Oct 17, 2019
Lower-skilled workers face a shrinking pool of employment opportunities. To combat this, the city of New Orleans developed a job training program that helped these individuals train for and find skilled jobs in particular industries. The authors of this report examine that program's implementation and effectiveness and perform a cost-benefit analysis. Findings include improved wage growth and a positive return on investment.
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Lower-skilled workers in the United States face a shrinking pool of employment opportunities. To combat this, the city of New Orleans' Office of Workforce Development (OWD) developed a job training program with a grant, awarded in 2014, from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund. The program, Career Pathways, was designed to help lower-skilled, unemployed, and underemployed individuals train for and find skilled jobs in the fields of advanced manufacturing and energy, medical care, and information technology.
The authors of this report examine that program's implementation and effectiveness and perform a cost-benefit analysis using a randomized controlled trial design. They found that the program created strong, valuable partnerships among OWD, training providers, and employers. Of all screening mechanisms used to select trainees, the Test of Adult Basic Education was most likely to identify applicants who were likely to complete the training program, whereas screening by community partners was least successful. Some aspects of program implementation needed strengthening, such as the provision of hands-on work experience and the distribution of supplementary benefits to trainees.
The team found that the Career Pathways program produced meaningful, positive results in several areas. These included individuals' wage growth, job satisfaction, and the program's return on investment. There were also areas that had no significant change, such as arrest rates, likelihood of employment, and the duration of trainees' employment.
Data Sources and Collection Methods
Discussion of Findings
Implementation Analysis Methodology
Outcome Analysis Methodology
Cost-Benefit Study Methodology