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The employment and training outcomes of a job training partnership act program in a community college setting (Carter 1999)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Carter, D. L. (1999). The employment and training outcomes of a job training partnership act program in a community college setting (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Florida.

Highlights

  • The study's objective was to examine the impact of a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) funded vocational training program at a community college in North Florida on earnings outcomes.
  • The author used an interrupted time series design to compare outcomes of participants before and after they participated in the JTPA program. Data for the study were compiled from the community college's existing JTPA records.
  • The study found that participation in JTPA funded training was significantly related to higher post-training wages.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not observe outcomes for multiple periods before or after the program nor account for selection into the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JTPA funded vocational training program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Job Training Partnership Act

Features of the Intervention

The Job Training Partnership Act of 1987 (JTPA) is federal legislation enacted to help establish job training programs at educational institutions funded by the federal government. The purpose of the legislation was to create programs that better prepared youth and adults for employment by increasing their education and skills which in turn would improve the quality of work they produced and result in increased earnings.

The job training program at the community college in North Florida was designed to transition hard-to-place individuals who were JTPA-eligible from unemployment to work. These individuals resided in two Florida counties: one primarily rural and the other midsized (less than 100,000). The JTPA eligibility included three main criteria: 1) residence in the designated geographic area, 2) US citizenship or legal immigrant status, and 3) membership in of the following categories: economically disadvantaged adult (22 years or older), economically disadvantaged youth (21 years or younger), or a dislocated worker.

Features of the Study

The study took place at an unnamed community college in North Florida. The author used an interrupted time series to evaluate differences in outcomes before and after participation in the JTPA program. The study sample included students accepted into the community college's vocational training programs between July 1, 1994 and June 30, 1996. Participants who completed their training program received either a vocational certificate or an Associate of Science degree. A total of 175 individuals participated, who all met JTPA eligibility and either completed or dropped out of their training during the study's 2-year period. There were 89 participants from the 1994-1995 program year and 86 participants from the 1995-1996 program year, with 132 who attended a vocational certificate program and 43 who attended an Associate of Science degree program. Using data from the community college's existing JTPA records, the author conducted statistical tests to estimate the post-completion impact on earnings and wages, disaggregating findings by program completers and non-completers. The author also compared pre- and post-completion wages by type of training (Associate of Science vs. Vocational Certificate). The analyses controlled for several demographic factors including gender, age, race/ethnicity and public assistance status.

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • The study found that program participation was significantly related to wage gains for both program participants that completed their training and those that did not complete training, with participants that completed their training having significantly greater gain in wages compared to non-completers.
  • The study did not find a significant relationship between the types of training that participants completed (Associate of Science vs. Vocational Certificate) and wages.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The author could not control for who applied and attended the JTPA funded vocational training. Although the author included many control variables in the analysis, individuals who self-selected into the training could differ in observable and unobservable ways, affecting the observed outcomes. The author also examined wages for program participants at only two points: before and after the training program. CLEAR causal evidence guidelines require that the author observe outcomes for multiple periods before the intervention to rule out the possibility that participants had increasing or decreasing trends in the outcomes examined before enrollment in the program. Without knowing the trends before program enrollment, we cannot rule this out.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not observe outcomes for multiple periods before or after the training nor account for selection into the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JTPA funded vocational training program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

January 2021

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