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Rapid employment model evaluation: Update #2 (Smith et al 2010)

  • Review Protocol

Citation

Smith, T. C., King, C. T., & Schroeder, D. G. (2010). Rapid employment model evaluation: Update #2. Austin, TX: Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Rapid Employment Model (REM) program on participants’ employment, earnings, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit claims. (See the CLEAR review of the 2008 report here.)
  • Using program data and state UI records, the authors matched treatment to comparison group cases and conducted regression analyses to estimate the effect of the intervention.
  • The study found that participation in the REM program was associated with an increase in the likelihood that jobseekers were employed in the 10 quarters following program participation among the 2006 cohort. Participation in the REM program was also associated with an increase in the likelihood that jobseekers were employed, a decrease in quarterly earnings, and an increase in the likelihood jobseekers filed UI claims in the six quarters following program participation among the 2007 cohort.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate for earnings outcomes in both cohorts and for employment outcomes for the 2006 cohort because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects on employment and earnings are attributable to the REM program, but other factors might also have contributed. The quality of causal evidence presented for the UI benefit claiming outcome for both cohorts and the employment outcome for the 2007 cohort 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 on UI benefit claiming outcome are attributable to the REM program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Rapid Employment Model (REM) Program

Features of the Intervention

The REM program combined short-term job preparedness and occupational skills training in combination with active job placement assistance to improve employment rates and decrease periods of unemployment. Treatment group members received pre-employment training on basic job preparedness and employment skills. Participants were then offered the opportunity to participate in an occupational skills training program, which the city and county subsidized. The participants could choose one of nine training programs focused on a specific occupational field (including truck driving and nursing), which varied in length and content. Travis County Health and Human Services Department and Workforce Solutions led the program, which took place from January to October 2006 for the 2006 cohort and from February to October 2007 for the 2007 cohort.

Features of the Study

The study included 103 participants in the 2006 cohort and 85 participants in the 2007 cohort matched to comparison group members selected from a pool of WorkInTexas’s registered jobseekers and Workforce Investment Act “core” services recipients. REM participants were selected based on participation in workforce programs that served disadvantaged groups, including ex-offenders and recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps. The authors matched REM participants to comparison group members based on similar demographic characteristics and employment and earnings history over the four years before the program began. The authors examined differences in outcomes over the 10 quarters following the program while accounting for pre-intervention differences between treatment and comparison group members.

Findings

  • The study found that participation in the 2006 REM cohort was associated with a 4.6 percentage point statistically significant increase in the likelihood that jobseekers were employed in quarters following program participation.
  • The study also found that participation in the 2007 REM cohort was associated with a 5.6 percentage point statistically significant increase in the likelihood that jobseekers were employed in quarters following program participation.
  • Participants in the 2007 REM cohort also experienced a statistically significant $520 decrease in quarterly earnings following program participation.
  • Additionally, the percentage of participants in the 2007 REM cohort who filed UI claims in the quarters following program participation was 3.3 percentage points higher than the comparison group, a statistically significant finding.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The quality of causal evidence presented for the UI benefit claiming outcome for both cohorts is low because the authors did not include pre-intervention public benefits or socioeconomic status as a matching variable when selecting the comparison group and did not adjust for potential pre-intervention differences in these characteristics in the analysis. The quality of causal evidence is also low for the employment outcome for the 2007 cohort because the matched groups were not similar with respect to pre-intervention employment status.

The authors did not have access to data on ex-offender status and thus did not account for it in their analysis. The treatment group included participants of a program that targets formerly incarcerated workers (among other disadvantaged groups), so the proportions of offenders could vary between the groups. For this reason, the estimated impacts may reflect differences in outcomes due to differences in offender status in addition to any effects due to REM.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate for earnings outcomes in both cohorts and for employment outcomes for the 2006 cohort because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects on employment and earnings are attributable to the REM program, but other factors might also have contributed. The quality of causal evidence presented for the UI benefit claiming outcome for both cohorts and the employment outcome for the 2007 cohort 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 on UI benefit claiming outcome are attributable to the REM program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Additional Sources

Smith, T. C., & King, C. T. (2007). Rapid employment model evaluation: Initial findings. Austin, TX: Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources.

Smith, T. C., King, C. T., & Schroeder, D. G. (2008). Rapid employment model evaluation: Update. Austin, TX: Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources.

Smith, T. C., King, C. T., & Schroeder, D. G. (2011). Rapid employment model evaluation: 2011 update. Austin, TX: Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources.

Reviewed by CLEAR

February 2017