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WIOA impacts on community college student success (Doctoral dissertation) (Crumpton 2019)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Crumpton, J. A. (2019). WIOA impacts on community college student success (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 13861007).

Highlights

  • 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 the community college WIOA program participants and the state workforce WIOA program participants.
  • The author used a nonexperimental design to compare WIOA program student education outcomes (measured by degree or certificate attainment) to the outcomes of participants in WIOA programs administered by entities other than community colleges (throughout the state). Data from the community college and the State Board for Workforce Development 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 participants who entered the WIOA program through a state workforce development board.
  • 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

Intervention Examined

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 participants who entered the WIOA program through the state workforce development board at the local education agency (LEA). Study participants included 299 students in the treatment group and 2,507 in the comparison group. Using data from the community college and the State Board for Workforce Development, the author conducted t-tests to examine differences between the groups in degree or certificate attainment rates over the course of three years (2014-2017).

Findings

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 participants who entered the WIOA program through the workforce development board (45% versus 38%).

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The author did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before participation, such as participants’ 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.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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