In 1974, the Ford Foundation and six federal agencies funded the Supported Work Program in 15 locations across the United States. The program aimed to help ex-addicts, ex-offenders, school dropouts, and long-term welfare recipients become self-sufficient by giving them 12 to 18 months of highly structured, closely supervised paid work experience. Its developers used the best ideas and evidence available to design the program, and the best techniques to evaluate it.

Yet when the results came...

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