This report provides findings from an evaluation impact study of the Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) program conducted by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and its state partner agencies. 

DCEO used funding from a $12 million, four-year U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant to support the development of five regional partnerships to prepare adults for advanced manufacturing employment and career advancement and bridge the gap between employers’ need and jobseekers needing upskilling.

Findings presented include the results of a cost-effectiveness analysis of ATIM relative to WIA. ATIM had a positive and statistically significant impact on enrollment in and completion of occupational skills training and completion of multiple (stacked) certificates for ATIM participants relative to the control group, as well as positive impacts earnings and, in select quarters, employment, during the second year following the random assignment of eligible applicants. Members of the treatment group (able to enroll in ATIM) or a control group (could access WIA and other services in the community but could not enroll in ATIM).

The ATIM program prepared adults and dislocated workers, eligible for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services, for employment and career advancement in advanced manufacturing jobs in machine production, welding, mechatronics, and logistics occupations. Using an accelerated career pathways approach, ATIM offered individualized assessment, career counseling, and service planning; accelerated training schedules to expedite participant readiness for job openings; and work-based training opportunities.

Major Findings & Recommendations

The study found that ATIM participants:

1) Were much more likely to enroll in training than members of the control group.

2) Had higher rates of certificate attainment and earned more total certificates, on average, than those in the control group.

3) Experienced higher rates of employment following random assignment than members of the control group.

Other interesting findings were:

1) Costs per participant varied across regions, driven by the intensity of service uptake and type of training partners, rather than by enrollment levels alone.

2) The average per participant cost for ATIM was significantly higher than the per participant cost for the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs during the grant period.

3) Although ATIM participants enjoyed higher earnings and higher rates of employment, the program had to spend larger amounts to achieve these gains.