Heinrich, C., Mueser, P., & Troske, K. (2008). Workforce Investment Act non-experimental net impact evaluation. Columbia, MD: IMPAQ International. [Dislocated worker sample]
- The study’s objective was to examine the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Dislocated Worker Program’s impact on workers’ employment and earnings in 12 states.
- The authors analyzed administrative data to compare the employment and earnings outcomes of people receiving different tiers of WIA Dislocated Worker Program services with two different matched comparison groups for 16 quarters after program entry.
- The study found that WIA Dislocated Worker Program services had positive impacts on earnings and employment in most quarters examined. However, those WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants who received core and/or intensive services had significantly better earnings and employment outcomes in the first seven quarters than those who also received training.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the WIA Dislocated Worker Program services, but other factors might also have contributed.
- The report also examined the impacts of WIA Adult Program services; that profile is available here.
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Dislocated Worker Program
Features of the Intervention
The WIA Dislocated Worker Program was authorized by Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and was superseded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), effective in July 2015. The Dislocated Worker Program services, which remained essentially the same under WIOA, were designed to provide quality employment and training services to eligible workers. Administered through local workforce investment areas, the Dislocated Worker Program served people who had been laid off from employment, including those whose employers had closed permanently and who were unlikely to return to their previous industry of occupation. Eligible workers could receive three tiers of services through WIA. Core services were available to everyone and included job placement assistance, skills assessments, and provision of information on the labor market, among other services. Those unable to obtain a job through core services alone could receive intensive services—which included counseling and specialized assessments—and vouchers for attending training. In addition, some local areas provided supportive services such as child care, transportation, and work-related financial assistance to those who qualified.
Features of the Study
The study compared earnings and employment outcomes for 16 quarters after program entry among three different groups: (1) WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants compared with people who registered for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Employment Services (ES), (2) WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants who received only core and/or intensive services compared with UI or ES registrants, and (3) WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants who received core and/or intensive services compared with participants who received training. For each of these comparisons, the authors used a statistical technique called propensity-score matching to create comparison groups that were as similar as possible based on calendar quarter of program entry; demographic characteristics, including gender, age, educational attainment, and race or ethnicity; and employment and program participation history. The authors used WIA, UI, and ES administrative data from 12 states to estimate impacts on earnings between the treatment group and each of the comparison groups after adjusting for demographic characteristics and preprogram employment and earnings. The authors presented results by gender.
The authors matched 61,566 participants in the WIA Dislocated Worker Program to one or more comparison cases from a comparison sample of almost 3 million people. Of the WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants, 42,218 received core and/or intensive services and 13,331 received training.
- New Mexico
Earnings and wages
- The study found that participants who received services through the WIA Dislocated Worker program earned significantly more in each quarter from 7 to 16 quarters after program entry than UI and ES recipients. Among females, WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants earned $100 to $400 more per quarter. Among males, WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants earned $100 to $350 more per quarter.
- Both males and females who received training through the WIA Dislocated Worker Program had lower quarterly earnings and were less likely to be employed in quarters 1 through 7 than those who received only core and/or intensive services. There were no statistically significant differences in earnings or employment between these two groups after quarter 7.
- Employment levels for those who received services through the WIA Dislocated Worker Program were significantly higher than the matched comparison group of UI and ES recipients in every quarter after the first year following program entry. Among females, the difference gradually increased from 2 to 8 percentage points higher. Among males, the difference ranged from 1 to 6 percentage points higher.
- The subset of participants in the WIA Dislocated Worker Program receiving core and/or intensive services had significantly higher employment levels throughout the follow-up period and earned significantly more than the matched comparison group of UI and ES recipients in almost every quarter after program entry for both males and females.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
In some of the states included in the analysis, the core services offered through the WIA Dislocated Worker Program were very similar to services offered through ES. Therefore, comparisons between the WIA Dislocated Worker Program participants and the matched comparison groups in those states might be smaller than those in states where the contrast between WIA and ES services was more distinct.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the WIA Dislocated Worker Program services, but other factors might also have contributed.
Mueser, P., Heinrich, C., Troske, K., Jeon, K., & Kahvecioglu, D. (2010). New estimates of public employment and training program net impacts: A nonexperimental evaluation of the workforce investment act program. Department of Economics working paper, no 1003. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.
Besharov, D., & Cottingham, P. (2011). The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation experiences and evaluation findings. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
Heinrich, C., Mueser, P., Troske, K., Jeon, K. & Kahvecioglu, D. (2013). Do public employment and training programs work? IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2(1):6.