Compares the employment status and earnings of veterans and non-veterans who participated in workforce development programs through propensity score matching; and describes differences in program participation and outcomes based on data from Washington State between 2002 to 2012.

“Building on previous research that tracks the workforce system, [this report] examine[s] the specific experiences of veterans in the workforce development system in Washington State during the years 2002–2012. Using wage and employment data from the Unemployment Insurance system (for the years 2000–2012) and program participation and demographic data from the state workforce caseload management system (covering the years 2002–2012), [the author] address[es] these three research questions [through regression analyses and propensity score matching]:

1) Which workforce services did veterans use most frequently?

2) Within key programs and across all programs, did veterans obtain and retain employment at the same rates as other participants?

3) Were postprogram earnings levels of veteran participants similar to those of nonveteran participants?

The goal of this research is to assess the effectiveness of the workforce development system for military veterans, one of its key customer groups” (p.1).

“[L]ittle research has focused exclusively on veterans in the workforce development system and their associated labor market experiences, despite the prioritization of veterans within the system. The most closely related research to the current paper is an evaluation of the Priority of Service provision of the Jobs for Veterans Act, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor. It finds that service receipt within the [Workforce Investment Act] WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs was similar for veterans and nonveterans, that employment rates were similar, and that earnings were higher among veterans both before and after program participation” (p.4).

“Based on the limited related literature,…the hypotheses of this paper are that

1) veterans who have recently participated [in] the workforce development system will have lower rates of employment than nonveterans, since that is the trend among recent veterans in the population at large, but

2) veterans who are employed will have higher earnings than nonveterans, since that is also the trend among less-skilled veterans and nonveterans in the general population.

Overall, the aim of the current research is to add to…knowledge of the experiences of veterans and shed light on strengths and opportunities within the realm of workforce development service provision for veterans” (p.5).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Employment rates of veterans after program receipt are substantially lower than those for nonveterans. Meanwhile, average earnings are slightly higher, conditional on employment. These results highlight the ongoing challenge of closing the gap in employment between veterans and nonveterans to reach goals stated by policymakers” (Abstract). “[The results] section first presents descriptive statistics for 2002–2012 across the workforce development system in Washington State, comparing veterans and nonveterans. Any person who received any of the following services is included: WIA Adult, Wagner-Peyser, Claimant Placement Program, WIA Dislocated Worker, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program [(DVOP)], and Local Veterans Employment Representative [(LVER)]” (p.8). “From a program perspective with the universe of all workforce development participants and not just veterans, these numbers suggest that 9 percent of people who used WIA Adult and Labor Exchange were veterans, and 83 percent of people using DVOP and 86 percent of people using LVER were veterans (since these programs are specifically for veterans, these numbers might reflect underreporting of veteran status)” (p.10). “[I]n all cases, veterans were much less likely than nonveterans to be employed within 6 months or a year after program exit. The economic downturn appears to have affected both groups negatively and may offer a partial explanation for the employment rates that were lower one year after exit than at six months after exit. Another possibility is that individuals lost or left jobs relatively quickly after an initial period of postprogram employment” (p.11). “The basic results suggest that employed veterans experience higher earnings than nonveterans at both six months and one year after program exit, among both women and men” (p.12). “A persistent result throughout this research is that veterans who have participated in workforce development programs are less likely to be employed after the program compared to nonveterans. The reason for that is not clear from this study but would be a good topic for future and more qualitative research” (p.18). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)