About the Study
In 2020, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and funded contractor Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Research Portfolio Project. The evidence scans aim to (1) generate ideas on promising workforce development strategies that could be rigorously evaluated in the WIOA context and (2) describe recent and long-term economic and policy developments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with relevance to the public workforce system and continuous improvement of WIOA 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.
- Summary of Stakeholder Input on Research Priorities (Stakeholder Brief, January 2022)
- A Research Evidence Scan of Key Strategies Related to WIOA (Evidence Scan, July 2021)
- A Scan of Key Trends in the Labor Market and Workforce Development System (Key Trends Scan, July 2021)
- What does the literature state about the effectiveness of the most common strategies implemented under WIOA, both at the national and the state level?
- What gaps are there in the literature, both at the national level and the state level, regarding the full portfolio of WIOA programs and services?
- How have states integrated research and evaluation into their implementation of WIOA services? What barriers do they encounter when doing so?
- What implications do recent policy and economic developments have on future research projects related to workforce programs and the different target populations relevant to WIOA programs?
Summary of Stakeholder Input on Research Priorities
- Stakeholders’ five priority workforce service strategy topics included work-based learning and apprenticeship; career pathways, advancement, and stackable credentials; integrated service and co-enrollment; employer service and engagement; and career planning and navigation.
- The five priority topics regarding the changing world of work included job changes related to COVID-19; changes in the value of credentials; remote services; data infrastructure; and remote work.
- Two cross-cutting themes emerged during discussions on many topics: the need to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion, and tradeoffs between short- and long-term research needs. Stakeholders discussed the development of diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, and suggested using data from the public workforce system to determine whether certain groups are more or less likely to receive services and whether career pathways support or restrict equitable career access. Separately, DOL must weigh the need to perform rigorous, long-term impact studies against the need to address time-sensitive evidence gaps with shorter-term but possibly less rigorous studies.
Dunham, K., Deutsch, J., Yañez, A, Holcomb, P. (2021). Mathematica. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Summary of Stakeholder Input on Research Priorities. Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor.
Deutsch, J., Allison-Clark, K., Yañez, A. (2021). Mathematica. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Research Portfolio: A Research Evidence Scan of Key Strategies Related to WIOA. Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor.
Key Trends Scan
Mack, M., Dunham, K. (2021). Mathematica. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Research Portfolio A Scan of Key Trends in the Labor Market and Workforce Development System. 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.