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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. [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 authors investigated similar research questions with two other programs, the profiles of which are available through the study search.
  • The study was a randomized controlled trial, with the authors using 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 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, 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 the Per Scholas sectoral employment program; other factors are likely to have contributed. The study did not, however, 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.

Features of the Study

This study was a randomized controlled trial conducted in New York City with 443 eligible applicants for the Per Scholas sectoral employment program. Eligible applicants had a high school diploma or GED and were interviewed about career goals and challenges to participation. 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. Analyses were based on 337 people who provided outcomes data. The sample of 328 that responded to the follow-up survey was primarily male (76 percent), roughly 50 percent African American, and 41 percent Latino, with an average of 6.9 months of employment and $10,833 in earnings in the year before baseline. 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 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, this 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 groups were similar before the program 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 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 the Per Scholas sectoral employment program; other factors are likely to have contributed. The study did not, however, find statistically significant effects.

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