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Project IMPACT: Innovations Moving People to Achieve Certified Training. Final evaluation report (Shain & Grandgennett 2016)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Shain, M., & Grandgenett, N. (2016). Project IMPACT: Innovations Moving People to Achieve Certified Training. Final evaluation report. Omaha, NE: University of Nebraska.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the effect of Project IMPACT (Innovations Moving People to Achieve Certified Training) on earnings and wages.
  • Using community college records and data from the Nebraska Department of Labor, the authors conducted a nonexperimental study to compare the differences in wages between Project IMPACT participants and nonparticipants.
  • The study found no statistically significant relationship between Project IMPACT and earnings and wages.
  • The quality of the 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 Project IMPACT; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Project IMPACT

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.

Project IMPACT (Innovations Moving People to Achieve Certified Training) was a TAACCCT funded project for students enrolled in manufacturing programs at five community colleges in Nebraska. Project IMPACT included the development of a Diversified Manufacturing Technology (DMT) certificate program, DMT curriculum, and support services (e.g., proactive coaching). Specifically, Project IMPACT included the development of four core courses in safety, production, maintenance, and quality, with resources aligned to the Manufacturing Skill Standard Council outcomes. Project IMPACT also focused on outreach efforts to recruit students for the DMT certificate program (e.g., website, brochures, public service announcements, and lunch and learns).

Features of the Study

The nonexperimental study compared the outcomes of students who participated in Project IMPACT to students who did not. The treatment group included students enrolled in programs related to manufacturing at one of the five participating community colleges and who completed at least one IMPACT course. The comparison group included students who were also enrolled in manufacturing at one of the five participating community colleges but did not complete any of the IMPACT courses. There was a total of 1,020 participants in Project IMPACT at the conclusion of the study, but the analysis sample was 184. Using community college records and data from the Nebraska Department of Labor, the authors conducted statistical analyses to examine differences in earnings and wages between the groups.

Study Sites

  • Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska
  • Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • The study found no significant relationships between participation in Project IMPACT and earnings and wages.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation or include sufficient control variables. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not Project IMPACT—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. In addition, there is not a specified follow-up period for the wage data analysis; thus, the follow-up period may have varied across participants. 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 the causal evidence rating presented in this report is low because the authors did not demonstrate that groups were similar at baseline. This means we are not confident that the effects are attributable to Project IMPACT; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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