Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs: 15-Month Impacts from a Nationally Representative Randomized Control Trial

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 10:15 AM
Orchid A (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dana Rotz, Sheena McConnell, Peter Schochet, Kenneth Fortson and Paul Burkander, Mathematica Policy Research
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration funded the first experimental evaluation of the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs: the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation. The central goal of this evaluation is to produce rigorous, nationally representative estimates of the effectiveness of the programs by conducting an experimental evaluation in randomly selected sites. Random selection of sites ensures that findings are applicable to programs nationwide, rather than an unrepresentative set of volunteer sites. Random assignment of eligible program applicants ensures that impact estimates are unbiased. 

The experimental evaluation was implemented in 28 randomly selected local areas (covering over 200 American Job Centers) across the United States between 2011 and 2013. More than 35,000 job seekers who were eligible for services were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: (1) the core group that could receive only core services, which are primarily informational and self-serve services; (2) the core-and-intensive group that could also receive intensive services (primarily one-on-one staff assistance and job counseling), but not training; and (3) the full-WIA group that could receive all services for which customers would be eligible in the absence of the study, including intensive services and training. We examine individuals’ service-receipt, training participation, employment, and earnings outcomes via information from administrative records and follow-up telephone surveys conducted 15 and 30 months after a job seeker enrolled in the study.

This paper discusses the first publically available information from this study on the 15-month impacts of the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs. We begin with a broad overview of the differences in services received by study groups. We then focus on how the offer of staff assistance and WIA-funded training affects participation in training programs. We also explore the impact of the offer of staff assistance and training on employment and earnings. We finally investigate the variation in impacts for adult and dislocated workers, as well as that across sites with differing strategies and successes in implementing the WIA programs studied.