Panel: Innovations and Evidence in Labour Market Policy in the UK and US
(Employment and Training)

Monday, June 13, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Clement House, 2nd Floor, Room 04 (London School of Economics)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Discussants:  Carrie Deacon, Innovation Lab Programme Manager, Nesta and Stephen Morris, Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University and Senior Researcher, NatCen
Panel Chairs:  Richard Dorsett, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Panel Organizers:  James Riccio, MDRC

Transitioning out of Poverty: Harnessing Growth Sectors in the UK
Anne Green, Professor, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, Paul Sissons, Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University, UK and Neil Lee, Assistant Professor of Economic Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, LSE

Applying Lessons from Behavioural Psychology to Workforce Programs for Low-Income Adults
James Riccio, MDRC and Michael Wiseman, Research Professor, The George Washington University

As the economies and labour markets of the UK, the US, and other advanced industrials nations continue to transform, preparing low-income adults to find their place in those labour markets, develop the right skills to advance, navigate their way toward greater economic security, and rely less on public transfer benefits is an increasingly complex challenge. This session will explore innovations and evidence-building relevant to both countries as they reform their workforce polices to try to meet that challenge. Paper #1 will set the foundation for the session by describing new data on the likely shape of the UK labour market of the coming decade. It will identify the industrial sectors, and the occupations within them, that are growing or contracting. It will also explore ways of harnessing the opportunities presented by growth sectors to help low-income adults make a transition out of poverty. This will require preparing those adults to qualify for and get access to the kinds of jobs that those sectors will provide. These patterns thus hold important relevance for workforce reforms that emphasize career pathways and demand-driven training. Paper #2 will review increasing efforts by the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to use British and international evidence on ‘what works’ to improve labour market outcomes for disadvantaged adults. DWP plays a large and critical role in applying but also in promoting the production of evidence on active labour market policies. The scope and quality of that evidence is especially important because given the broad scope of DWP’s responsibility to support and engage families involved in Britain social welfare system, the policies based on that research can affect a vast number of adults. Paper #3 will outline an innovative workforce programme that includes an employment coaching model informed by a growing body of research in behavioural psychology and neuroscience on executive functioning skills. This programme is one of a number of examples in the US that are attempting to build stronger employment coaching strategies in an effort to achieve much larger effects on workforce outcomes and in-work progression than many past welfare-to-work and employment interventions have been able to achieve. The three-year programme also incorporates an innovative financial incentives component, the use of real-time labour market information, and other features. It will be evaluated in a three-city randomised control trial.
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