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Sector-focused career centers evaluation: Effects on employment and earnings after one year (Gasper & Henderson 2014)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Low Causal Evidence

Citation

Gasper, J., & Henderson, K. (2014). Sector-focused career centers evaluation: Effects on employment and earnings after one year. New York: New York City Center for Economic Opportunity. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/CEO-Sector_Based_Approaches_Evaluation_Report-2014_final.pdf.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of sector-focused career centers in New York City on employment and earnings.
  • The authors estimated the effect of sector-focused career centers by comparing employment and earnings outcomes captured in New York State unemployment insurance data among participants in New York City sector-focused career centers against the outcomes for individuals served by New York City career centers without a specific sector focus who were deemed similar in terms of initial characteristics to the sector-focused group.
  • This review was conducted in collaboration with the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER). Because ESER did not report findings for studies that received a low causal evidence rating, the CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not demonstrate that the groups were similar at baseline or make statistical adjustments for differences between the two groups in the analyses. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to sector-focused career centers; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

New York City Sector-focused Career Centers

Features of the Intervention

Two entities jointly sponsored and managed the sector-focused career center effort: the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Center for Economics Opportunity. The purpose was to provide a wide range of job services and industry-specific training to both unemployed jobseekers and employed workers looking to advance their careers. The initiative launched three centers: the Transportation Career Center, the Healthcare Career Center, and the Manufacturing Career Center. The three sector-focused programs targeted different populations and provided services and trainings tailored to the specific industry. Specifically, the sector-focused programs used a strategy that helped businesses within a specific economic sector meet their needs for highly skilled workers and sought to provide higher-wage jobs with career potential to low-income people.

Features of the Study

The authors created propensity scores from data on demographic characteristics and work and earnings history to match 13,102 participants in New York City sector-focused career centers to 13,102 people served by New York City career centers without a specific sector. The authors compared employment and earnings outcomes for the matched groups using New York State unemployment insurance data.

Findings

  • This review was conducted in collaboration with the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER). Because ESER did not report findings for studies that received a low causal evidence rating, the CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors used an approach called propensity-score matching to create a similar comparison group, but did not include all variables specified in the review protocol; therefore, the study is ineligible for a moderate causal evidence rating.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not demonstrate that the groups were similar at baseline or make statistical adjustments for differences between the two groups in the analyses. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to sector-focused career centers; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

August 2016

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