Evaluates the positive and negative aspects of Personal Reemployment Accounts (PRAs) as a method in reemployment services for Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients.

“The PRA is a unique strategy in reemployment services, intended to put unemployed workers in control of their career planning and job search efforts, and to provide them with the financial support and/or incentive to get back to work quickly. While the outcomes of recipients with regard to duration of UI receipt and employment and earnings have been examined, the key question of the effectiveness of PRAs in speeding reemployment and shortening UI receipt has not been answered. And, it cannot be assessed how individuals might have responded to the PRA in the absence of the ITA alternative. The final step in assessing PRAs fully would be a rigorous experiment” (p.xxvii).

Abstractor: Author

Full Publication Title: Responses to Personal Reemployment Accounts (PRAs): Findings from the Demonstration States Final Evaluation Report

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The lessons from this evaluation of the PRA experience are of value to policymakers and program administrators as the concept of self-managed accounts in the workforce investment system continues to evolve beyond this specific demonstration” (p.xv). • “In six of the seven original demonstration states, the majority of individuals who were offered a PRA accepted it. However, the acceptance rate of the PRA differs substantially across the demonstration states from a low of 46 percent in Minnesota to a high of 88 percent in Mississippi” (p.xix). • “The majority of PRA recipients are white, between the ages of 35 and 54, and have a high school diploma but less than a college degree. About half of recipients are men and are married” (p.xix). • “By definition, PRA recipients are considered more likely than other UI recipients to exhaust their benefits” (p. xxiv). • “In the quarter following PRA entry, roughly half of all PRA recipients are employed and this overall rate does not change much by the third quarter” (p. xxv). • “UI receipt patterns and employment rates are quite different across different groups of PRA recipients” (p. xxv). “The experiences of the demonstration states, program staff, and PRA recipients suggest some considerations about PRAs specifically, and customer-managed accounts in general” (p. xxvi). • “The broad purposes of the account give recipients a great deal of flexibility in supporting their reemployment efforts, but the bonus and service purchase components might send mixed messages and serve different purposes” (p. xxvi). • “The right amount for a reemployment account may be a function of its purpose to the recipient” (p.xxvi). • “PRA recipients have the $3,000 at their disposal for up to one year. The analysis shows that among all PRA users, the last disbursement from the account is made, on average, within the first four and a half months. This suggests that the one-year length may not be necessary, particularly if an account is focused on quick reemployment” (p.xxvi). (Abstractor: Author)