An Evaluation of Workforce Development Services in Travis County

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An Evaluation of Workforce Development Services in Travis County

Principal Investigator:

Tara C. Smith

Sponsor:

Travis County, Texas

Project Duration:

January 2006 - September 2014

Description:

Travis County makes numerous investments in workforce development activities each year. In order to understand the impact of these investments, the County has asked the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas to conduct an evaluation of the workforce development services it funds.

Evaluation Components

The evaluation is organized into two areas of focus: (1) workforce demonstration projects, and (2) other workforce development services. These are described in detail below.

Evaluation of Workforce Demonstration Projects

The Rapid Employment Model (REM) demonstration project initiated by Travis County is a collaborative effort of the County and Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board and area workforce service providers to decrease the amount of time an individual is out of work by connecting individuals with short-term (less than 6 weeks) training.

The Gainful Employment Model (GEM) demonstration project is also a collaborative effort of the County and Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board.  GEM provides access to longer-term (up to 9 months) workforce training.

The evaluation of these workforce demonstration projects includes an outcomes evaluation and exploratory impacts analysis based on a quasi-experimental research design.

The ongoing outcomes evaluation documents the results of the demonstration projects, including the number of clients served; number completing training; number placed in employment; wages earned; and other outputs/outcomes that can be determined largely through linked administrative data. Data for this portion of the evaluation comes from the administrative databases maintained by each provider; The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST); Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records; and other sources, such as TANF and Food Stamp Employment and Training program records.

We use a quasi-experimental design to match REM and GEM participants with similar individuals receiving other workforce services available in the region. Differences in outcomes for participants and comparison group members are analyzed to determine the impact of each demonstration project.

Key evaluation questions include:

  • How effective is the demonstration project, as measured by reduced time unemployed, reduced unemployment insurance payments, employment retention and increased earnings?
  • How do key participant outcomes compare to those for similar, nonparticipating individuals?
  • Which skills training programs are most effective for graduates and why?
  • What changes can be made to services/treatments to improve outcomes for participants?

Evaluation of Local Workforce Development Services

The evaluation also examines the impact of the County’s investments in local workforce development services, including: services to youth, ex-offenders, and other disadvantaged County residents. The evaluation of these workforce development programs includes both outcomes and impacts analyses, similar to those described above.  Programs participating in this portion of the evaluation include: Austin Academy, American Youthworks, Austin Area Urban League, Goodwill, Skillpoint Alliance’s Construction Gateway program, and Capital IDEA.

Evaluation of Emergency Assistance Services

As part of the extension agreement for 2013, RMC is contracted to begin evaluating emergency assistance services.

 

Reports Available

An Evaluation of Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2013 Update

Authors:Tara C. Smith, Kristen Kristensen, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: December 2013

Publication Type:
Report 50pp

The Local Investment in Workforce Development Evaluation: Travis County-Funded 2009/2010 Participant Plus, Longer-Term Outcomes for Capital IDEA
Authors: Tara C. Smith, Kristin Christensen, Daniel G. Schroeder, Christopher T. King
Date: December 2012
Publication Type: Report. 34pp

Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2012 Evaluation Update
Authors
: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: January 2012
Publication Type: Report. 32pp.

Evaluation of Local Workforce Demonstration Projects – Travis County’s REM and GEM Projects
Authors
: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: January 2012
Publication Type: Report. 14pp.

Exploratory ReturnonInvestment Analysis of Local Workforce Investments
Researchers: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King
Date: August 2011
Publication Type: Evaluation Report. 24pp.
(Research Brief available at this link.)

Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2011 Evaluation Update
Authors
: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: April 2011
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Rapid Employment Model Evaluation -  2011 Update
Authors: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: April 2011
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Local Investments in Workforce Development: Evaluation Update #2
Authors:
Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: January 2010
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Rapid Employment Model Evaluation: Update #2
Authors:
Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: January 2010
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Evaluating Local Workforce Investments: Results for Short- and Long-Term Training in Austin (TX)

Authors: Christopher T. King, Tara C. Smith, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date:
November 2009
Publication Type:
Report (prepared for 2009 APPAM Research Conference)

Local Investments in Workforce Development: Evaluation Update
Authors: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: December 2008
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Rapid Employment Model Evaluation: Update
Authors: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King, Daniel G. Schroeder
Date: December 2008
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Local Investments in Workforce Development: Initial Evaluation Findings
Authors:
Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King
Date: December 2007
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

Rapid Employment Model Evaluation: Initial Findings
Authors: Tara C. Smith, Christopher T. King
Date: December 2007
Publication Type: Evaluation Report

 
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