For Immediate Release - August 13, 2014

Massachusetts Announces Apparent Successful Bidders for ‘Pay for Success’ Contracts to Expand Adult Basic Education Services

Commonwealth First in the Nation to Pursue PFS Contracts for ABE

BOSTON – The Patrick Administration today announced the apparent successful bidders for a Pay for Success (PFS) initiative that will bring Adult Basic Education programs to more adults across the Commonwealth with the goal of helping individuals make successful transitions to employment, higher wage jobs and higher education. 

“By investing in innovative ideas and strategies to tackle challenging, long-term social issues, the Commonwealth is providing critical resources Massachusetts residents need to achieve future success,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “The results-oriented nature of this new adult basic education initiative will help improve the lives of future generations for years to come.”

Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to pursue PFS contracts for Adult Basic Education (ABE).  The Adult Basic Education Pay for Success Initiative will invest approximately $15 million to serve a portion of the more than 16,000 adults on the waitlist for ABE and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. The PFS contracts will be designed with the goal of improving participants’ employment outcomes and increasing postsecondary degree or certificate attainment over a six-year period.

“Results-oriented initiatives like Adult Basic Education Pay for Success will provide a blueprint for future investments both here in the Commonwealth and around the country”, said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “Expanding access to education and job training opportunities will strengthen Massachusetts to compete in the global workforce.”

The Executive Office for Administration and Finance in partnership with the Executive Office of Education selected Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) as the apparent successful bidder to provide adult basic education programming for this project. JVS is one of the largest and most proven providers of adult education and workforce development services in the Greater Boston area. The Commonwealth also selected Social Finance, a Boston-based intermediary, to provide project management and fundraising support for the project. Social Finance will subcontract with Jobs for the Future (JFF), a Massachusetts-based non-profit with extensive experience supporting local, state, and national education and workforce organizations.

PFS contracts are part of a commitment from the Patrick Administration to improve the way government does business. By using PFS contracts to expand access to Adult Basic Education programs, the Commonwealth is taking innovative steps to increase opportunities for adults to gain the skills they need to gain employment and contribute to a growing Massachusetts economy.

If this PFS project succeeds in transitioning participants to employment, higher paying jobs, and higher education, the Commonwealth will achieve increased tax revenue and savings from reduced reliance on safety net services and reduced incarceration costs. 

“The Adult Basic Education PFS Initiative is another way the Patrick Administration is using new approaches to solve social problems by paying for demonstrated results, not just the promise of results,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor. “This approach will expand education services and improve the performance of existing government programs while stretching taxpayer dollars as far as possible.”

In January, the Patrick Administration launched the nation’s largest financial investment in a PFS initiative with the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice PFS initiative. This initiative is designed to improve outcomes for hundreds of at-risk young men in the probation system or leaving the juvenile justice system. The program will allow Roca, a nonprofit service provider, to serve 929 young men in Boston, Cambridge, Chicopee, Everett, Holyoke, Ludlow, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Revere, Somerville, Springfield, West Springfield, Westfield and Winthrop by providing intensive outreach, life skills and employment training that will reduce recidivism and help these young men become assets and resources in their community.

“With the selection of partners for a third pay for success project, Massachusetts is once again showing that it is at the forefront of efforts to find more effective ways to work with innovative service providers to tackle challenging social problems,” said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy and director of the Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab).

Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals from diverse communities find jobs and build careers. Founded in 1938, JVS is one of the oldest and largest providers of adult education and workforce development services in the Greater Boston area, and served nearly 17,000 individuals last year. JVS is the apparent successful bidder to be the service provider for the project.

Social Finance is a Boston-based non-profit organization that works to design public-private partnerships that tackle complex social problems. Social Finance has a strong history of advising governments and non-profit entities on the pay for success model and has successfully implemented a pay for success project in New York State.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a non-profit with extensive expertise in designing and driving the adoption of innovative, scalable approaches and models that catalyze improved education and workforce outcomes. JFF has worked with hundreds of local, state, and national education and workforce organizations to research, design, and expand evidence-based pathway models that support educational and career advancement for low-income individuals. JFF will subcontract for Social Finance to assist in project management.

Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab) provides pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments implementing PFS contracts using Social Impact Bonds. The SIB Lab assisted Massachusetts in developing the procurement and designing the data analysis strategy for this project.