Current & Recent Projects

Work Opportunities for Rewarding Careers (WORC)

The Center developed WORC, an evidence-informed career readiness program to promote employment and economic well-being for marginalized individuals.  We have provided training and technical assistance to help staff implement WORC at numerous agencies nationally that serve individuals with mental health conditions. We are also evaluating the impact on staff capacity and individual vocational, education and well-being outcomes.

Young Adult Work Opportunities for Rewarding Careers (YA WORC)

The Center has adapted WORC specifically for young adults with serious persistent mental health conditions, in foster care or alumni of care and with juvenile justice involvement.

  • YA WORC for Young Adults with Serious Persistent Mental Health Conditions:  Currently the Workplace Center has partnered with the NYS Office of Mental Health to build the capacity of New York New York III Supportive Housing staff to support the career preparation of their younger residents. The Center has also helped the staff of NYC Adolescent Skills Centers of NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to offer career development and employment support to young adults through YA WORC, and evaluated its impact. 
  • YA WORC for Youth in Foster Care: With support from the Division of Family Permanency Services, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, the Workplace Center is helping foster care agencies in the City to implement YA WORC and evaluate its impact.  Funding from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services is supporting an effort to bring career readiness preparation through YA WORC to youth in care statewide by implementing a train-the-trainer model.
  • YA WORC for Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement: The Center is helping the NYC Division of Youth and Family Justice of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services to set in place a comprehensive effort to bringing career readiness preparation into the juvenile justice system that includes building the capacity of non-secure placement providers and aftercare providers to offer YA WORC services to youth in their care.
  • Role of Birth/Foster Parents and Determination of Fidelity Standards for YA WORC:  The Center is about to launch a new project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that focuses on developing strategies to effectively include birth/foster parents in the career development of their children with foster care or juvenile justice involvement, and to develop and test fidelity standards for YA WORC approach.


Works Wonders

The Center joins a team of providers and other researchers in Rhode Island as part of an ACF/HSS funded project to develop services that build relational competencies, self-efficacy and empowerment among youth transitioning out of foster care to the adult world of work and evaluate the impact of the services on educational and vocational outcomes.

Strategies to Promote the Transition to Work for Youth from Foster Care Los Angeles World of Work Curriculum

The Workplace Center joins a collaborative of five foster care agencies in LA County to assess the effectiveness of a curriculum developed to prepare young adults transitioning from foster care for the world of work and test out how the modality of delivery affects the curriculum’s impact.

Career Development and Employment Support for Youth Served by the Child Welfare System

This project partnered with three child welfare systems to promote the uptake of performance standards informed by the most current evidence base related to career development for youth in foster care and evaluated the effectiveness of strategies to build the capacity within the foster care workforce to support youth in career development and employment.

Allied Healthcare Training Initiative

This project evaluated a sector based employment initiative that connects out of school/out of work young adults in the South Bronx to jobs in the health care sector.  Key to the evaluation was to understand specific types of supports that were most needed and useful in assisting young adults to stay connected to education and work.

Peer-led Healthy Lifestyle Program in Supportive Housing

The Center is helping to evaluate how to integrate peers on staff in a NIMH funded study that is testing the effectiveness of a peer-led healthy lifestyle intervention in supportive housing agencies serving diverse clients with serious mental illness who are overweight or obese.

Peer Providers in Social Service Agencies: Creating Work Settings for Mutual Support

Several Center projects have been implemented that set in place and evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies that promote the employment of peer providers on treatment teams in mental health agencies.  Peers are people with mental health conditions who are without professional credentials but have experience with the mental health system. 

Attacking Poverty through Social Work Practice

The purpose of this project was to expand the capacity of the social work profession to include economic well-being as an essential part of a holistic response to issues caused by poverty.  In partnership with the Council on Social Work Education, the Center drafted a resource guide to help educational programs integrate this approach into generalist practice.

Workplace Supports for Parents Who are Caregivers to Children with Asthma

This study explored the impact and feasibility of formal workplace support to help manage the conflicting demands that arise when working parents simultaneously try to maintain employment and care for their children with asthma.  Unattended, these conflicts can undermine parents’ well-being and the effectiveness of the care they provide to their children.

Promoting Diversity Among Business Professionals

Through program development and evaluation, the Center assisted efforts to create greater diversity among business and civic professionals and expand the influence of these professionals through inclusion into the highest levels of management and civic leadership opportunities.