts employers need, facing a near full employment economy, in order to continue to grow and prosper.

Investor return is based on increased program participant earnings and the return to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts derives from tax revenues generated from increased earnings. A portion of the outcomes evaluation is based on a Random Control Trial methodology.

The MA Pathways project enables JVS to scale four proven program tracks to accommodate program participants’ varying language levels, personal resources, employment objectives, and educational goals.

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

Project Intermediary: Social Finance

Social Finance’s role is to broker the deal with the Commonwealth and raise the capital to finance the project. Social Finance continues to have a performance management role through the life of the project.

Program Locations & Partners

JVS Boston

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Lawrence CommunityWorks

Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND)

For more information about the MA Pathways project, please click here.