Reports on the findings from an implementation evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. The study includes details about the service delivery context and the services provided across the 28 areas that were randomly selected for the study, and offers suggestions about how findings can help guide the implementation of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“In 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor…funded the [Workforce Investment Act] (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation…to estimate the impact and cost-effectiveness of the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs and provide a detailed description of their operations. This report discusses the services offered by the two programs and the contexts in which they operated, highlighting service-delivery features that might have a direct bearing on customers’ employment and other outcomes” (p.ix).

“The study team recruited 28 randomly selected local areas in 19 states to participate in the study. The random selection of local areas means that the findings from the study can be attributed to the programs nationally...Customers…were randomly assigned to one of the following groups:

Full-WIA group. Customers in this group could receive any services for which they were eligible…

Core-and-intensive group. Customers in this group could receive any core or intensive services provided by the WIA Adult or Dislocated Worker program…They could not receive WIA-funded training.

Core group. Customers in this group could receive only core services and no intensive or training services funded by the WIA Adult or Dislocated Worker program.

Random assignment began in November 2011 and continued through April 2013....About 36,000 customers were randomly assigned.

The implementation study, the focus of this report, was conducted to describe the services that were offered to customers in each of the three study groups as well as the contexts in which the services were offered. Data for this study were collected through two rounds of…site visits to each of the 28 local areas. The first round of visits took place [in]…2012 and the second round took place [in]…2013. Across both rounds of visits, [the study team] visited 102 [American Job Centers (AJCs)]...During the site visits, [the study team] interviewed local WIA administrators, AJC managers, WIA career counselors [and other WIA staff]. [The study team] also interviewed customers, reviewed case files, and observed some services” (p.x).

This implementation report is part of a series that also includes an impact report, a series of briefing papers, and a report focused on serving veterans through the program.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Providing Public Workforce Services to Job Seekers: Implementation Findings on the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs


Major Findings & Recommendations

The implementation study provides findings about WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker program service delivery context, core services, intensive services, training services, and supportive and follow-up services. Key findings from across these divisions include the following: Core Services: •“All study local areas provided a similar menu of core services” (p.xiii). Intensive Services: •“Distinctions between core and intensive services were not always clear. The study local areas differed in which services they defined as ‘intensive’ and which they defined as ‘core’” (p.xvi). Training Services: •“The proportion of customers who received training varied significantly across study local areas” (p.xvi). The report concludes with crosscutting findings and future implications, much of which center on how recommendations from this evaluation will apply to [the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] (WIOA), which “superseded WIA in July 2015” (p.ix). The authors note that “although WIOA makes some important changes to the public workforce investment system, the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs continue to exist and offer job seekers a similar set of services. Lessons learned from the [study] about service-delivery practices can inform policymakers and program administrators as WIOA is implemented” (p.ix). “Findings from the study suggest that many of the changes made by WIOA add flexibility for local areas to continue in directions they were already heading. For example: •Blending core and intensive services. WIOA eliminates core and intensive services, replacing them with ‘career services’.... •Eliminating the sequence of services. WIOA removes the requirement that customers receive core and intensive services (now career services) prior to receiving training services. Many study local areas, and especially those that focused on providing services to customers interested in training, moved customers through core and intensive services quickly… •Collocating ES and WIA programs. WIOA requires Adult and Dislocated Worker program and [Employment Services (ES)] staff to be collocated at AJCs. All but one of the 19 states with local areas participating in the study required that these program staff be physically located at comprehensive centers, at least part time” (p.xviii-xix). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)