Presents findings from an evaluation of a Southern California workforce development program created to improve employment and educational services provided to disconnected young adults between 18 and 24; the evaluation includes an outcome study, a quasi-experimental impact study, and a cost-benefit analysis.

“In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), through the Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF), awarded a grant to the Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) in Riverside, California. The purpose of the grant was to implement the Linking Innovation, Knowledge, and Employment (@LIKE) program in three counties in Southern California (Riverside, Imperial, and San Bernardino). Young adults are disconnecting from the education and labor market mainstream at alarming rates. This disconnect has persisted for more than a decade—in part because systems, policies, funding streams, and even advocacy related to adolescents and young adults are obsolete. The architects of @LIKE designed it to address skill gaps and provide educational and employment services to disconnected young adults ages 18­-24. To be ‘disconnected,’ these individuals must have been disconnected from education and employment for at least 90 days, and face one or more of the following barriers: low income, gang involved, ex-offender, public assistance recipient, or recently separated veteran.

The program aims at enabling disconnected individuals to meet educational and labor market goals, remain employed, and increase their earnings. Each county conducts activities according to the program’s three goals: (1) help participants achieve educational and employment goals, (2) create a network through which the consortium members can collaborate to better serve this hard-to-reach population, and (3) develop a service delivery model that can be replicated across the country to improve the lives of disconnected young adults nationwide.

In November 2012, the Riverside County EDA [began]…an evaluation of the @LIKE program. This Final Evaluation Report contains the results of the following: (1) Process Study, (2) Implementation Study, (3) Outcomes Study, (4) Impact Study, and (5) Cost-Benefit Study” (p.0). “The impact evaluation is a quasi-experimental design; Propensity Score Matching was used to form the comparison group” (p.ii).

(Abstractor: Author)