Providing Public Workforce Services to Job Seekers: 30-Month Impact Findings on the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs

Providing Public Workforce Services to Job Seekers: 30-Month Impact Findings on the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs

Published: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Associated Project

Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation

Time frame: 2008-2017

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration


Kenneth Fortson

Dana Rotz

Paul Burkander

Sheena McConnell

Ronald D'Amico

Key Findings
  • Intensive services funded by the programs were effective. Providing intensive services increased earnings over the follow-up period by $3,300 to $7,100 (7 to 20 percent) per customer depending on the data source. The benefit-cost analyses demonstrate that providing intensive services is cost-effective from the perspectives of customers, taxpayers, and society as a whole.
  • Though not conclusive, the evidence suggests that training funded by the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs does not have positive impacts in the 30 months after study enrollment.The findings are not conclusive because the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs offered funding for training to only a minority of their customers and many study participants who were not offered training from the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs received funding from other sources. However, the evidence suggests that it is not likely that the impacts will increase because the difference across groups in enrollment in training disappeared by the beginning of the second year after random assignment.
  • The study findings suggest that policymakers should continue to invest in staff assistance, but look for effective training approaches. The study found that staff assistance and other intensive services are effective. However, intensive services alone are unlikely to help all customers achieve satisfactory longer-term employment outcomes and economic self-sufficiency. WIOA made important enhancements to training. Evidence from other studies suggests that these enhancements will increase the effectiveness of training.

The Adult and Dislocated Worker programs are two of the largest public workforce investment programs in the United States, so it is important to determine the effectiveness of the services they offer. To rigorously assess the impact of these programs on job seekers’ employment and earnings, the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor contracted with Mathematica Policy Research and our partners at Social Policy Research Associates, MDRC, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce to conduct a national experimental evaluation. This report provides 30-month impact findings from this evaluation of 28 randomly selected local workforce investment areas.

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