Poster Paper: Developing Time Use Metrics to Inform Workforce Development Programs

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ashok Sekar, Dilge Kanoglu, Gordon Abner, Erik Funkhouser and Varun Rai, University of Texas, Austin

A substantial number of workforce development programs focus on helping economically disadvantaged individuals develop the skills and credentials necessary to have better employment opportunities. Previous studies have shown that those who are economically disadvantaged are also time poor, meaning that they have less time available for discretionary activities such as but not limited to education, professional and personal care services. In other words, for these individuals incorporating workforce development programs into their schedule may be challenging since the timing of the workforce development program may conflict with that of other essential activities, causing a significant time burden to the participant. Therefore studying time-use patterns of the economically disadvantaged population can not only help in understanding the time-burden but also assist in program design. However, to our knowledge, no research systematically examines participant time-use burden associated with participating in workforce development programs and the importance of such data for program design.

To address this need, we conduct a phone survey of eligible participants and non-participants of workforce development programs in Central Texas. The phone survey follows the standard time-use survey approach, essentially mapping activities that respondents perform over 24 hours, along with additional information such as where and with whom the activity was performed. In addition to the standard time-use survey measures, we also elicit information about the curtailability and flexibility of each activity, barriers to activity shifting and curtailment, and the subject’s perception of control over their time. By overlaying the time requirements of workforce development programs over participant and non-participant time use profiles and measuring individuals’ availability, curtailability, flexibility, and the limitations to flexibility, we expect to provide crucial insights about the program’s target population as well as provide a framework for analysis to ensure effective program design. We believe that our time-use measures will help to reduce program attrition, improve program resource efficiency, and improve participant outcomes.