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Evaluation of the strengthening the connections between unemployment insurance and the One-Stop Delivery Systems Demonstration Project in Wisconsin (Almandsmith 2006)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Almandsmith, S., Ortiz Adams, L., & Bos, H. (2006). Evaluation of the strengthening the connections between unemployment insurance and the One-Stop Delivery Systems Demonstration Project in Wisconsin. Oakland, CA: Berkeley Policy Associates.

Highlights

  • The study examined the impact of the Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program for Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants in Wisconsin on several outcomes: the rate at which the UI claimants went back to work, average earnings, and UI benefit receipt.
  •  The authors used a matching procedure and several statistical models to compare the outcomes of demonstration and comparison group members, using administrative data.
  •  The study found that demonstration participants had higher average quarterly earnings, shorter durations of UI benefits, smaller proportions of maximum UI benefits paid, and a lower average total payout of UI benefits. The study found no statistically significant relationship between demonstration participation and employment outcomes.
  •  The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors 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 Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

JSA services

Features of the Intervention

The overall goal of the Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program was to better integrate the functions of the Wisconsin Division of Workforce Solutions’ Job Service, which operates the state’s One-Stop Career Centers (called Job Centers), and the state Division of UI. To reach this goal, the program identified claimants who were likely to exhaust their regular UI benefits and who were likely to need job search assistance services to make a successful transition to new employment, and referred those claimants to reemployment services. The demonstration sites provided reemployment services to claimants in their profiling pools in 2004–2005. The reemployment services included workshops on resume preparation and interviewing skills, an “Introduction to Computers” curriculum, networking as a job search strategy, job referrals, and employment plan reviews. Within the demonstration group, claimants were assigned to two subgroups based on their preparedness for conducting a job search, the quality of their resume and interviewing skills, and employment barriers. Those who were less prepared were assigned to the group that received more intense services.

Features of the Study

The Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program was offered in three demonstration sites in Wisconsin: one in Fox Valley and two in Milwaukee. Claimants were directed to either a demonstration or comparison site depending upon the zip code of their residence. The authors matched demonstration participants to comparison group members on demographic characteristics and pre-program employment status and earnings criteria, and then used several statistical models to compare the outcomes of demonstration and comparison group members. This review focuses on the model that included all of the UI claimants (2,180 demonstration and 4,193 comparison) who were invited to participate in the program, regardless of their program uptake. The authors estimated another model that examined the impacts of those demonstration participants who actually participated in the study. Of 2,180 total demonstration claimants, 1,005 (46 percent) chose not to participate in the study, leaving a total of 1,175 participants who did participate and received intervention services.

Findings

Employment

  • There were no significant differences between demonstration participants and comparison group members on employment during the study period (77 percent of the demonstration participants went back to work during the study period, compared with 78 percent of comparison group members) or on employment in the first quarter after a new claim (54 percent for the demonstration group compared with 53 percent for the comparison group).

Earnings

  • Demonstration participants reported average quarterly earnings of $3,020 compared with $2,892 for comparison group members. This difference was statistically significant.

UI benefit receipt

  • The duration of UI benefits for demonstration participants was 0.6 weeks shorter than for comparison group members, a statistically significant difference.
  • Demonstration participants drew significantly smaller percentages of their total available benefits than did comparison group members (a 2.2 percent difference).
  • The average total payout for demonstration participants was $147 less than for comparison group members, a statistically significant difference.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors reported statistically significant differences in the gender and race/ethnicity of demonstration participants and comparison group members, and did not account for these differences in analyses. These existing differences between the groups—and not the Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program—could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

In addition to reporting results from an analysis of a model that included all claimants who were invited to participate in the study, the authors reported results from an analysis of a model that was restricted only to those claimants who participated in the study. The results of the latter model were qualitatively similar to those of the main model, but none of the findings was statistically significant.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors 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 Worker Profiling Reemployment Services program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

October 2018

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