Based on significant work in the field, the authors of this paper identify three major contextual issues shaping the re-authorization of the Workforce Investment Act: 1) the imperative across the United States for better systems integration; 2) the realization that social change happens most effectively at the regional level; and 3) the need for new systems of accountability that better integrate the outputs of both economic development and workforce development systems. This paper then suggests critical workforce system characteristics and policy factors that are needed to assure the success of collaborative strategic efforts.
Despite positive signs of economic growth and a rising stock market, millions of unemployed American workers see no end to the Great Recession that wrecked their finances and threw their lives into turmoil. A new nationwide survey conducted in March 2010 of more than 900 workers who were jobless in August 2009 documents their continuing struggle to find jobs and the sacrifices they have endured in a punishing economy. The report, entitled No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment, was prepared by professors Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, a research and policy center at Rutgers University. The report is based on a six-month follow-up survey with the national scientific sample of unemployed Americans reported in the Heldrich Center's widely acclaimed Anguish of Unemployment report released in September 2009. Seventy-six percent of those interviewed in August 2009 were re-interviewed by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, California between March 10 and 23 of this year. No End in Sight underscores that positive growth in the nation's economy has done little to reach millions of skilled workers still adrift in the most severe period of prolonged joblessness in decades. According to Professor Van Horn, the study's co-author: "Despite recent signs that the worst phase of the Great Recession may be behind us, the vast majority of jobless Americans have not found new jobs. When they did find work, most took pay cuts and/or lost benefits. Among those still searching for work -- many for more than a year -- are millions who have never been without a job and who have at least a college education. The inability of these job seekers to find new opportunities is an economic and cultural disaster."
The U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism, an extremely useful overview for employment and training programs assisting ex-offenders. TO SEE IT, CLICK "DOWNLOAD NOW" ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS SCREEN.
WIOA lists ex-offenders as one of the categories of “individuals with a barrier to employment” targeted for assistance. As most inmates are rearrested within 5 years of their release, reintegration assistance — including employment-related help — is essential.
Reintegration assistance seeks to both improve the prospects of ex-offenders and to minimize recidivism. The latest U.S. Bureau of Justice Statutes study found that 76.6 percent of prisoners released were rearrested within 5 years, with the majority (43.4) being rearrested within the first year of release. This suggests the importance of assistance within that first year, to reduce recidivism.
The literature on what works best for ex-offenders is unfortunately sparse, but has been collected in the What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse, with separate sections on employment and education. Few studies meet the level of rigor the Clearinghouse requires, and those for employment and training showed mixed results: the only two projects found to reduce recidivism had no employment impacts, and conversely one project that increased employment didn’t reduce recidivism. Among education projects, postsecondary education had the best impact in reducing recidivism, adult basic education showing results not as positive, vocational education had mixed results, and high school equivalency projects had no recidivism effects.
The report also includes a good overview of Federal ex-offender programs, by Federal Department, plus a detailed summary of the Second Chance Act that funds many of these programs.
Impact of Joblessness
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released a study that sheds light on the continuing hardship caused by joblessness, even after individuals return to work. Individuals who directly moved from one job to another secured a 6.9 percent increase in hourly wages, while those who experienced joblessness between jobs suffered an 18.5 percent drop in hourly wages. Similarly, average weekly working hours rose by 3.3 percent for those who changed jobs without interruption, while those who were jobless between jobs experienced a 9.7 percent drop in weekly worktime. Moreover, 37.3 percent of those who’d been jobless had no benefits on their current job, compared to only 13.2 percent of those who changed jobs without interruption.
To see our summary of this study, including a table and chart plus the link to the original study, CLICK "DOWNLOAD NOW" ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS SCREEN.
An important advantage of the study is that it queried individuals about their wages, benefits and worktime at specific times connected with the start and conclusion of specific jobs that the individuals held in the past. The principal U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveys do not question individuals in this manner, but instead focus on an individual’s current job.
That individuals who experience joblessness suffer labor market hardship is well known, but it is useful to be able to quantify the degree of hardship, which underlines the importance of employment, education and training programs to ameliorate the impact of joblessness. The study did not distinguish between those who quit versus those who involuntarily lost their previous job, but BLS data show that the vast majority (about 90 percent in recent years) conclude their jobs involuntarily. The data could also be used to roughly calculate the costs of joblessness even after individuals return to work.
Highlights from New Census Bureau Data on Geographic Mobility
In recent months the U.S. Census Bureau has issued a series of useful tables and charts on geographic mobility trends, which are highly relevant to the planning and operation of employment and training programs. We've summarized the key findings related to employment, and the included the links to each type of data.
Americans are a famously mobile people, exemplified by the westward expansion. But even following the purported closing of the frontier in 1890 after all the current states had been settled, Americans continued their marked propensity to move. The 20th century witnessed mass immigration, the migration of African Americans from the South northward, and the later Rust Belt-to-Sun Belt migration. Americans are no longer as peripatetic, but in any given year about one in nine households change residences. The cumulative effect of this rate of mobility has a substantial impact on the U.S. economy. A 2010 study found that more than two-fifths of Americans no longer resided in their state, territory or country where they were born — and this of course includes many children and young people who will later move. By age 75 or older, only half of Americans resided in the state where they were born. Even this figure doesn’t count most moves, which tend to occur within states. Based on recent patterns, the average 18 year-old is expected to move 9 more times.
You can find information in our summary on
• How mobile Americans are, and how much we move;
• Job-related and other reasons behind moves;
• How far people move;
• How to find state, metro area, and county-specific geographic mobility data;
• Geographic mobility mapping tools;
• Understanding geographic terminology; and
• Internet links to geographic mobility data.
To see it, CLICK "DOWNLOAD NOW" ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS SCREEN.
Key Alternate Workforce Data Sources
Federal research and evaluation Web sites are the best source of information on what works in employment, training and education programs and projects, which are published principally by the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
We have compiled the most important sources of such data in one place, with special attention to two U.S. Employment and Training (ETA) sites, the Workforce System Strategies repository and its Office of Policy Development and Research Research Publication Database.
TO SEE IT, CLICK "DOWNLOAD NOW" ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS SCREEN.
WIOA Job Centers and Service Areas, by State
Two of the basic building blocks of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are its workforce areas and network of American Job Centers (AJCs, also known as one-stop centers). Both elements have existed for many years, but many states are now reviewing both designations. We present a statistical portrait of these two key components of WIOA’s infrastructure, based on the first available data since WIOA’s implementation.
To see it, CLICK "DOWNLOAD NOW" ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS SCREEN.
Each state weighs various factors in designating workforce areas and situating AJCs, but the two simplest considerations are the size and population of the state. The latest U.S. Census Bureau data on each state’s population size and area in square miles provides common two benchmarks to compare states with each other: to avoid too many decimals, we've presented the results against the ratios per 100,000 square miles, and per million persons aged 18 to 64. We have used this age range to approximate the working-age population, a number which is much more stable than counts of the unemployed or the labor force, on the assumption that the states do not quickly reconfigure workforce areas or open or close centers in response to economic volatility.
For each category, we highlight the top-ranking states (including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico as states), and sometimes indicate the states at the lower end of the spectrum; the national or state average; and the range from lowest to highest. We also identify some of the patterns that partially explain the results. One state ranks relatively high in the number of AJCs both in terms of square miles and population size: Kentucky.
Note: to facilitate geographic comparisons, we will later add several maps to this resource. We will also update state population figures when the Census Bureau issues 2015 data.
CBPP has issued a useful overview of state-specific General Assistance (GA) programs, one of the few income assistance programs for poor adults without minor children. In the past quarter century, the number of states offering GA to employable adults has fallen by more than half: from 25 to 11 states between 1989 and 2015.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Admission for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) has published a 4-page synopsis of its current research in progress, including two projects focusing on employment assistance.
The Census Bureau’s 2013 income and poverty report shows the first significant drop in the poverty rate since 2006. After holding at about 15.0 percent for the three previous years, the rate fell to 14.5 percent in 2013. Median earnings for full-time, year-round workers in 2013 were $50,033 for men and $39,157 for women — neither gender has experienced statistically-significant growth in inflation-adjusted earnings since 2009.
According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among working-age Americans has not grown in the past three years. Among all adults, about 84% used the Internet in 2015. Younger adults are most likely to use the Internet, but all three age groups under 65 who were tracked show essentially no change in the past three years: 18-29 year-olds (96-97%); 30-49 year-olds (92-93%); and 50-64 year-olds (81%).
BLS) has issued its latest employment projections, for both occupations and industries, which show employment growth or decline, both in terms of the percentage change and the number of employees, through 2024.
April 30th Webinar: Approaches to Obligating Reemployment Funds by September 30, 2010
The U.S. Employment and Training Administration has just issued six podcast guides to help individuals find and use labor market and workforce statistics. Topics are: 1. Unemployment data 2. Dislocated worker data 3. Employment projections 4. Industry data 5. Geographic data 6. Economic data The podcast guides are written simply and presume no previous subject matter or statistical knowledge. They should prove helpful for a broad variety of audiences and purposes, including grant applications; targeting growing industries and occupations; pinpointing labor market hardship; state and regional planning; and assessing program effectiveness. Each podcast is roughly 10 minutes long and includes a transcript of 2-3 pages. The podcast and transcript can be used either separately or together: the links can't be accessed from the podcasts, but the podcasts include visuals not available in the transcripts. Each topical presentation includes basic definitions, a brief historical background, links to the most important data sources, and practical tips on how to interpret and use the data and avoid common mistakes.
The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics has just issued its 2 leading annual publications, the Digest of Education Statistics and the Condition of Education.
In its second follow-up of the 2009 class of ninth graders, NCES found that 89 percent graduated on time in 2013, and another 3 percent acquired a high school equivalency certificate. Some 4 percent had dropped out, and an identical percentage remained in high school, presumably due to repeating a grade.
A new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper has reviewed the findings of 207 employment and training evaluations worldwide, finding generally long-term positive effects, especially for training and subsidized private sector employment.
The Upjohn Institute has produced a useful map of WIOA's nearly 600 service delivery areas, which includes the most recent statistics on the employment outcomes and characteristics of WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth participants, along with each area’s unemployment rates.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 income and poverty report shows no drop in the poverty rate for persons, and no growth in inflation-adjusted household income or earnings for full-time, year-round male or female workers.
The U.S. Census Bureau routinely offers a wide variety of free online training sessions, including Webinars and 5-minute podcasts. We provide you with examples of training courses, and all the relevant links to take a course.
Tired of being the last to know? One simple trick to staying on top of announcements, information, research and data is to make the news come to you. Many organizations have instant, daily, weekly, and sometimes monthly updates. We've assembled the links to key employment, education, and social policy-related sites that you can use to sign up for these alerts.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will on June 16, 2015 issue 2014 annual workforce data on persons with disabilities.
When released, these data will be available at the BLS Homepage.
For corresponding 2013 and earlier BLS workforce data on persons with disabilities — as well as monthly and other disability statistics — see BLS Disability Data.
This folder contains materials presented and discussed at NASWA-ETA's Webinar on April 30th and other relevant tools and resources.
Reemployment Initiative Customizable Slide Presentation Power Point Slideshare.
An ideal vision for the Reemployment system, developed by the Reemployment Architects and Designers at the National Reemployment Summit in Baltimore.
Labor market analysts have to cut through the fog of overlapping, conflicting and even nonsensical uses of the terms “green jobs” and “green collar workers” before they can give valid and reliable counts of workers employed in them, provide employment demand growth estimates and identify the requisite KSAs for green employment (as opposed to employment in their non-green predecessors). This monograph explores the myths and mysteries of green collar jobs and offers an action agenda to aid workforce professionals in understanding and implementing job training requirements imposed by Title X of the Green Jobs Act of 2007.