Design, Sites, and Data Sources
The study uses an experimental research design. Twenty-six of the 28 LWIAs were randomly selected, based on certain criteria that ensure necessary regional representation across the nation. (The other two sites were chosen non-randomly to replace sites that ultimately did not participate in the study.) Except for a few groups of customers who were entitled to the full range of Adult and Dislocated Worker program services, all eligible customers who request intensive services from the participating sites were enrolled into the study. These individuals were randomly assigned into one of three groups: (1) all WIA services, (2) core and intensive services but not training, or (3) core services only. The largest percentage of WIA-eligible adults and dislocated workers are in the first group and have access to the full set of WIA services for which they are eligible, namely core, intensive, and training services. Because each group is distinguished by its access to particular WIA-funded services, this random assignment design allows the research team to estimate the value that intensive services add to core-only services, as well as the value that training services add to intensive or core-only services, by comparing the outcomes of the three different groups. By April 2013, random assignment operations had concluded in all 28 study sites.
Program staff members in the 28 LWIAs underwent training in the study enrollment procedures and received technical support from the study team to minimize disruptions to their normal operations.
Detailed information is being collected on the implementation of WIA intensive and training services through interviews with program staff members. Two rounds of site visits to all 28 LWIAs in the study, completed in 2012 and 2013, will provide information on the implementation and costs of WIA.
In addition, the study includes a Veteran’s Supplemental Study. Veterans are one of the groups entitled to receive exemptions from random assignment into the study and to participate in WIA services as they would in the absence of the evaluation. The supplemental study provides the opportunity to analyze veterans’ experiences in the 28 study LWIAs. This research will provide information about the assistance provided to veterans, the issues staff members face in providing that assistance, how they determine who gets priority in receiving services, how veteran representatives and other staff members interact, and the characteristics and outcomes of veterans who receive services.
Data on sample members are being collected for the evaluation from four sources.
All sample members completed a baseline information form prior to random assignment.
Information on the program services received by customers is collected from state WIA agencies.
Data on quarterly employment and earnings and unemployment insurance claims are being collected for all sample members from state unemployment insurance agencies.
Two follow-up telephone surveys will collect information from a subset of participants on their receipt of education and training, employment and earnings, receipt of public assistance, household income, and receipt of services not funded by WIA.
Implementation research findings and an early impact report are anticipated to be available soon, followed by a final report in 2016.