Vinokur, A., Schul, Y., Vuori, J., & Price, R. (2000). Two years after a job loss: Long-term impact of the JOBS Program on reemployment and mental health. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(1), 32-47.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the JOBS II program on long-term employment, earnings, and monthly hours worked.
- The authors randomly assigned eligible unemployed individuals to either a treatment group, which could participate in JOBS II, or the control group, which could receive other services in the community, but not JOBS II. The study included a pre-test two weeks before the intervention and follow-up questionnaires 2, 6, and 24 months after the intervention.
- The authors found that JOBS II was associated with positive effects on the treatment group’s rate of reemployment and monthly earnings as measured two years after assignment, compared with the control group.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the study was a randomized controlled trial with unknown attrition and lack of sufficient controls in the analysis. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JOBS II program; other factors are likely to have contributed.
The JOBS II Program
Features of the Intervention
The JOBS II program consisted of five four-hour morning sessions over the course of a week covering job-search skills, including identifying and articulating job-related skills, using social connections to find job leads, reaching out to employers, preparing applications and resumes, and interviewing.
In addition to teaching job search skills, the intervention focused on the mental and emotional well-being of participants. For example, a component of the program involved teaching problem-solving skills designed to help participants anticipate setbacks and adapt when they arose. Male-female pairs of trainers who were unemployed high school teachers, educational counselors, and social workers also searching for work at the time led the sessions.
Features of the Study
The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial, with participants recruited from four unemployment compensation offices across southeastern Michigan. The recruitment process limited the study to individuals receiving or applying for unemployment compensation. Researchers further screened out those who were new entrants to the labor market, had been unemployed for more than 13 weeks, were already reemployed, only accompanying others in line, on strike, expecting to be recalled for work in the next few months, or planning to retire in the next two years. Individuals were also excluded if they expressed a preference for the treatment or control condition, expressed no interest in participating in either condition, or scored very highly on an assessment of depression. Eligible individuals were randomly assigned to either a treatment group, which could participate in JOBS II, or a control group, which could access other services in the community but not JOBS II.
Researchers administered a pre-test two weeks before the intervention began and three post-test questionnaires 2, 6, and 24 months after the intervention. Analyses were based on 1,430 study participants who completed the two-year follow-up questionnaire. The authors used statistical models to compare the long-term employment, earnings, and hours worked of treatment and control group members, adjusting for baseline age, gender, education, family income, race and ethnicity, marital status, and indicators of psychological well-being.
- The study found that being offered access to the JOBS II program was associated with, on average, 55 percent higher odds of being employed after two years.
- The treatment group on average spent more time employed at least 35 hours a week (0.06 more months) during the two years after the intervention in which participants worked more than 35 hours.
Earnings and Wages
- Two years after the intervention, the treatment group worked an additional 4 minutes and 48 seconds per week and earned an additional 7 cents per month compared with the control group.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors did not provide sufficient information in the study to calculate attrition and, given the study’s age, CLEAR did not attempt to obtain it. Therefore, the study was reviewed as a nonexperimental design. Although the analyses included controls for baseline age, gender, race and ethnicity, marital status, family income, and psychological well-being, studies must also include a control for pre-intervention earnings measured more than one year before random assignment. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the study was a randomized controlled trial with unknown attrition and lack of sufficient controls in the analysis. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the JOBS II program; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Vinokur, A., Price, R., & Schul Y. (1995). Impact of the JOBS intervention on unemployed workers varying in risk for depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(1), 39-74.