Absence of conflict of interest.
Crumpton, J. A. (2019). WIOA impacts on community college student success (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 13861007).
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a workforce development program administered by a community college under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on education outcomes. This summary focuses on the comparison between WIOA program participants and non-participants.
- The author used a nonexperimental design to compare WIOA program student education outcomes (measured by degree or certificate attainment) to the outcomes of students with similar backgrounds (Pell Grant recipients) who were not enrolled in WIOA. Data from the community college were used to examine education success rates over the course of three years (2014-2017).
- The study found that WIOA program participants were significantly more likely to attain a degree or certificate than students who were not enrolled in the WIOA program.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author 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 WIOA Program; other factors are likely to have contributed
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program
Features of the Intervention
The WIOA program featured in this study was administered by an unidentified rural community college located in southeastern United States and covers three counties. The community college began providing administrative services for the workforce development program ten years ago under the WIOA’s predecessor, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), after counties in the service area called for changes to the struggling program. In its administrative role, the community college has been expected to work closely with the workforce system in the area to prepare low-income students to meet the training and employment needs of local industry. Its activities extend beyond core academics to include adult basic education and assisting students with overcoming their barriers to employment. Support services provided to students through the program included tuition assistance, financial support for books and supplies, child care and transportation assistance, tutoring, job placement assistance, and career counseling, which includes resume building and job development services.
Features of the Study
The author used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of WIOA program participants at the community college to students enrolled in the community college who were Pell Grant recipients. Study participants included 299 students in the treatment group and 7,916 in the comparison group. Using data from the community college, the author conducted t-tests to examine differences between the groups in degree or certificate attainment over the course of three years (2014-2017).
Education and skills gain
- The study found that the community college students who were enrolled in the WIOA program were significantly more likely to attain a degree or certificate compared to students were not enrolled in the WIOA program (45% versus 20%).
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The author did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before participation, such as students’ age, race/ethnicity, or degree of financial disadvantage. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the WIOA program—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. 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 causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author 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 WIOA program; other factors are likely to have contributed.