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East Los Angeles College: Technology & Logistics program TAACCCT final evaluation report (Wiima 2016)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Wijma, C. (2016). East Los Angeles College: Technology & Logistics program TAACCCT final evaluation report. San Francisco, CA: WestEd.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the enhanced East Los Angeles College’s (ELAC) Technology and Logistics program on student’s education, earnings, and employment outcomes.
  • The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the education, earnings, and employment outcomes of students in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program to a matched comparison group of students in the Automotive Technology program.
  • The study found that participation in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program was significantly associated with improved course and degree completion.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the enhanced ELAC Technology and Logistics program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

The East Los Angeles College’s (ELAC) Technology and Logistics Program

Features of the Intervention

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program provided $1.9 billion in grants to community colleges to improve skills and support employment in high-demand industries, notably manufacturing, health care, information technology, energy, and transportation. Through four rounds of funding, DOL awarded 256 TAACCCT grants to approximately 800 educational institutions across the United States and its territories.

The East Los Angeles College’s (ELAC) Technology and Logistics program used TAACCCT funds to fulfill employer needs in the in-demand logistics industry. To do this, they improved their Logistics program by creating and improving courses, implementing an Associate of Science degree in Technology and Logistics, and providing supports for students in the Logistics program, including online student coaching; career/job coaching; life/academic coaching with career guidance counselor assistants; and academic counseling.

Features of the Study

The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of students who participated in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program to students who did not participate. The treatment group included 504 students who enrolled in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program during the 2012, 2013, and 2014 school years. The comparison group were students from the Automotive Technology (AutoTech) program enrolled during the same time period. Treatment students were matched with comparison students using age group, ethnicity, education level, educational goal attainment, and financial aid variables. Outcomes included course and certificate/degree completion rates, employment rates, median and mean quarterly wages, and mean weekly wage. Using data from ELAC's student database, departmental student data, the State of California’s Employment Development Department, and student exit surveys, the author used statistical models to examine differences in the outcomes between treatment and comparison groups. However, the study did not include tests of statistical significance for the employment and earnings outcomes.

Findings

Education and skills gain

  • The study found that participation in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program was significantly associated with improved course (51.1% vs 25.5%) and degree (37.1% vs 12.2%) completion than participation in the comparison program.

Employment

  • The study found that participation in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program was associated with lower rates of employment than participation in the comparison program (58.8% vs. 63.7%). However, the study did not include tests of statistical significance.

Earnings and wages

  • The study found that participation in the ELAC Technology and Logistics program was associated with higher wages than participation in the comparison program: median quarterly wages were $6,540 for the treatment vs. $4,332 for the comparison group; mean quarterly wages were $7,512 for the treatment vs. $5,658 for the comparison group; and, average weekly wages were $343 for the treatment vs. $277 for the comparison group. However, the study did not include tests of statistical significance.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Although the author reports differences in employment rates and wages between the treatment and comparison groups, no tests of significance were performed on these outcomes. Furthermore, the author did not control for gender in the matching analysis as required by the protocol. Lastly, the author did not report the final number of AutoTech students included in the analysis sample for the comparison group, nor information about their demographics. Because the author did not ensure groups were similar at baseline, these differences—and not the ELAC Technology and Logistics program—could explain the observed differences in the outcome. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the ELAC Technology and Logistics program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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