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Evaluation of Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM): Impact report (Betesh et al. 2017)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Betesh, H., Kim, H., Kogan, D., Lindy, R., Paprocki, A. (2017). Evaluation of Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM): Impact report. Retrieved from https://www.spra.com/wordpress2/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ATIM-Impact-Report_Final.pdf

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to assess the impact of Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) Program, a workforce training intervention, on education, employment, and earnings outcomes.
  • The authors used a randomized controlled trial to assess the program’s impact and compared education, employment, and earnings outcomes between the treatment and control group. Data on participant characteristics and outcomes was gathered from grant data systems, the Illinois Workforce Development System, and Illinois State Unemployment Insurance.
  • The study found that significantly higher percentages of people in the treatment group than the control group enrolled in education training, completed training, and earned a certificate. In addition, those who were in the treatment group earned a significantly higher number of certificates than participants in the control group, and had significantly higher wages in the second year after beginning study participation.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high for the education outcomes because it was based on a randomized controlled trial with low attrition. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the ATIM program, and not to other factors. The quality of causal evidence is moderate for the employment and earnings outcomes because these outcomes had high attrition but the authors included sufficient controls in their analysis. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the ATIM program, but other factors might also have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) Program

Features of the Intervention

The Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) program was designed to address both the manufacturing industry’s need for skilled workers as well as the high rate of low-skilled workers seeking employment. The program offered workforce training, which included accelerated courses that were informed by industry input, individualized plans for training and career pathways, and case management. There were also opportunities for workplace-based training, such as internships. This evaluation took place in 62 counties in Illinois within five regions: the Central Region, Collar Counties Region, North Central Region, Northern Stateline Region, and the Southwest Region. Many participants received training at community colleges, but some participants received training at for-profit training providers. There were multiple criteria required to be eligible for the program including: being eligible for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) or dislocated workers programs, testing at least at a tenth-grade level on reading and a ninth-grade level on math, having English proficiency, having an interest and aptitude for manufacturing based on an occupation competency assessment, and being able to pass a background check and drug screening.

Features of the Study

The study was a randomized controlled trial with 514 participants assigned to the treatment group and 224 assigned to the control group. The treatment group could participate in the ATIM program, whereas the control group could only receive standard services, such as those available through WIA funding. Data sources included application data from the grant program's tracking system, data from the Illinois Workforce Development System, and Illinois State Unemployment Insurance. The authors compared education, employment, and earnings outcomes between the treatment and control group, controlling for individual characteristics, including gender, age, being in a minority group, and whether they completed high school or had a GED.

Findings

Education and skills gain

  • A significantly higher percentage of people in the treatment group than the control group enrolled (+70%) and completed training (+52%).
  • A significantly higher percentage of people in the treatment group than the control group earned a certificate (+55%). Additionally, those in the treatment group earned a significantly larger number of certificates (+2) than those in the control group.

Employment

  • The control group had a significantly higher rate of employment than the treatment group during the first quarter after random assignment. However, the treatment group had a significantly higher rate of employment in the 3rd, and 5th-7th quarters after random assignment. During the remaining quarters in the two years after random assignment there was not a significant difference in employment rates between the groups. 
  • There was not a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in the number of quarters employed in the first year or second year after random assignment.

Earnings and wages

  • There was not a significant difference between the treatment and control group in total earnings in the first year after random assignment, but there was a significant difference in the second year, where participants in the treatment group had significantly higher total earnings than those in the control group (+$5,475.61).
  • The control group had significantly higher wages than the treatment group during the first quarter after random assignment. However, the treatment group had significantly higher wages in the 6th and 7th quarters after random assignment. During the remaining quarters in the two years after random assignment, there was not a significant difference in wages between the groups. 

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

While the study was a randomized controlled trial, there was missing data for a high proportion of the sample for wage and employment data. Therefore, there may be preexisting differences between the groups—and not the program itself—that could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high for the education outcomes because it was based on a randomized controlled trial with low attrition. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the ATIM program, and not to other factors. The quality of causal evidence is moderate for the employment and earnings outcomes because these outcomes had high attrition but the authors included sufficient controls in their analysis. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the ATIM program, but other factors might also have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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