The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals is the premier association for workforce professionals across this country. This article appeared in their January 2017 newsletter.
By Kenneth Fortson
January 2017 • Volume 30 • No. 1
NAWDP Advantage • nawdp.org
A rigorous national evaluation of services provided through the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs found that intensive services- staff assistance with finding and keeping a job – not only helped people find a job, but also led to higher earnings.
The Adult and Dislocated Worker programs are two of the largest programs serving job seekers in the United States, reaching 8 million people at a combined annual cost of $2 billion, but their effects on employment and earnings had not been rigorously tested. To assess the effectiveness of these programs, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) sponsored the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation. Mathematica Policy Research and its partners at Social Policy Research Associates, MDRC, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce are conducting the evaluation.
The evaluation used a randomized controlled trial to rigorously estimate the effects of intensive services and training provided by the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. It estimated the effectiveness of intensive services and training relative to basic services available in the public workforce system. The evaluation drew study participants from more than 200 American Job Centers in 28 randomly selected local workforce investment areas across the United States. Because the local areas were selected randomly, the evaluation findings can be generalized to all local areas nationwide. Leadership and staff of the 28 randomly selected local areas worked closely with the .national evaluation team t? 1mplement the study. Although the evaluation was implemented under WIA, its findings are still relevant under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) passed in 2014. WIOA made important changes to the workforce system, but job seekers continue to receive similar services through the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs.
ETA released the first impact report for the evaluation, which examined the effects of training and intensive services – primarily staff assistance – on earnings after 15 months. A second impact report will examine the effects on employment and earnings after 30 months. Key findings from the first impact report include:
Those interested in reading the full report, “Providing Public Workforce Services to Job Seekers: 15-Month Impact Findings on the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs,” can download it at https://wdr.doleta.gov/ research/.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series. The second part will appear in the February issue of the NAWDP Advantage.
Kenneth Fortson is an associate director of Human Services research at Mathematica Policy Research, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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