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Outcome evaluation of the Army Career and Alumni Program’s Job Assistance Centers (Study Report 96-04) (Sadacca et al. 1995)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Sadacca, R., Laurence, J. H., DiFazio, A. S., Rauch, H. J., & Hintz, D. W. (1995) Outcome evaluation of the Army Career and Alumni Program’s Job Assistance Centers (Study Report 96-04). Alexandria, VA: Human Resources Research Organization.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact Job Assistance Centers (JACs) and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offered to ex-servicemembers had on their earnings and public benefits receipt.
  • The study used a nonexperimental analysis to compare the outcomes of ex-servicemembers transitioning from military to civilian jobs who received various JAC or TAP services to the outcomes of those who did not receive JAC or TAP services. The authors used administrative records from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, and JACs, as well as data from a follow-up survey.
  • The study showed mixed findings on the relationships between receipt of JAC and TAP services and earnings, as well as on the relationships between receipt of JAC and TAP services and receipt of unemployment compensation.
  • 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 JACs and TAP; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Job Assistance Centers and the Transition Assistance Program

Features of the Intervention

The National Defense Authorization Act of 1991 required that the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL) and Defense and the Veterans Administration provide transition and job assistance services to those who lost their military jobs due to downsizing. The goal of the Act was to help military and civilian personnel transition to the civilian labor force. Each branch of the military coordinated services with the TAP established by DOL, which was established to provide services as required by the Act.

The Army established JACs, operated by subcontractors near military installations around the world, to provide transition and job assistance services that complement TAP services. JAC services include job assistance seminars and workshops, individual job and career counseling, and access to information about job referrals and announcements. Participation in these services and activities is voluntarily.

Features of the Study

The study used a nonexperimental analysis to compare the outcomes of ex-servicemembers transitioning to civilian jobs who received JAC services to the outcomes of those who did not receive JAC services. The authors used data from the Defense Manpower Data Center’s Active Duty Military Loss and the Army Civilian Personnel System to select a sample of people who separated from Army service from October 1992 to September 1993. The authors completed interviews with more than 1,400 ex-servicemembers for the study. Interviews provided information about the transition and receipt of job assistance services as well as outcomes on earnings and public benefits receipt.

The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of ex-servicemembers who did and did not receive JAC services based on various measures of service receipt. Specifically, the models examined the outcomes associated with attending a TAP workshop, attending a non-DOL job assistance workshop run by one of the branches of the military or a private company, receiving one-on-one employment counseling, receiving information about unemployment compensation, the number of transition services received, and the number of job assistance services received.

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • Among Army ex-servicemembers, attending a TAP workshop was associated with significantly lower annual earnings (by $992), but attending a non-DOL job assistance workshop was associated with significantly higher annual earnings (by $2,498). Each job assistance service received was associated with significantly higher annual earnings (by $341). There were no relationships between the other measures of service receipt and annual earnings.

Public benefits receipt

  • Among Army ex-servicemembers, attending a TAP workshop was not associated with the likelihood of receiving unemployment compensation. However, receiving information on unemployment compensation was associated with significantly higher likelihood of receiving unemployment compensation (by 22 percentage points). Each transition service received was associated with a significantly lower likelihood of receiving unemployment compensation (by 2 percentage points). There were no relationships between the other measures of service receipt and the likelihood of receiving unemployment compensation.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation, including potential differences in age, earnings, or public benefits receipt. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the program—could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

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 were attributable to JACs and TAP; other factors are likely to have contributed to the findings.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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