About the Study
In 2020, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to fund Abt Associates to conduct the Support to Communities Grant Program Evaluation. This implementation study aims to provide new and critical information on promising practices and implementation challenges in providing services that address both employment and treatment needs for those with opioid use disorders (OUDs) and substance use disorders (SUDs).
In 2018 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) developed Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development, a pilot grant program to address the economic and workforce impacts associated with the high rates of OUD or SUD. The grantees will provide resources to local workforce development boards to (1) develop innovative approaches to address the economic and workforce-related impacts of SUD and OUD in local communities; (2) establish partnerships with employers, treatment and training providers, and others to address SUDs or OUDs; (3) provide career, training, and employment services as well as screening, treatment, and other supportive services to affected individuals and families; and (4) encourage program participants to enter professions that could address the OUD/SUD crisis and/or provide skills training that would help them find and retain employment in in-demand occupations.
This Department of Labor-funded study is a requirement of the 2018 Support Act. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform substance use disorder and work programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- What were the types and combinations of programs, approaches or services provided under the Support to Communities grantees’ programs?
- How were systems and partnerships built and maintained? What factors influenced the development and maintenance of the systems and partnerships? What are the characteristics of program infrastructure, data management, and technical assistance?
- How were these programs implemented? What factors or conditions influenced implementation (i.e., partnerships, programs, types of the services provided, strategies, participants, infrastructure, data management, technical assistance)? What challenges arose in implementation, and how were those challenges overcome? What implementation practices appear promising or important to the success for program?
- The knowledge development task will clarify grantees’ proposed plans for implementation and how plans have shifted due to COVID-19. The task involves rapid review of grantee materials, clarification calls with grantees to further understand program design and how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting design and implementation, and rapid refinement of existing literature summaries. This task also involves finalizing the evaluation design, including site selection. The task will culminate in knowledge development and site selection memos.
- The implementation study will provide three-levels of insight for DOL and the grantees: (1) documenting and contrasting implementation approaches for grantees and sub-grantees through structured video interviews, site visits, grantee, sub-grantee, and partner surveys, and administrative data collection to assess service receipt; (2) understanding participant experience and motivation through in-depth interviews; and (3) strengthening implementation using implementation learning activities.
- The analysis and reporting task will document implementation approaches, challenges, and successes; provide rapid analyses to inform ongoing improvement; and develop practitioner-friendly products.
Project Duration: 60 Months
Contract End Date: September 2025
Contractor: Abt Associates, MDRC
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.