About the Study
In 2015, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and funded contractor 2M Research Services to conduct the Urban Employment for Youth and Young Adults Demonstration Grants Implementation Evaluation. The implementation study aims to document how the seven Urban Youth Employment Demonstration grantee communities implemented their programs, describe perceived challenges and successes, and identify emerging lessons. Researchers collected qualitative data through site visits (in 2016 and early 2017) and analyzed quantitative program data on enrollment and job placement.
In 2015, the Department of Labor awarded two-year grants to seven cities—Baltimore, MD; Camden, NJ; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Long Beach, CA; North Charleston, SC; and St. Louis, MO—to support projects addressing the workforce needs of disconnected youth and young adults, ages 16–29, in communities experiencing high rates of unemployment, crime, and poverty, and low high school graduation rates. Communities identified their own goals, strategies, and program models. No sites implemented the same program model, though many offered similar types of services.
This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual process to determine the Department’s research priorities for the upcoming year. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform employment and training programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- Urban Employment for Youth and Young Adults Demonstration Grants Implementation Evaluation (Final Report, November 2017)
- Recruitment Strategies and Practices for Disconnected Youth (Issue Brief, November 2017)
- Evaluate the extent to which each of the seven sites was able to develop urban youth employment projects in accordance with their proposed plans, and/or adjust their plans.
- Identify emerging practices and lessons learned from initial plans through full-scale implementation.
- Assess how issues of structure, the environment, partnerships, resources, organization, and programmatic interventions affected implementation and initial outcomes at the seven sites.
- Determine the extent to which the sites were successfully recruiting and enrolling the participants who were most in need, based on the identified target populations, and identify the short-term outcomes of the sites’ projects.
- Six of the seven sites developed new program models to provide workforce development services to disconnected youth. These programs differed significantly from standard WIOA models. The six sites rearranged the order of services to their participants or introduced new models, such as allowing participants to “shop” for only those services they want and offering individualized psycho-social services.
- All project sites experienced challenges with recruitment and engagement due to barriers faced by the disconnected youth or lack of trust, and staff noted that a combination of strategies was more effective in meeting their goals. For example, projects hired youth connectors with local community knowledge to recruit participants and established neighborhood-based, youth-focused community service centers for both recruitment and program activities.
- Project sites leveraged new and existing community partnerships to provide education, training, and employment. Most core partnerships came from preexisting relationships. Six of the seven sites developed new partnerships to provide additional support or wraparound services, such as occupational training and mentoring, respectively.
- Establishing relationships with employers was one of the most challenging areas of implementation. Site visit data indicated that it could take between six months and one year of engagement with an employer before a job was offered. Sites with successful employer relationships often used more than one strategy to develop those relationships, such as holding industry career fairs and developing hiring agreements with employers.
2M Research Services, LLC. (2017). Urban Employment for Youth And Young Adults Demonstration Grants Implementation Evaluation: Final Report. Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor.
Gordon, E., Ullrich, S. (2017). 2M Research Services, LLC. Recruitment Strategies and Practices for Disconnected Youth: Findings from an Implementation Study of the Department of Labor Urban Employment Demonstration Grants. Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.