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Tuning in to local labor markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment impact study (Maguire et al. 2010)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Low Causal Evidence

Absence of conflict of interest.

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. [JVS-Boston]

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS)-Boston sectoral employment program on earnings and employment. The authors investigated similar research questions with two other programs, the profiles of which are available through the study search.
  • The study was based on a randomized controlled trial, with the authors using survey data to estimate the effect of offering eligible JVS-Boston applicants the program by comparing average outcomes among those offered access to the program with the average outcomes of those not offered access to 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, the CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because it was based on a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, and the authors did not demonstrate that the groups were similar at or account for differences between the two groups in the analyses. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JVS-Boston sectoral employment program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

JVS-Boston Sectoral Employment

Features of the Intervention

JVS-Boston provided industry-specific training programs in medical billing and accounting. Training took place over 20 to 22 weeks, for 20 to 25 hours per week, and included a 4- to 6-week internship. JVS-Boston also provided job readiness training, case management, and employment supports, such as assistance finding child care and transportation.

Features of the Study

This study was based on a randomized controlled trial. The authors’ based their analyses on 450 eligible applicants for JVS-Boston’s sectoral employment program who were randomly assigned to a treatment group that could participate in the program or to a control group that could not participate but could access services at other providers. Analyses were based on 313 people who provided outcomes data. The sample of 328 that responded to the follow-up survey was primarily female (88 percent) and African American (53 percent), with 65 percent ages 25 to 54. 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 not offered access, after adjusting for chance differences in background characteristics between the groups.

Findings

  • This review was conducted in collaboration with 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

Although the study was a randomized controlled trial by design, high attrition made it ineligible to receive a high causal evidence rating; thus, this review treated it as a nonexperimental design. The authors did not demonstrate that the sample groups were similar before the intervention began, so the study could not receive a moderate causal evidence rating either. The authors did not account for existing differences between the groups before intervention participation, which is important in nonexperimental designs. These existing differences between the groups—and not the intervention—could explain any observed differences in outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because it was based on a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, and the authors did not demonstrate baseline equivalence or include all required control variables in the analyses. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JVS-Boston sectoral employment program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Additional Sources

Maguire, S., Freely, J., Clymer, C., & Conway, M. (2009). Job training that works: Findings from the sectoral employment impact study. (P/PV In Brief, Issue No. 7). Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.

Reviewed by CLEAR

February 2020