About this Study
In 2020, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to fund contractors Abt Associates in partnership with MEF Associates to conduct the Ready to Work (RTW) Partnership Grant Evaluation program. The evaluation included an implementation study, summarized here, and an experimental impact study to be released in 2021 and 2022. A prior implementation report focused on the first year of funding and how grantees translated Department of Labor resources and guidance into operational programs and 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.
- Providing Employment Services to the Long-Term Unemployed: Implementation and Sustainability of the Programs in the Ready to Work Partnership Grand Evaluation (Implementation Report, July 2021)
- Providing Employment Services to the Long-Term Unemployed: Insights on Implementation and Sustainability from the Ready to Work Partnership Grant Evaluation (Summary Brief, July 2021)
- Interim Report (November 2017)
- How were each of the four grantee programs designed? What training components do they include? Who are they serving? How were they implemented?
- What are the RTW programs' effects on participant outcomes of interest, including educational attainment, employment, earnings, and other short- and long-term outcomes for the long-term unemployed?
- Grantees fully used the program’s flexibility. Grantees used the program flexibility to address local needs, with some emphasizing occupational training to upgrade skills, while others focused on developing employment readiness skills and/or connections to employers.
- In the JVS and Worksystems programs, at least two-thirds of enrollments were focused on occupational training (largely in IT).
- In contrast, RochesterWorks! provided employment readiness activities to nearly all of its enrollees, with only about one quarter attending occupational training.
- AAWDC’s participants received both services.
- Grantees used funds to proactively pursue networking. To enhance chances for employment, all grantees prioritized developing industry connections. They explored work-based training options and encouraged employer visits and the posting of job opportunities. They also solicited input from employers on program design and invited them to job fairs.
- Work-based training was the least-common service provided. Grantees reported that work-based training (e.g., subsidized employment or unpaid work experience) remained a small percentage of services due to the large time investment needed to develop positions and build trust with employers.
- An improving economy changed the grant program dynamics. Grantees reported that as the economy improved, the more qualified enrollees found work. The remaining participants had lower skills and less experience and grantees had to modify services to meet this unexpected need. Changes included:
- Increasing emphasis on occupational training.
- Acknowledging that it was critical that customized assistance also provided mental health and confidence-building services. Using more aggressive recruitment strategies to continue to meet grant enrollment targets as participants left for jobs.
- Most participants were older with some higher education. More than 80 percent of program participants were unemployed at enrollment, with about onethird having been unemployed for a year or more. One-third to one-half had a bachelor’s degree, while most others had some college or a technical or associates degree. Because of the education and experience requirements, enrollees had an average age of 45, with about one-fifth older than age 55. About half of participants were receiving some type of public benefit.
- Grantees hoped to continue some program components. Although they could not afford to continue all grant-funded services, the grantees planned to seek new funding to continue motivation and confidence-building activities, cohort training (which prepares small groups to meet the needs of an employer), and building on relationships with employers and workforce development agencies initiated during the grant period.
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.