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 evaluation at the Madison Strategies Group site. The authors investigated questions for other sites, 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 at the Madison Strategies Group site 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 2017 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 at the Madison Strategies Group site, 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. Madison Strategies Group, a nonprofit in Tulsa, Oklahoma, implemented the program from 2011 to 2013 and focused on the transportation and manufacturing sectors. 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.
Features of the Study
The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of the WorkAdvance program. At the Madison Strategies Group site, 353 participants were randomly assigned to the WorkAdvance program (treatment group) and 344 participants 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. The Madison Strategies Group sample was primarily male (84 percent) and had an average age of 35 years. Among the participants, 58 percent had attended college, 27 percent were currently employed, and 35 percent were receiving food stamps/SNAP. 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 no significant differences between the treatment and control participants in total earnings in 2017 or 2018.
- However, the study found that significantly more treatment participants than control participants earned $30,000 in 2017 (33 percent vs. 21 percent). No significant differences were found in the likelihood of earning $30,000 or more in 2018.
- The study found no significant differences between the treatment and control participants in the likelihood of ever having worked in 2017 or 2018.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Because participants enrolled on a rolling basis, the two-year period (2017 and 2018) covered by the data begins between four and six years after enrollment. Also, the study reports a less stringent statistical significance level, considering p-values of less than 0.10 to be significant, though it is standard practice to consider statistical significance if the p-value is less than 0.05. Only results that demonstrate a p-value of less than 0.05 are considered statistically significant in this profile.
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 at the Madison Strategies Group site, and not to other factors.