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Tuning in to local labor markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study. [Per Scholas] (Maguire et al. 2010)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Low Causal Evidence

Citation

Maguire, S., Freely, J., Clymer, C., Conway, M., & Schwartz, D. (2010). Tuning in to local labor markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures. [Per Scholas]

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Per Scholas sectoral employment program on participants’ earnings and employment.
  • The study was a randomized controlled trial and used survey data to estimate the effect of Per Scholas by comparing average outcomes among applicants offered access to the program with average outcomes of those excluded from the program, after adjusting for differences between the groups.
  • 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, this CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the study was a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, and the authors did not demonstrate that the groups that remained in the study were similar before the intervention began. This means we would not be confident that the estimated effects would be attributable to Per Scholas; other factors are likely to have contributed. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Intervention Examined

Per Scholas

Features of the Intervention

Per Scholas participants entered a 15-week, 500-hour-long computer technician training program. Training consisted of instruction and practice related to assembly, configuration, installation, upgrade, and repair of personal computers, printers, and copiers, as well as life skills training. Most participants were males ages 25–54 with a high school diploma but no further education.

Features of the Study

This study was a randomized controlled experiment conducted in New York City with 337 eligible applicants for the Per Scholas sectoral employment program. The authors randomly assigned applicants to either a treatment group that could participate in the program or to a control group that could not participate in the program, but could access services at other providers. The authors estimated the impact of the program by comparing average outcomes among those offered access to the program against the average outcomes of those excluded, after adjusting for differences between the groups.

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, this CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Although the study was a randomized controlled trial by design, the high attrition made it ineligible to receive a high causal evidence rating; thus, it was treated as a nonexperimental design for this review. The authors did not demonstrate that the groups were similar before the program began or account for preexisting differences between the groups being compared in the analysis (for example, earnings a year or more before the study began), so the study could not receive a moderate causal evidence rating either.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the study was a randomized controlled trial with high attrition and the authors did not demonstrate that the groups that remained in the study were similar before the intervention began. This means we would not be confident that the estimated effects would be attributable to Per Scholas; other factors are likely to have contributed. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Reviewed by CLEAR

January 2017

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