Examine data from a randomized evaluation of 472 youths enrolled in the Job Corps program; and finds the program increased future earnings and reduced dependence on long-term disability benefits for youth with medical limitations.

“[The authors] leverage the [National Job Corps Study] (NJCS)’s experimental design and data to assess Job Corps’ impacts on employment and other outcomes for 472 youths who initially identified a ‘serious physical or emotional problem’ that limited their work or daily activities….For…youths with medical limitations (YMLs) at baseline, [the authors] estimate impacts over a period covering four years after random assignment and compare them to impacts for other participating youths” (p.1).

“The evaluation intake sample consisted of nearly all youths who applied to the Job Corps program in the contiguous 48 states between November 1994 and December 1995 and were subsequently found eligible to participate in it” (p.3).

This report focused on the subset of youths in the intake sample who had medical limitations at baseline. “[The] results are based on self-reported information from survey data. This suggests a measure of caution in interpreting [the] findings, even though the results are generally robust to adjustments used in the original NJCS evaluation to account for the potential influence of survey response issues” (p.2).

“In Section II, [the authors] provide additional background on Job Corps, including an overview of its operations structure, a summary of the NJCS evaluation, and a discussion of potential effectiveness for youth with disabilities. In Section III, [they] describe the YML sample from the NJCS evaluation, and [they] outline [their] main analysis methods. In Section IV, [they] present [the] main impact estimates across a range of training and labor-market outcomes. In Section V, [they] put these impact estimates in context by comparing them to impact estimates obtained for NJCS youth without limitations stemming from medical conditions at baseline, as well as examine how YML impacts differed across subgroups. In Section VI, [they] present results from sensitivity analyses intended to gauge the potential extent to which our conclusions might be affected by reliance on self-reported data. Section VII, includes additional discussion of [the] results and potential avenues for future research” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Improving the Outcomes of Youth with Medical Limitations Through Comprehensive Training and Employment Services: Evidence from the National Job Corps Study

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Job Corps substantially increased human capital investments received by YMLs during the four-year period after random assignment. YML participants received approximately 1,810 hours of education and training, but would have received only 780 had they not had access to Job Corps….Per-participant impacts of Job Corps on high school completion were…an increase of over 15 percentage points compared to a counterfactual base of 43 percent. This effect came almost entirely through attainment of a General Educational Development (GED) degree” (p.1). “Participation in Job Corps also resulted in significant increases in the self-reported earnings of YMLs, impacts that were much larger than the impacts for youths who did not indicate a medical limitation at baseline. Per-participant impacts on the earnings of YMLs were over $3,000 in each of the second through fourth years after random assignment…” (p.2). “Job Corps also at least halved the dollar amount of SSI benefits that YMLs reported receiving during the four-year follow-up period. The per-participant reduction was $2,000 on a base of just under $4,000. Among other youths, both the base amount of SSI and the impacts were substantially smaller. The impact for YMLs is also particularly notable given that other employment interventions for youth with disabilities have not typically achieved reductions in the collection of long-term disability benefits. Taken together, [the] findings suggest that the intensive model of Job Corps could be a promising option for serving transition-age youth with disabilities…” (p.2). “[T]he Job Corps program and economic context have changed in important ways since the 1990s, including through concerted efforts to make public programs more accessible to people with disabilities. Further research that includes the use of administrative data could provide an improved understanding of the impacts for youth served in the 1990s, as well as changes since that point in the composition of YMLs entering Job Corps, the services they receive, and the average impacts of the program” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)