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The Social and Economic Value of Human Services

May 1, 2011

This paper examines publicly-funded human services and highlights a body of evidence that speaks to both the social and economic value for society when investments are made into human services. The story that emerges points to the advantages of investments in human services in three distinct ways: Human services provide a lifeline for many of the state's most disadvantaged residents -- seniors, people with disabilities, people who are poor, those experiencing homelessness, children -- thereby honoring concepts of human rights, equality, and the inherent dignity and worth of each and every individual. There are a variety of documented positive impacts of a variety of human services programs including enhanced quality of life and stronger and more economically competitive individuals, families, and communities. Such programs are wise investments, staving off the much larger immediate and/or future costs that would be incurred if the social problems they address were left unchecked.

Put Illinois To Work Evaluation: An Early Look

October 19, 2010

Though the recession is technically over, the large gap between available jobs and people in need of work necessitates a further discussion about the role subsidized employment programs play in supporting disadvantaged workers and struggling businesses through the recovery. While rigorously assessing the impact of Illinois' subsidized job program, Put Illinois to Work, on individuals, businesses, and communities will take many months, this early look can be an important contribution to pending federal and state discussions about whether and how to continue funding and running subsidized jobs programs as a response to the economic crisis.The Social IMPACT Research Center was commissioned to document and evaluate PITW's program model, outcomes, and impacts. This early report gives a brief overview of the program, explores an initial round of outcome data, and presents feedback from PITW workers and employers. Subsequent reports will present a fuller picture of outcomes, explore the details of and lessons learned from PITW's development and implementation, and assess in much greater detail the impact of the program on the lives of the workers and on the stability and viability of Illinois businesses.