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The Workforce Investment Act

Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings

Douglas J. Besharov and Phoebe H. Cottingham, Editors

Publication Year: 2011

Douglas J. Besharov and Phoebe H. Cottingham present a group papers that provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date look yet at WIAs program performance and impact. The papers were commissioned for a meeting held with staff of the European Commission for a discussion of WIA lessons and the implications for future workforce programming in the United States as well as Europe. They are organized into five areas: 1) understanding WIA, 2) program implementation, 3) performance management, 4) impact evaluations, and 5) future evaluation choices. In addition, they detail how WIA performance management systems function and present various evaluation techniques for assessing workforce programs.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Abbreviations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

Many people worked on this volume, and it is not possible to mention them all here. A few, however, deserve special thanks. Ines Hartwig, Dirk Reyntjens, and their colleagues at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, first suggested the project...

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1 - Introduction

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pp. 1-46

Over a decade ago, Congress initiated a major shift in federal workforce policy through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. WIA aimed to consolidate and modernize disparate workforce programs, and to assure that job seekers...

Part 1 Understanding WIA

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pp. 47-

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2 - An Overview of WIA

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pp. 49-78

Over time the U.S. workforce development system has seen incremental changes in its structure, its services, and the role that federal, state, and local officials play in decision making. Beginning with MDTA of 1962 and continuing with CETA of 1973 and JTPA of 1982, services were largely focused...

Part 2 Program Implementation

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pp. 79-

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3 - The Use of Market Mechanisms

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pp. 81-112

This chapter is based in part on a larger study of the implementation of WIA conducted with colleagues in eight states and 16 localities from 2003 to 2005.1 After presenting background on WIA and the study, we present key results concerning one of the more important and controversial aspects of the act...

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4 - Customized Training

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pp. 113-140

In the United States, national workforce development policy has steadily placed a greater emphasis on the involvement of the private sector in the planning and oversight of federally funded programs. WIA has required local workforce development planning and operations be led by boards...

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5 - One-Stop Management and the Private Sector

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pp. 141-152

The implementation of WIA fostered the development of a wide range of solutions to address the problems of unemployment and/or underemployment among selected demographic groups including youth, adults, dislocated (redundant) workers, the disabled, older adults, veterans, and, in some cases...

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6 - Eligible Training Provider Lists and Consumer Report Cards

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pp. 153-174

Billions of public and private funds support short-term education and training for millions of Americans seeking jobs or advancement in positions they already hold. These training programs, delivered by thousands of nonprofit and for-profit education and training institutions throughout the United States, are...

Part 3 Performance Management

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pp. 175-

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7 - The Challenges of Measuring Performance

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pp. 177-208

Both the WIA reauthorization process and the planning efforts of the European Social Fund (ESF) would benefit from a review of the recent experiences of performance management of employment training programs in the United States. This chapter presents an operational perspective on how performance systems are designed and implemented. It also discusses...

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8 - Lessons from the WIA Performance Measures

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pp. 209-232

Since the late 1970s, major federal workforce development programs in the United States have included performance management systems that assess how well the programs are performing at the national, state, and local levels. The use of performance management in workforce programs predates...

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9 - Recent Advances in Performance Measurement of Federal Workforce Development Programs

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pp. 233-276

The purpose of performance measurement is to enable federal, state, and local workforce agencies to track the progress of program participants in achieving the core goals of programs under WIA: finding a job, retaining a job, and receiving adequate earnings. Performance measures are also used to hold management...

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10 - Financial Performance Incentives

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pp. 277-312

High performance incentive grants were incorporated into a number of domestic federal programs in the 1990s. Section 503 of WIA authorizes the Secretary of Labor to award incentive grants to states that exceed performance levels for programs authorized by Title I of WIA, the Adult Education and...

Part 4 Impact Evaluations

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pp. 313-

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11 - Ten Years of WIA Research

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pp. 315-346

To remain competitive in today’s global economy, U.S. workers increasingly need a strong foundation in core work competencies and advanced technical skills. In the past two decades, however, concerns have mounted about the widening gap between U.S. employers’ need for skilled labor and the...

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12 - Short-Term Net Impact Estimates and Rates of Return

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pp. 347-370

This chapter contrasts and compares the net impacts of workforce development programs estimated in four independent studies done in three states. These estimates were computed using a nonexperimental methodology in which individuals who had been served by the workforce system in the...

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13 - A Nonexperimental Evaluation of WIA Programs

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pp. 371-404

The recent economic recession has highlighted and exacerbated difficulties faced by low-wage workers in recent decades. Perhaps most troubling is a significant and persistent rise in the rate of long-term unemployment— workers unemployed for more than six months. The 2009 American Recovery and...

Part 5 Future Evaluation Choices

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pp. 405-

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14 - Nonexperimental Impact Evaluations

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pp. 407-430

Job training for transitional workers and disadvantaged individuals is of keen interest for governments across the globe. Advancements in technology and globalized trade make some jobs obsolete or move them to lesser developed countries. Such structural transitions mean a sizable number of workers can...

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15 - Designing Reliable Impact Evaluations

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pp. 431-446

This chapter reviews the U.S. experience in evaluation of job training programs over the past 40 years, examines why it is so difficult to reliably estimate the impacts of training programs with nonexperimental methods, and...

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16 - Neither Easy Nor Cheap

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pp. 447-472

Title I of WIA is the largest source of federally funded employment services in the United States. Its purpose is to increase the employment, job retention, and earnings of its participants. WIA funds the Dislocated Workers, Adult, and Youth programs, as well as Job Corps—a primarily residential training program...

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17 - Improving Impact Evaluation in Europe

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pp. 473-494

This chapter briefly addresses three themes related to the evaluation of active labor market programs (ALMPs), drawing on evidence from the North American experience and contrasting it with current practice in Europe.1 I begin by making the (measured) case for greater use of random assignment methods...

Authors

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pp. 495-498

Index

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pp. 499-524

About the Institute

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pp. 525-


E-ISBN-13: 9780880994026
E-ISBN-10: 0880994029
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880993708
Print-ISBN-10: 0880993707

Page Count: 525
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Occupational training -- Government policy -- United States.
  • Occupational training -- Government policy -- United States -- Evaluation.
  • Occupational training -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Employees -- Training of -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • Vocational guidance -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • United States. Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
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