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Breaking Barriers San Diego

Last registered on December 27, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Breaking Barriers San Diego
Initial registration date
September 09, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 10, 2019, 9:03 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 27, 2021, 12:04 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
This analysis, part of a broader study called Building Evidence on Employment Strategies (BEES), is an extension of the Breaking Barriers San Diego evaluation. Breaking Barriers is a San Diego-based program that provided employment services to low-income individuals with a range of disabilities and conditions, using the Individual Placement and Support approach. The program operated in four locations in San Diego county from January 2016 through June 2018. MDRC used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program. Between January 2016 and early November 2017, individuals eligible for and interested in receiving Breaking Barriers services were assigned at random to a treatment group, which was offered Breaking Barriers services, or to a control group, which was referred to other publicly available supports. A total of 1,061 individuals enrolled in the study. The initial analysis used data collected through a 15-month follow-up survey administered to the study sample. The main outcomes to be measured as part of the study extension include number of quarters employed and total earnings in the two years following random assignment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Michalopoulos, Charles and Megan Millenky. 2021. "Breaking Barriers San Diego." AEA RCT Registry. December 27.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcome variables include the number of quarters employment and total earnings in the two years following random assignment. Secondary outcome variables include quarterly employment rates, yearly employment rates, quarterly earnings, and yearly earnings over the two years following random assignment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Measures will be constructed using administrative records from the National Directory of New Hires.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study includes one treatment group and one control group. The treatment group was offered services through Breaking Barriers, including career counseling, job search assistance, personalized benefits counseling, supportive services, and follow-along services. The control group was not offered Breaking Barriers services, though members had access to other publicly available supports.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by a web-based MDRC system, which was accessed electronically by Breaking Barriers program staff.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,061 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,061 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 528 individuals in the treatment group, and 533 individuals in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
An analysis of minimum detectable effects found that the study will be able to detect an impact of approximately 6 to 7 percentage points on employment, assuming a 16 to 25 percent employment rate for the control group (based on MDRC’s FAST study), a two-tailed test with 80 percent power, covariates that accounted for zero percent of the variation, and a significance level of 10 percent.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
June 30, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
June 30, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
1061 individuals randomly assigned to a treatment group and a control group
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1061 individuals
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Treatment group: 528 individuals Control group: 533 individuals
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials

Two-year impacts on employment and earnings.
Freedman, Lily, and Megan Millenky 2022. Two-Year Findings from the Evaluation of Breaking Barriers: An Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Program. OPRE Report 2022-35. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.