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Case study of East Mississippi Community College's plan to assist the Sara Lee Corporation employees due to plant closing (Unpublished doctoral dissertation) (Hanson 2012)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Hanson, B. J. (2012). Case study of East Mississippi Community College's plan to assist the Sara Lee Corporation employees due to plant closing (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Mississippi State University.

Highlights

  • The study's objective was to examine the impact of Eastern Mississippi Community College's (EMCC) workforce services training on earnings and employment.
  • The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of individuals receiving manufacturing training, non-manufacturing training, or no training. Using data from the Statewide Longitudinal Integrated Workforce Management System, the author conducted statistical models to examine the differences between groups.
  • The study found a positive statistically significant relationship between manufacturing training and employment.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not include sufficient control variables. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to EMCC's workforce services training; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Eastern Mississippi Community College's Workforce Services Training

Features of the Intervention

Rapid Response, created by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), is the state's system for providing benefits and services, such as vocational or workforce services training, for individuals that have been involved in a lay-off in which 50 or more workers have lost their job. Eastern Mississippi Community College (EMCC) is one of the providers of workforce services training. Sara Lee employees in Clay County, MS who were laid off in February 2007 were offered training at EMCC's Golden Triangle campus. Laid off employees received career counseling, basic and general education classes for adults, and training in manufacturing and/or non-manufacturing (i.e., medical/health or construction). The program also included stackable credentials and the WorkKeys® assessment. Most participants had manufacturing jobs at the food-processing plant prior to being laid off.

Features of the Study

The author used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of individuals receiving manufacturing training, non-manufacturing training, or no training. The treatment groups received the manufacturing or non-manufacturing training at East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) beginning in March 2007, while the comparison group did not. Study participants included 602 individuals for whom demographic information was available (84 received manufacturing training, 122 received non-manufacturing training, and 396 received no training). Of the 602 study participants, 89 percent were Black, 31 percent were female, the average age was 44, and the average salary while employed at Sara Lee was $28,768. Data for the study came from the Statewide Longitudinal Integrated Workforce Management System, which was comprised of data submitted by EMCC and the MS Unemployment Compensation System. Statistical models were used to estimate the impact of workforce services training on earnings and employment.

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • The study did not find a statistically significant relationship between manufacturing or non-manufacturing training and earnings.

Employment

  • The study found that participation in manufacturing training was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of gaining employment compared to those who did not participate in any training (3.2 times more likely).
  • However, the study did not find a statistically significant relationship between non-manufacturing training and employment.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Although some baseline demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, individual income while at Sara Lee) were included in the analytic models, the author did not control for a preintervention measure of education which is required by the review protocol. The preexisting differences between the groups on this variable—and not the EMCC workforce services training —could explain the observed differences in outcomes. Also, employees laid off from Sara Lee self-selected to take classes offered by EMCC, and two-thirds of employees did not take any courses. It is possible that unknown factors, not controlled for, affected the decision whether or not to take classes and may have impacted the findings. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not include sufficient control variables. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Eastern Mississippi Community College's workforce services training; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

January 2021

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