Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2012 Evaluation Update

Date

2012-01

Authors

Smith, Tara Carter
King, Christopher T.
Schroeder, Daniel G.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources

Abstract

Travis County makes numerous investments in workforce development activities each year. In order to understand the impact of these investments, the County has asked the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas to conduct an evaluation of the workforce development services it funds.

Evaluation Components

The evaluation is organized into two areas of focus: (1) workforce demonstration projects, and (2) other workforce development services. These are described in detail below.

Evaluation of Workforce Demonstration Projects

The Rapid Employment Model (REM) demonstration project initiated by Travis County is a collaborative effort of the County and Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board and area workforce service providers to decrease the amount of time an individual is out of work by connecting individuals with short-term (less than 6 weeks) training.

The Gainful Employment Model (GEM) demonstration project is also a collaborative effort of the County and Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board. GEM provides access to longer-term (up to 9 months) workforce training.

The evaluation of these workforce demonstration projects includes an outcomes evaluation and exploratory impacts analysis based on a quasi-experimental research design.

The ongoing outcomes evaluation documents the results of the demonstration projects, including the number of clients served; number completing training; number placed in employment; wages earned; and other outputs/outcomes that can be determined largely through linked administrative data. Data for this portion of the evaluation comes from the administrative databases maintained by each provider; The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST); Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records; and other sources, such as TANF and Food Stamp Employment and Training program records.

We use a quasi-experimental design to match REM and GEM participants with similar individuals receiving other workforce services available in the region. Differences in outcomes for participants and comparison group members are analyzed to determine the impact of each demonstration project.

Key evaluation questions include:

How effective is the demonstration project, as measured by reduced time unemployed, reduced unemployment insurance payments, employment retention and increased earnings?
How do key participant outcomes compare to those for similar, nonparticipating individuals?
Which skills training programs are most effective for graduates and why?
What changes can be made to services/treatments to improve outcomes for participants?

Description

Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2012 Evaluation Update

LCSH Subject Headings

Citation

Smith, Tara C., Christopher T. King, and Daniel G. Schroeder, “Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2012 Evaluation Update.” Austin: Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, January 2012.