About the Project
In 2020, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to fund contractors Mathematica, Social Policy Research Associates, and the National Association of Workforce Boards to conduct the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Research Portfolio Project. The project is generating a wide range of short and long-term research options for the Department of Labor to consider as it seeks to strategically build rigorous evidence to support the continuous improvement of ETA programs and services.
This Department of Labor-funded project supports ETA in fulfilling requirements under WIOA Section 169 related to conducting evaluations of WIOA activities and conducting stakeholder consultations regarding ETA’s 5-year research and evaluation strategic plan. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform employment and training programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
Research questions will emerge as the project gathers input from key stakeholders on potential research and evaluation priorities for ETA. Some initial questions of interest for this project will include, but are not limited to:
- 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?
Key project activities include:
- Gathering input from stakeholders and experts, including a diverse set of workforce leaders, advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to identify critical knowledge gaps within and across WIOA programs and services. To help inform discussions with these key stakeholders, the project will develop:
- An Environmental Scan to determine key dynamics affecting the labor market such as the acceleration of automation, the growth of non-traditional employment, changes in legislation, the evolving demand for skills, and other topics.
- An Evidence Review to identify what is known about key workforce strategies and components, gaps in the existing knowledge base, and evidence that requires updating for the current context.
- Generating a range of research and evaluation options for DOL to consider including in its future research plans, spanning the WIOA portfolio of programs. The potential research projects will address priority research questions identified by DOL, based on input from the stakeholders and experts.
- Assessing the feasibility of conducting an impact study related to a WIOA program, component, or service strategy. Pending DOL’s decision, the project may subsequently conduct the study and disseminate findings to stakeholders.
Project Duration: 4 years
Contract End Date: September 2024
Contractors: Mathematica Policy Research, Social Policy Research Associates, and the National Association of Workforce Boards
For More Information: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov
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.