Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of the WorkAdvance sectoral training program on employment and earnings outcomes. This profile focuses on the pooled evaluation findings. The authors investigated questions for each site, the profiles can be found here.
- The study used a randomized controlled trial to compare the outcomes of the participants that received the WorkAdvance program and the control group that did not receive WorkAdvance services. Using National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) data, the authors compared long-term earnings and employment outcomes between the groups.
- The study found that WorkAdvance participants were significantly more likely to earn more than $30,000 in 2018 than control participants.
- The study receives a high evidence rating. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the WorkAdvance program, and not to other factors.
Features of the Intervention
WorkAdvance was a sectoral training program that provided education and training in high-demand fields. WorkAdvance included five components: intensive prospective participant screening; preemployment and career readiness services applicable to the target sector; sectoral occupational skills training; sectoral job development and placement services; and retention and advancement support post-employment. The program was intended to serve unemployed workers and low-wage workers whose household income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The program was implemented at four sites: 1) Per Scholas in the Bronx, New York that focused on the information technology sector; 2) St. Nicks Alliance in Brooklyn, New York that focused on the environmental remediation sector; 3) Madison Strategies Group in Tulsa, Oklahoma that focused on the transportation and manufacturing sectors; and 4) Towards Employment in Northeast Ohio that focused on the health care and manufacturing sectors.
Features of the Study
This study is a randomized controlled trial of 2,564 WorkAdvance participants who enrolled in one of four participating sites between June 2011 and June 2013. Across the four sites combined, 1,293 participants were randomly assigned to the WorkAdvance program (treatment group) and 1,271 were assigned to the control group. Control group members did not have access to WorkAdvance but could independently seek out other employment or training services in the community. There was cross-site variation on participants' gender distribution, education, employment status at the time of enrollment, public benefits receipt status, and history of justice involvement. The study used 2017 and 2018 National Directory of New Hires data, providing two additional years of outcome data. The authors conducted a statistical model to compare long-term earnings and employment outcomes between the treatment and control groups.
Earnings and wages
- The study found that treatment participants earned $2392 more than control participants in 2017. This difference was statistically significant.
- The study found that treatment participants earned $2716 more than control participants in 2018. This difference was also statistically significant.
- The study found that significantly more treatment participants than control participants earned $30,000 in 2017 (36 percent vs. 29 percent) and in 2018 (40 percent vs. 34 percent).
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Because participants enrolled on a rolling basis, the two-year period (2017 and 2018) covered by the data does not represent a uniform follow-up period. Instead, the data represent a period that begins between four and six years after enrollment.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the WorkAdvance program, and not to other factors.