Presents evidence about effective job training programs for both adults and youth which informed the development of an action plan designed to make the federal workforce system more demand-driven.
Four federal agencies undertook a summary of “the evidence on [effective] adult and youth job training strategies and programs” (p.1) in response to a directive from President Obama to “lead a Government-wide review of federal programs in the workforce and training system to ensure these programs are designed to equip the nation’s workers with skills matching the needs of employers looking to hire” (p.3). The resource presents “a synthesis of evidence on adult and youth job training strategies, training-related supports, and other important strategies, such as employer/industry engagement and cross-agency/system collaboration” (p.3). The “effective or promising job training strategies and programs in this synthesis were identified through literature reviews, structured evidence reviews of evaluations conducted for Federal Clearinghouses, and research summaries” (p.3). The report is organized into three sections: the first synthesizes what worked for adults, the second highlights what worked for youth, and the third summarizes “the main findings based on evidence to date, highlights gaps in evidence, and suggests direction for future research” (p.3) The resource was used to develop an action plan to make the workforce system “more job driven, integrated, and effective” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The resource presents evidence on effective employment and training programs targeting both adults and youth, and it notes that the evidence on youth programs is less extensive. What worked for adults: • “A post-secondary education, particularly a degree or industry-recognized credential related to jobs in demand” (p.1). • “Flexible and innovative training and post-secondary education approaches, such as contextual learning and bridge programs” (p.1). • “The more closely training is related to a real job or occupation, the better the results for training participants” (p.1). • “Employer and industry engagement strategies” (p.1). • “Having access to accurate and up-to-date labor market data, as well as information and guidance about career and training opportunities” (p.1). • “Lower-skilled individuals and those with multiple barriers to employment benefit from coordinated strategies across systems” (p.1). What worked for youth: • “Early exposure to a range of career and higher education information and opportunities” (p.1). • “Work experience for youth still in school, including paid summer jobs” (p.1). • “Occupation- and industry-based training programs…show some promising employment outcomes for youth. Work-based learning…[suggests] that low-income, economically disadvantaged youth are successful in programs where they receive wages” (p.1-2). • “Youth disconnected from work and school…have the most difficult challenges succeeding in adulthood, but there is some evidence that they can benefit from comprehensive and integrated models that combine education, occupational skills, and support services” (p.2) Plan for addressing gaps in the evidence: • “Expand and improve access to labor market, occupational, and skills data and continue basic research on labor markets and employment” (p.22). • “Initiate pilots and demonstrations to test innovative strategies” (p.24). • “Improve systems and strategies to share evidence reviews” (p.24). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)