About the Study
In 2016, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) awarded America’s Promise Job Driven Training grants to 23 organizations. The funding supported the creation and expansion of partnerships—including workforce development agencies, institutions of higher education, economic development agencies, employers, and community-based organizations—aimed at preparing workers for careers in middle- to high-skilled industries and occupations. The program most commonly targets three sectors: the advanced manufacturing, health care, and information technology (IT) industries.
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 H-1B portfolio’s growing evidence-base to inform employment and training programs and policies and addresses departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- Sector Training Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Issue Brief – Lessons from the America’s Promise Partnerships (Issue Brief, October 2021)
- Adapting Sector Training Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons from America's Promise Webinar (February 2021)
- H-1B America's Promise Data-Driven Decision Making: Using Data for Strategic Planning (Webinar, April 2019)
- Building Evidence: The America’s Promise Job-Driven Grant Program Evaluation (Webinar, September 2017)
- What impact does America's Promise and/or its components have on the outcomes of participants including obtaining: education/training (including tuition-free education); industry-recognized credentials and degrees; relevant skills with job market value; employment and earnings; and employment or advancement within H1-B industries?
- What are the characteristics of the program participants? To what extent do impacts vary across selected subpopulations?
- How were regional workforce systems and partnerships built and maintained, including employer engagement in sector strategies and aligning federal resources? What factors influenced the development and maintenance of the systems and partnerships over time?
- What are the types and combinations of services and approaches provided? How were the components operationalized and the program implemented? What implementation practices appear promising for replication?
- Virtual outreach, intake, and case management required new approaches, technologies, and flexibility. Partnerships shifted to using online meeting platforms or recorded videos to describe services and eligibility to potential applicants. While virtual case management allowed for greater flexibility, it also introduced challenges with the changes in process and approach required by virtual service.
- Success in virtual job placement and career fairs required investment of staff time and technology. Four partnerships adopted virtual job placements services, while six held virtual job fairs. These changes were not always smooth and required additional staff time to execute.
- New barriers to training participation and completion emerged despite the creative use of resources and referral networks. The reported barriers included participants' lack of access to reliable internet connection or technology, their concerns about childcare, and their concerns about contracting COVID-19, particularly as they felt increasing pressure to enter employment to alleviate financial pressures.
- In the advanced manufacturing sector, hands-on trainings offered by grantees were halted, discontinued, or shifted to hybrid or in-person learning with strict capacity and distancing rules.
- In the healthcare sector, the pandemic amplified existing shortages of health care workers. At the same time, grantee target areas saw healthcare furloughs and layoffs as demand for preventative, routine, and elective care fell.
- In the IT sector, grantees reported a smooth transition to virtual learning with few disruptions to the industry in target areas. However, an increased pool of qualified applicants posed challenges for job placement of the grantees' participants.
Bellotti, J., English, B., Harrington, A. (2021) Mathematica. Lessons from America’s Promise Partnerships: Sector Training Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic. 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.