- AARP Foundation, Senior Community Service Employment Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) administered by the U.S. Department of Labor is the only employment and training program targeted specifically to older workers. The program places unemployed low-income individuals over 55 years of age into work positions with non-profit or governmental organizations to build skills and provide work experience. This SPR review of the AARP Foundation’s SCSEP grant drew on data collected for SPR’s previous national SCSEP study, as well as from focus groups with selected AARP Foundation SCSEP field staff and program administrators at AARP Foundation’s national program office. The review identified challenges and possible solutions in three key program areas: recruitment and training of paid and participant staff members; program models that work for SCSEP programs in rural counties; and the use of program data to inform program improvement strategies.
- AARP Foundation’s Women’s Economic Stability Initiative: Evaluation. ExpandAARP Foundation’s Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative (BTW50+: WESI), which was selected for the receipt of a Social Innovation Fund grant by the Corporation for National and Community Service, offers core employment services to women between the ages of fifty and sixty-four, as well as access to occupational skills training in a regional in-demand occupation. SPR is currently conducting a multiyear implementation and quasi-experimental net-impact evaluation of the program. The evaluation tests the efficacy of the BTW50+: WESI program model as implemented at six community colleges in Florida, Texas, Alabama, and New Mexico. Participant surveys, periodic site visits, and analysis of data on client-level outcomes and net impacts (using a matched comparison group) are being used to assess whether the program model is effective, and how employment outcomes are influenced by client characteristics, the local economic context, and variations in program design and implementation practices across the demonstration sites.
- Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) Workforce Innovation Fund Grant: Evaluation. ExpandThe State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity received a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant for its Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) initiative. This initiative aims to develop regional partnerships and training programs for employment and career advancement in machine production, welding, machine maintenance, and logistics operations. SPR and its partner, Program and Policy Insight LLC is conducting an evaluation of the ATIM program that includes an implementation study to explore variations and challenges in program delivery, a stakeholder survey and social network analysis to examine the development and strength of regional partnerships, and a random assignment impact study to analyze the program’s effects on Workforce Investment Act-eligible adults and dislocated workers. Impact Report Implementation Study Report
- Administrative Data Research and Analysis Project. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor collects extensive data on the customers who enroll in its funded programs and initiatives. To provide the Department with insight into how its programs serve particular subgroups of the labor market, SPR, along with its partner Mathematica Policy Research, conducted this analysis of administrative data on participants in the public workforce investment system, comparing patterns of participation, services received, and outcomes attained across various special populations, including Indians and Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, and farmworkers.
- Aging Worker Initiative Demonstration Projects: Evaluation. ExpandIn the Aging Worker Initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor funded ten grantees to develop effective models for serving older workers through the public workforce system. SPR’s multiyear implementation and outcome evaluation reviewed ten demonstration projects designed to improve the capacity of regional education and workforce training systems to serve workers fifty-five years of age and older. The study was informed by multiple site visits to each demonstration project as well as by the collection and analysis of client-level data on participant characteristics and outcomes. As a result of this study, SPR developed a model of the features of effective programs serving older workers and noted that a significant proportion of older workers wanted services to support rapid reentry into the workforce, rather than participation in occupational skills training. Interim Report and Final Report.
- Alternatives to Improve Elderly Access to SNAP: Evaluation. ExpandSPR along with our subcontractor Mathematica Policy Research, is currently conducting this evaluation on behalf of the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to enable FNS to better understand how to maximize elder (60+) access to SNAP. This evaluation has four key components: an exploratory study consisting of a review of the existing SNAP literature and interviews with FNS regional staff and key SNAP experts; a study of State interventions, based primarily on in-person interviews with State SNAP administrators from 10 States; a study of elder participant perspectives, based on in-person interviews and focus groups with over 200 elder SNAP participants, non-participating applicants, and eligible non-participants in the same States; and a quantitative analysis of the effect of various interventions designed to increase elder SNAP access.
- America’s Promise Job Driven Grant Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe America’s Promise Job Driven Grant Program: Evaluation examines the approaches taken by 23 regional grantee partnerships. Each grantee consists of a regional workforce partnership designed to provide a pipeline of workers to fill existing job openings, meet existing employer needs for expansion, fuel the talent needs of entrepreneurs, and attract more jobs from overseas. These partnerships create sector-based career pathways for H1-B positions and offer tuition-free training to meet the needs of workers and businesses.
- American Job Centers Institutional Analysis: Evaluation. ExpandAmerican Job Centers (AJCs), formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers, are a critical resource for jobseekers and a primary point of entry to the nation’s federally funded workforce development programs. To provide the U.S. Department of Labor with an understanding of how AJCs operate and how AJC partners collaborate SPR, along with its partner Mathematica Policy Research, is conducting an institutional analysis of a randomly selected national sample of comprehensive AJCs. The evaluation consists of multiday site visits to comprehensive AJCs in 28 states during which evaluation team members will interview workforce board staff members, AJC managers, and supervisors and line staff from a broad array of AJC partners. In addition, the evaluation is conducting surveys of AJC partners and will use those data to conduct a social network analysis or partner interactions.
- American Samoa National Emergency Grants: Technical Assistance. ExpandIn the wake of a devastating tsunami that eliminated one in eight jobs in American Samoa overnight, the territory received an $25M National Emergency Grant ever awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor to support the recovery process. In the spring of 2012, the Department of Human Resources of the American Samoa government commissioned SPR to conduct a review of their NEG program. The primary goal of the review was to help the NEG team and partners document their experience and identify lessons and opportunities that might influence the remainder of the NEG program or complementary education, workforce or economic development initiatives in American Samoa. The team conducted dozens of interviews with government, business and community leaders, program managers, and project leaders who had experience with the NEG Program in American Samoa and in Guam. We also engaged a local team, American Samoans who worked with us as ‘story gatherers’ the entire time we were on-island, collecting stories about the tsunami experience from people who lived through it.The project’s deliverables included:
- A thirty-five minute video documentary about the tsunami and NEG project called “From Tsunami to Renewal.”
- A report detailing the context, program, lessons, and results to date of the American Samoa National Emergency Grant Program.
- Profiles of three NEG initiatives that demonstrated creative responses to documented need, engaged new partners, and generated excitement among “the public” – people with no direct connection to the NEG program.
- A website and project archive that includes: links and/or downloadable documents or videos cited in the report; “Stories from the Community” – video interviews produced by the story gatherers in which islanders described their experiences during the tsunami; and other relevant documents and resources.
- Analysis of Fiscal Year 2013 SNAP E&T State Plans and Program Data: Evaluation. ExpandThis year-long evaluation of the SNAP Employment and Training program reviewed FY 2013 State plans, program activity reports and expenditure reports for the 53 States and U.S. Territories that operate an E&T program. The analysis described program activity, assessed actual versus planned activity and costs, and provided recommendations for future data collection by FNS. The project culminated in a series of analytic tables, an analytic reporting tool to aid in the examination of the data sources, and a final report.
- Association of Farmworkers Program Children in the Fields Campaign: Evaluation. ExpandThe W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) provided funding for the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) to develop an educational and advocacy campaign in four states to inform the public and decisionmakers about the plight of farmworker children working in the fields. AFOP contracted with SPR to evaluate AFOP’s efforts to: (1) document child labor in four states, (2) educate the public and decisionmakers about farmworker labor conditions, and (3) build a grassroots movement to keep children out of the fields and in school. As part of this evaluation, SPR conducted two rounds of site visits, conducted telephone interviews with regional campaign coordinators and AFOP’s national office staff, and administered a social network analysis survey. Final Report
- Bellevue College Consortium, Health e-Workforce Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant: Evaluation. ExpandSPR is evaluating this Round 2, multistate TAACCCT grant consortium of nine community colleges that are developing and piloting new certificate and degree programs to prepare students for employment in the rapidly growing field of health information technology. The evaluation includes an implementation study based on multiple site visits to each participating college to assess project success, describe challenges, and identify lessons learned at the system level, as well as a study of student experiences and outcomes.
- Benefits Access Change Initiative: Evaluation. ExpandThe National Council on Aging (NCOA) awarded grants to states under the Benefits Access Change Initiative, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, to promote both system-level changes (e.g. in SNAP eligibility rules and recertification requirements) and improved outreach efforts to increase enrollment by seniors in public benefits programs, including SNAP. SPR’s evaluation of the Benefits Access Change Initiative included a process study and an impact study. The process study described how senior-serving agencies in three states (Colorado, Alabama, and Illinois), drawing on site visits and interviews with key initiative stakeholders at the grantee organizations as well as with State SNAP administrators in each of three case study states. The impact study used a difference-in-difference approach based on pooled cross-sectional regressions to estimate the impact of the NCOA Benefits Access Initiative on senior enrollments in SNAP and other public benefits programs.
- Benefits Enrollment Center Promising Practices: Evaluation. ExpandThe National Council on Aging (NCOA)’s Benefits Enrollment Centers help low-income seniors identify and apply for an array of benefits programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program. SPR’s evaluation of Benefits Enrollment Center promising practices studied the key activities undertaken by eight high-performing Benefits Enrollment Centers, along with the outcomes they generated, leading to a Promising Practices Report to identify successful strategies for conducting outreach, offering screenings, and providing application assistance.
- California Apprenticeship Initiative Technical Assistance and Evaluation. ExpandSPR is evaluating and providing technical assistance to 23 grantees that are developing registered apprenticeship programs and pre-apprenticeship programs. The formative evaluation is designed to inform the TA approach, document progress, and identify successes and challenges.
- Career Pathways Initiative: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Career Pathways Initiative aimed to strengthen career pathway programs for low-skilled and dislocated workers. SPR provided technical assistance to facilitate the design and development of several career pathways in eleven states and two tribal communities to reach a broader audience of states interested in developing career pathways. SPR also developed a set of tools and instructions collected within the Career Pathways Toolkit: Six Key Elements for Success to provide guidance and practices for states and local areas looking to increase credential attainment and careers in high growth industries for working learners and low-skilled or dislocated workers. At the outset of the project, SPR worked with federal staff from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education, and its partners at Jobs for the Future to develop a conceptual framework to guide this work within state and local communities – The Six Key Elements Framework. This framework was the basis for the complementary toolset that SPR developed for grantees participating in the initiative. The tools and lessons learned from the project proved so valuable to grantees that SPR worked with staff members from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a toolkit to provide resources to guide other communities with their development of career pathways systems.
- Indian and Native American Programs Career Pathways Initiative: Technical Assistance. ExpandUnder contract with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP), SPR adapted tools and resources to support the development of career pathways for Indian and Native American Programs. Those resources are featured on DINAP’s online community of practice, which SPR manages, and they include the Career Pathways Framework for Indian and Native Communities, and videos of participants and program operators talking about the importance of credentials and career pathways for Indian and Native communities.
- Connecting Competencies to Employers, Mechatronics Technician TAACCCT Grant: Evaluation. ExpandFor Clover Park Technical College in Washington State, SPR is conducting an implementation, outcome, and quasi-experimental net-impact evaluation of the implementation of a new associate of applied science transfer degree (AAS-T) program in mechatronics. SPR’s evaluation team is assessing the effectiveness of the TAACCCT grant-funded program in developing and implementing the curricula for a new seven-quarter AAS-T program; supporting student retention and success using a student navigator; and meeting employers’ needs by ensuring that the new program provides required career competencies.
- Evaluation of San José’s Bringing Everyone’s Strengths Together (BEST) Program. ExpandSPR provides program evaluation services to the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department which supports non-profit operated youth violence and gang-prevention and intervention programs in San José, CA, under the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. The evaluation collects qualitative, program and administrative data to analyze program and individual-level crime and education outcomes for participants, following SPR’s prior study of impacts of BEST on crime for the city as a whole.
- Expanding Business Engagement: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandIn summer 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor launched the Expanding Business Engagement (EBE) Technical Assistance Initiative – a two-year effort to improve the way the workforce system engages the business community. Thirteen states were awarded grants of approximately $70,000 to revitalize or enhance business engagement activities within their states. To support these grantees, SPR carried out a three day Virtual Learning Series web convening, hosted five additional webinars, and developed a comprehensive virtual toolkit and training. Expanding Business Engagement Technical Assistance Initiative: Framework & Companion Guide
Checklist: Is Your Team Ready to “Level-Up” Your Business Engagement Strategy?
Expanding Business Engagement: Planning Tools & User Manual
Expanding Business Engagement Technical Assistance Initiative: Toolkit & Resource Guide
- Gang Violence Prevention: Analysis and Technical Assistance. ExpandSPR assisted the County of Monterey, California, in the development of a Strategic Plan for Gang Violence Prevention. The plan helped the county align investments strategically and enhance its innovative, evidence-based programming in an effort to reduce gang-related violence. SPR conducted an assessment that consisted of interviews of County Department heads, representatives of key agencies operating in gang violence reduction in the area, and national experts in the field. SPR also conducted an extensive literature review of frameworks and best practices in violence prevention and of city and county plans from across the country. As part of a community engagement phase, SPR conducted community meetings in four areas of Monterey County that engaged community members in affected communities in a collaborative process. SPR guided the local leadership team through a “design thinking” process to help them envision a process that moves the community beyond gang violence.
- Grants Serving Youth Offenders: Evaluation. ExpandThis project is using experimental methods to estimate the impact of programs serving youth offenders under a variety of funding streams from the U.S. Department of Labor. The study includes identifying viable programs to include in the evaluation, recruiting and training those sites, conducting random assignment of participants, and completing an impact analysis and implementation study.
- Hmong Health Project: Phase I: Evaluation. ExpandIn response to an expected flow of Hmong refugees from Thailand, The California Endowment (TCE) developed a regional funding strategy to support community-based responses to address some of the immediate health-related needs of these newly arrived refugees and their families. The goal of Phase I’s two-year program was to ensure that access to quality health services exists in counties throughout California with the highest number of Hmong refugees through support of direct navigation services and health policy advocacy by grantees. Subsequent phases of this effort included advocacy capacity building within the Hmong community to ensure sustainable culturally responsive health access in targeted areas.
- Improving Reentry Education Project: Technical Assistance. ExpandThe Improving Reentry Education (IRE) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, seeks to support reentry education models based on the best available evidence and theory, building upon its Promoting Reentry Success through Continuity of Educational Opportunities project. SPR, in partnership with Jobs for the Future is developing a needs assessment, providing on-site and remote coaching and technical assistance to IRE grantees, and providing updates to the Reentry Education Toolkit. SPR also contributes to a community of practice for grantees.
- Indian and Native American Program: Training and Technical Assistance. ExpandThe Indian and Native American Program exists to provide high-quality job training services to Native communities in ways that are both competitive and culturally relevant. SPR provides assistance to the program through web technology, capacity building for program operations, and training on performance measures and management information systems. SPR’s technical assistance helps grantees to achieve high levels of program performance through increased capacity. SPR also maintains an online community of practice for the program.
- Individual Training Account Demonstration: Evaluation. ExpandTraining services accessed through the WIOA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs are generally funded through individual training accounts (ITAs), which participants can use to procure the training of their choice, so long as the training program is on a state’s eligible training provider (ETP) list. In March 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor made grant awards to thirteen states and local areas as part of the ITA/ETP Demonstration program, to provide support for ITA and ETP system development and to encourage innovative approaches and practices. SPR conducted a process study of these grants to explore the design and implementation of new approaches to ITAs. SPR also, along with its partner Mathematica Policy Research, conducted an experimental evaluation of six local workforce areas that were testing three models for ITAs, analyzing the outcomes of various of counseling and guidance services and grant levels. Final Report
- Integrated Intake and Effective Case Management: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandSPR and its partner, Mathematica Policy Research, collected information and resources about effective case management for workforce program participants, and integrated intake and data capture for employment and training enrollees for the Integrated Intake and Effective Case Management (IIECM) technical assistance project. SPR conducted a literature review in order to identify resources available in the field, and coded them according to topical categories. This information was disseminated in an issue brief and shared in national webinars. Deliverables from the project included tools such as archives of webinars, peer-to-peer learning exchanges, and briefing papers. Integrating Intake Among Workforce Programs: Key Strategies
Effective Case Management: Key Elements and Practices from the Field
- Justice Assistance Grant: City of San Francisco, Department of Children, Youth, and their Families: Evaluation. ExpandThe San Francisco Justice Assistance Grant’s 2014 Three Year Prevention and Intervention Strategy supports two projects aimed at reducing recidivism for San Francisco’s disconnected Transitional Age Youth (TAY) and providing a framework for preventing the school-to-prison pipeline. In addition to evaluating Juvenile Alternatives to Suspension (JASP), a school-based intervention designed to reduce suspension rates among San Francisco’s most vulnerable middle school students SPR is assessing the Young Adult Court (YAC), a collaborative court model designed to reduce recidivism and promote positive life outcomes among San Francisco’s TAY.
- Leadership Learning Network Project. ExpandSPR partnered with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development to design and support a series of convenings for twelve young leaders of nonprofit organizations in workforce and community development. These individuals were selected in a competitive process to participate in the year-long leadership development network. SPR designed and managed two formal half-day workshops/simulations based on our Weadership guide, conducted regular web-convenings and conference calls, provided coaching and technical services, and facilitated the use of social technologies to keep the group connected.
- Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP) program is an ambitious effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and designed to strengthen ties between the public workforce system and local correction facilities by establishing satellite AJCs in local jails. SPR, along with its partner Mathematica Policy Research, is conducting a formative evaluation that aims to identify common challenges and promising approaches to planning for launching the program across the 20 grantees nationwide and using those data to develop briefing papers and webinars for grantees; an implementation evaluation to document how LEAP programs operate; and a feasibility assessment to explore the potential for a rigorous impact evaluation. The formative evaluation generated five issue briefs on: Internet Access for Pre-Release Job Search Training Brief Bridging Workforce and Corrections Cultures Brief Staffing Jail-Based American Job Centers Brief Structuring Employment-Based Services Within Jail Spaces and Schedules Brief Expediting the Launch of Service Provision Brief
- Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA), Workforce Innovation Fund Grant: Evaluation. ExpandThe City of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department and Workforce Investment Board received a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant to develop the Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA), a career pathways program that targeted out-of-school youth and provided them with secondary and post-secondary education; work readiness, supportive, and training services; and employment and placement services. SPR’s evaluation of LARCA uses a random assignment design to analyze the impacts of the program, and also includes an implementation study and a cost-effectiveness analysis. Impact Report Implementation Report
- Los Angeles Regional Initiatives for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), Workforce Innovation Fund Grant: Evaluation. ExpandThe City of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department received a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant to develop the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) program, which provides workforce services for hard-to-employ populations including disconnected youth, the formerly incarcerated, and the homeless. Program participants receive training, supportive services and transitional jobs through Employment Social Enterprises (ESEs), private organizations that coordinate service delivery and employment placement services with the public workforce system. Participants also have access to additional supportive services upon employment and “bridge” jobs at employers developed to work with the target population. SPR’s evaluation of LA:RISE uses a random assignment design to analyze the impacts of the program, and also includes an implementation study and a cost-effectiveness analysis. Final Report
- Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM): Evaluation. ExpandThe M-CAM Round 3 TAACCCT grant consortium is comprised of eight community colleges. These colleges are expanding and improving career pathways in advanced manufacturing programs, including CNC machining, welding/fabrication, multi-skilled technician, and production operations. SPR’s evaluation of M-CAM includes multiple rounds of site visits, in-depth student case studies, the development of a comprehensive database system, and a quasi-experimental impact study.
Mid-Project Executive Summary Mid-Project Implementation Report
- National Council on Aging Economic Security Initiative’s Use of Online Tools: Evaluation. ExpandIn this project, local agencies serving older Americans provided ongoing economic casework services and coordinated available community services—including education and training services—to address the financial crises faced by project participants. SPR worked with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to assess the effectiveness of two technology tools piloted by local community organizations participating in NCOA’s Economic Security Initiative. This process study looked at how use of the online tools helped the projects to assess individual participant needs, coordinate referrals with other community partners, and document increases in economic security over time.
- National Emergency Grant: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration runs the National Emergency Grant (NEG) initiative to temporarily augment the services provided by training programs for workers dislocated during unexpected economic events. SPR conducted a review of and training on the NEG e-system data, and analyzed how this data was incorporated into the operations of the program. SPR also conducted phone interviews with a number of state and local NEG grantees, facilitated a national work group that focused on revising reporting guidance and instructions, and authored memos with recommendations for how the U.S. Department of Labor could improve NEG reporting. Finally, SPR prepared a technical assistance guide on NEG reporting. (https://www.doleta.gov/neg/negperf/pdf/NEG_Reporting_Guide.pdf)
- National Guard, Youth ChalleNGe and Job ChalleNGe Programs: Evaluation. ExpandNational Guard Youth ChalleNGe is an intensive residential program designed to improve the outcomes of high school dropouts; the Job ChalleNGe program, an additional component implemented by three Youth ChalleNGe grantees and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides additional vocation training and employment services and expands services for court-involved youth. SPR, along with is partners MDRC and Mathematica Policy Research, is running a multiyear evaluation that includes a random assignment impact study and implementation study that seeks to learn about both the Youth and Job ChalleNGe components.
- Newark Prisoner Reentry Initiative Replication: Evaluation. ExpandThe City of Newark’s Prisoner Re-entry Initiative Replication aimed to reduce recidivism for adult ex-offenders by offering career counseling, supportive services, case management, work readiness training, and job placement services. SPR was contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor to carry out an evaluation of this initiative. This evaluation included an implementation and outcomes study that identified and tracked major organizational, partnership, and administrative designs and challenges; described key processes and challenges involved in the planning and delivery of services; and documented and described the program’s success in providing job training and placement, transitional housing, mentoring, and other services to ex-offenders. Findings from the evaluation can be found in its Interim Report and Final Report.
- North Idaho Community College, Idaho Healthcare Partnership TAACCCT Grant: Evaluation. ExpandThe Idaho Healthcare Partnership was established to develop programs to train workers in healthcare fields currently in demand. For their TAACCCT grant, the Partnership has developed three distinct pathways in the healthcare field—diagnostic services, health informatics, and therapeutic services. SPR is evaluating all the major aspects of the Idaho Healthcare Partnership TAACCCT-funded initiative, including the administrative and partnership structures established to guide the initiative; the development and launch of the initiative’s programs of study; and the initiative’s outputs, outcomes, and impacts.
- U.S. Department of Labor Office of Regional Management: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandThe Office of Regional Management at the U.S. Department of Labor manages communications between the national office and regional offices of the national workforce system. SPR provided technical assistance to all six regional offices in the United States, helping them to improve services and systems for all workforce service providers in the country through trainings, curriculum development, and actionable assessments. The project included many distinct subtasks, including:
- Developing and conducting webinars on state workforce board capacity building
- Developing and conducting webinars and creating a toolkit focused on effective monitoring
- Assisting the state of Oklahoma with certifying its workforce system
- Developing a workforce system certification toolkit
- Establishing and supporting a community of practice related to WIA program performance
- Conducting a comprehensive assessment of WIA Youth program technical assistance needs in multiple Midwestern states
- Developing and conducting webinars and in-person training sessions on improving collaboration between Rapid Response programs and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program
- Developing and conducting webinars and in-person training on improving WIA Youth program management and service delivery
- Developing a matrix summarizing eligibility requirements across multiple workforce development programs to facilitate participant coenrollment
- Developing and conducting webinars and creating a toolkit focused on local workforce board governance
- Developing tools and providing training on coordinating workforce services for veterans
- Self-Services Provided at One-Stop Career Centers/American Job Centers: Evaluation. ExpandThe Workforce Investment Act mandated the establishment of information and self-help services as key elements to providing universal access to the workforce system within One-Stop Career Centers (now known as American Job Centers). SPR conducted an evaluation of these self-services on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor. This multi-year evaluation studied the efficacy of these services. Final Report.
- Opening Doors for Everyone: Providing Strengths-Based Customer Service at One-Stop Career Centers: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandOne-Stop Career Centers (now known as American Job Centers) are an important resource for jobseekers, whether they are seeking assistance with their job searches, guidance about training for a new field, or connection to federally funded workforce development programs. SPR was hired by the U.S Department of Labor to provide technical assistance and training to American Job Center frontline staff members in meeting the needs of underserved populations such as older workers, Indians and Native Americans, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and persons with disabilities. SPR trained frontline staff in strengths-based approaches to serving customers, through resources including webinars, a toolkit, a video, and in-person trainings.
- Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Reentry Career Pathways: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandLeveraging an Improved Reentry Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Correction engaged SPR and its partners Genz Consulting and the Woolsey Group to develop a career pathways model for the reentry population that aligns education, workforce, and supportive services both pre- and post-release. To support implementation of the model, SPR also provided technical assistance and produced a vocational decision-making guide for the prison education and work services departments.
- Professional Development Training for the Indian and Native American Program: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandAmong a range of resources that SPR has developed for the ETA’s Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP), SPR developed a highly realistic virtual tour of BearTracks, a management information system (MIS) that was custom developed for the Indian and Native American Program. The tutorial was developed using Captivate, a software tutorial authoring tool that captures screenshots and allows the recording of a synchronized narration that can then be published to the Web. This tutorial includes modules that cover each typical user case, such as how to add a new client to the system or how to search for existing clients. The modules are kept short to allow users to complete an entire module whenever they have a few spare minutes.
- Reintegration of Ex-Offenders: Impact Evaluation. ExpandTo address high rates of recidivism among reentering offenders, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (USDOL) funded a national group of 24 faith and community-based organizations to provide workforce assistance, mentoring, and case management services. SPR, funded by US DOL, conducted a random assignment evaluation that examined the impacts the RExO program had on the employment and recidivism outcomes of the more than 4,600 study participants. The evaluation included a three-year impact study, an implementation study and a survey of participants. Final Impact Report Two-Year Impact Report Implementation Study Report
- San Diego County Office of Education, California Career Pathways Trust Grant: Evaluation. ExpandThe San Diego County Office Education received a California Career Pathways Trust grant to support career pathway programming county-wide through professional development for teachers and counselors, curriculum development and industry engagement. The project features career pathways in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information and communications technology. SPR’s two-year evaluation is examining student and system-level outcomes of a career pathways program being implemented at seventeen school districts and eight community colleges in San Diego County. Key outcomes of interest include changes in academic achievement and increased coordination between school districts, community colleges, and employers to strengthen career pathways systems. SPR is using a mixed-method design to address these questions, and collaborating with the San Diego County Office of Education to strengthen its school-site data collection efforts and to promote data quality.
- San Jose Silicon Valley WIOA Strategic Plans. ExpandSPR assisted in the preparation of the San Jose Silicon Valley Workforce Development Board’s 2017 Local WIOA Strategic Plan and the Bay-Peninsula Regional Planning Unit’s WIOA Regional Plan. This included facilitating stakeholder engagement, drafting comprehensive and coordinated plans for public comment, facilitating the public comment response processes, and finalizing the package for submission to the California Workforce Development Board.
- School District-Based Strategies for Reducing Youth Involvement in Gangs and Violent Crime: Evaluation. ExpandFive urban schools employed school-based interventions and district-wide strategies, including partnerships with workforce investment systems, in efforts to reduce violence and crime among gang-involved youth. SPR’s three-year evaluation, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, included site visits to over thirty middle schools and high schools, an analysis of the management information, and analyses of youth arrest data and school records.
- Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration: Impact Evaluation. ExpandTo help reduce rates of recidivism for those transitioning out of incarceration, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) funded state and local government agencies to create evidence-based services, including those focused on employment and behavior, to the currently and formerly incarcerated. Funded by the National Institute of Justice at DOJ, SPR, along with its partners MDRC and NORC at the University of Chicago, are conducting a random assignment study of seven SCA grantees to assess the impact their programs have had on study participants’ employment and recidivism outcomes. The evaluation includes an impact study, drawing upon administrative and survey data, an implementation study and a cost study. Implementation Study Report 18-Month Impact Report 30-Month Impact Report
- Senior Community Service Employment Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which has been operating since 1965, aims to foster and promote part-time training opportunities in community service activities for workers who are fifty-five years of age or older and who have poor employment prospects; to promote the transition of program participants from subsidized work placements to unsubsidized employment in the public and private sectors; and to foster individual and household self-sufficiency for older workers. SPR’s national study of SCSEP for the U.S. Department of Labor used interviews with national SCSEP grantees, site visits to twenty-nine local program operators, and analysis of participant data from the program’s participant-level data system and from national customer satisfaction surveys to explore the organizational factors and service features that influence SCSEP program success. For more information, see the program’s Final Report.
- Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative: Evaluation. ExpandThe Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative, created and managed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) using a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, aims to increase awareness of SNAP benefits and support the SNAP application and approval process for low-income seniors. For the evaluation, SPR conducted detailed case studies of four NCOA subgrantees in Washington, Texas, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut to surface best practices in senior SNAP enrollment. For more information, please see the Promising Practices Brief.
- ShaleNET: Evaluation. ExpandShaleNET is a Round 2, TAACCCT consortium of four community colleges in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas working to expand career pathways for high-demand jobs in the shale gas and oil industry. SPR’s study includes three rounds of site visits to each college, surveys of industry employers and workforce boards, phone interviews with employer partners, and collection of educational data from participating colleges and wage data from state workforce agencies. Using these data, SPR has already completed an Interim Report focused on project implementation and early outcomes. A final report, which will include quasi-experimental impact analyses of key components of ShaleNET’s career pathways, is currently underway. Executive Summary Final Report Interim Report
- Southwest Michigan Employee Resource Network Expansion, Workforce Innovation Fund Grant: Evaluation. ExpandEmployer Resource Networks (ERNs) offer companies valuable support in connecting their low-income workers with the supportive services these individuals need to perform well on the job. The Upjohn Institute/Southwest Michigan Works! received a Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand its existing ERN, and engaged SPR to provide formative and summative assessments of the program. The evaluation includes an implementation study, to document the process of implementing the expansion, and an outcomes analysis, to assess the association between the expanded ERN and the subsequent experiences of its participants—employers, job seekers, incumbent workers, community partners, and the workforce system and other public program partners.
- Student-Centered Schools: Evaluation. ExpandThe Student-Centered Schools Evaluation was funded by the Nellie Mae foundation to look closely at four California high schools that used either the Linked Learning or Envision Schools model to achieve positive outcomes for students. SPR partnered with the Stanford Center for Opportunity, Policy, and Education on a study of career-technical education and linked learning in California. SPR created an in-depth case study of City Arts and Technical High School in San Francisco and contributed to a study report confirming the positive impact of career and technical education and its role in promoting engagement and equity for low-income students of color. For more information, see the Case Study and Full Report.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Opportunities in the Workforce System Initiative: Evaluation. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor funded a series of demonstration projects that focused on preparing disadvantaged Americans for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) jobs. The goal of these projects was to build the capacity of regional consortiums to help job seekers enter STEM fields as well as to help employers find qualified STEM workers. SPR was contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct an evaluation of five of these projects. This evaluation included as the development of case studies of each of these projects and an examination of their participants’ outcomes and characteristics. Final Report
- Support the Workforce Innovation Fund Technical Assistance Program: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandUnder contract to the U.S. Department of Labor, SPR developed two online tutorials to provide workforce practitioners who planned to apply for a Workforce Innovation Fund grant with information and suggestions for structuring project plans that were informed by evidence-based practice and were structured in their design based on a well-thought, logic model. Asynchronous online tutorials were deemed the most efficient mode to reach the target audience.
- Technology-Based Learning Initiative Demonstration Grants: Evaluation. ExpandThe Technology-Based Learning (TBL) Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, aimed to advance the use of technology in workforce training systems in order to place more people into high-growth jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded 20 TBL initiative grants to community colleges, universities, workforce boards and nonprofits that were implementing vocational training programs focused on high growth sectors such as health care information and communication technology, construction and manufacturing. SPR was funded to conduct an implementation and outcome evaluation of the TBL grants to understand how these programs were designed and their preliminary outcomes for job seekers. Project deliverables included an Interim and a Final Report.
- Third Party Evaluation of Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics and Quality Consortium (AMMQC) TAACCCT Grant. ExpandAMMQC is a consortium of four community colleges in Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The goal of AMMQC is to make systems-level investments in advanced manufacturing training programs and support the development of career pathways in collaboration with regional businesses to address skills gaps. SPR’s evaluation includes an implementation study, outcomes study, and impact study. Mount Wachusett Community College commissioned the evaluation, through a Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant (round three) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
- Trade Adjustment Assistance Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program was created by the U.S. Department of Labor to assist workers, firms, farmers, and communities affected by layoffs due to foreign trade. For this seven-year study, SPR with its partner, Mathematica Policy Research, examined the TAA program’s design and service delivery strategies and used quasi-experimental methods to estimate its impacts on workers’ subsequent employment and earnings. The evaluation drew on several data sources: a process study entailing multiple rounds of multiday site visits to a large, nationally representative sample of states and local areas; a survey of trade-affected workers and their comparison-group counterparts; and administrative data (including TAA participant data and Unemployment Insurance claimant and wage data) on tens of thousands of workers in twenty-five states. Deliverables from this project included an initial implementation report; an interim report, a final report and multiple briefing papers. The Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program: A Synthesis of Major Findings – Final Report
Estimated Impacts for Participants in the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program Under the 2002 Amendments: Final Report
The Evaluation of the Implementation of the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act (TGAAA): Final Report
Initial Implementation of the Trade Act of 2002
Practices from the Field in Outreach to Employers and Participants in the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program
Practices from the Field for Improving Case Management and Increasing Workforce System Integration in the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program
Assessment, Case Management, and Post-Training Assistance for TAA Participants
Linkages Between TAA, One-Stop Career Center Partners, and Economic Development Agencies
Rapid Response and TAA
Methodological Notes Regarding the Impact Analysis
- Tulare County Agribusiness Collaborative Demonstration Project: Evaluation and Technical Assistance. ExpandThe Tulare County Agribusiness Collaborative Demonstration Project, implemented by Tulare County, provided a promising opportunity to test new approaches to serving seasonal farmworkers by focusing on either linking farmworkers with counter-cyclical work that provides them with employment year-round or with a chance to be trained for year-round agricultural work. The U.S. Department of Labor contracted with SPR to conduct an evaluation of this seasonal farmworker cross training demonstration project as well as provide technical assistance to Tulare County during implementation. The evaluation included both qualitative and quantitative components. The qualitative component of the study consisted of five separate site visits conducted in Tulare County to document how the project was implemented and evolved over time. The quantitative component involved collecting data from administrative sources, the project contractor’s MIS, and other sources containing information on the economic conditions within Tulare County. The technical assistance component of the project consisted of an initial visit to gauge need and develop plans, and then on-going assistance to Tulare County in implementing this project. Project deliverables include an interim report, a final report and public-use data files.
- Veterans Supplemental Study: Evaluation. ExpandVeterans receive priority in the allocation of workforce development services–including assessment, career planning and connection to and funding for training—at the nation’s American Job Centers (AJCs). For this evaluation SPR, along with its partners Mathematica Policy Research and MDRC, conducted site visits to AJCs in 28 local workforce areas, observing services provided to veterans and interview AJC and Jobs for Veterans State Grants-funded staff members. The study also collected administrative data to examine the characteristics, enrollment patterns and outcomes of veterans who requested employment services at AJCs. The project resulted in a report, Providing Services to Veterans Through the Public Workforce System: Descriptive Findings from the WIA Gold Standard Evaluation, Volume I.
- WEadership: Enhancing Workforce Leadership. ExpandThe goal of this project was to examine leadership in the workforce system — what leaders do, how they do it, and towards what ends. SPR facilitated group conversations with intergovernmental organizations, conducted in-depth individual interviews with workforce leaders (nominated by their peers) and their colleagues, engaged scholars, business leaders, and thought leaders in the leadership space. The project team conceptualized a new model of collaborative leadership called, “Weadership,” documented a set of six Weadership practices, and identified existing and emerging policy areas that workforce leaders innovate from. SPR presented findings, models, and ideas ongoing in nearly 40 community and professional venues. The U.S. Department of Labor sponsored this project. EWL Guide
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Employment Development Initiative: Evaluation. ExpandThe William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funded nine demonstration projects to test approaches to recruiting and serving low-wage workers with dependent children. To inform the Foundation’s grant-making in this area, SPR conducted detailed case studies of the implementation experiences and outcomes achieved by project grantees, collected and analyzed client-level data on participant outcomes, and explored the effectiveness of different strategies to help poor working individuals with dependent children enter high-skill and high-wage occupations and achieve earnings above the household self-sufficiency level. Final Report
- WIOA/WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs: Evaluation. ExpandThe Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs, currently authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) but previously under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), provide job search assistance, career counseling, and training services across the nation. SPR is part of a team of organizations that including our partner Mathematica (prime contractor), MDRC, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, that are conducting an impact evaluation of the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs across twenty-eight randomly selected Local Workforce Development Areas. The evaluation uses a three-group random assignment design to test the impact of program services on participants’ employment, earnings, and other outcomes, as well as an implementation study to understand variations in service delivery across the participating sites. As part of the implementation study, the evaluation also collected data on a number of other topics related to the public workforce system, including the activities and funding of workforce boards, board participation in sector strategies and regional collaboration, business services, and the configurations of American Job Center networks.Key deliverables from this evaluation include an implementation report, an impact report, and a series of briefing papers, linked below:
15-month impact Report
Enhanced Intake for All American Job Center Customers: A Functionally-Aligned Model
Governing the Public Workforce System: The Structure and Priorities of Local Workforce Investment Boards
Meeting the Needs of Businesses through the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs
Moving Toward Integrated Job Seeker Services: Collaboration Among American Job Center Program
Organizing American Job Centers into Networks for the Delivery of Public Workforce Services
The Workforce Investment Act Accountability System: The Role of Performance Measures in Service Delivery
- Workforce Accelerator Fund Evaluation. ExpandSPR’s Workforce Accelerator Fund (WAF) Evaluation is examining the implementation of over 100 projects around California that are creating new and innovative models and modes of delivery to achieve better outcomes for people underserved by more traditional workforce development system strategies, the long-term unemployed, returning veterans, individuals with disabilities, low-income workers, CalWORKS participants, disconnected youth, ex-offenders, and immigrant job seekers. The goal of these grants, issued by the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) over five separate rounds is to help these grantees test new ideas, forge new partnerships, and build innovation capacity, thus creating a new business as usual. The evaluation seeks to explore the WAF grants, producing a series of deliverables that that track the initiative’s accomplishments over its several years of operation, distill lessons around program implementation, and identify practices that have helped grantees build their capacity to innovate.
- Workforce Data Quality Initiative: Technical Assistance and Training. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor launched the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) to support states in developing and improving longitudinal workforce databases. By promoting improvements in data quality and accessibility, the WDQI aims to assist states in developing data systems that provide full portraits of individual’s educational and workforce pathways. SPR is providing technical assistance to WDQI grantees to support them in achieving the goals of the initiative. This assistance includes annual grantee convenings, regular interactive webinars presenting content on topics of interest to grantees, such as sustainability planning, inviting subject matter experts to present on topics such as FERPA and data governance, and hosting peer exchanges featuring members of the WDQI grantee community. All webinars are archived and downloadable via the online WDQI community of practice that SPR also maintains. Putting Data to Work: A Guide to Building Longitudinal Data Systems
The Power of Longitudinal Data Systems: Connecting Data Across Programs and Over Time
- Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Study. ExpandThe Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was enacted by the U.S. Department of Labor to support job seekers with all facets of job readiness. For this implementation study, SPR visited over thirty workforce areas in twenty-four states to understand WIA’s implementation, operation, and progress toward meeting legislative requirements in its first several years. In addition, SPR conducted two separate sub-studies focused on specific components of WIA. One of these sub-studies examined business engagement with local workforce boards and services provided under WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs to businesses. The other sub-study examined services provided to homeless, limited English proficient, and disabled individuals.
- Workforce Investment Act Performance Measurement System: Evaluation. ExpandThe Workforce Investment Act (WIA) established a performance accountability system to understand how effective states and local areas are in achieving the workforce investment activities funded under WIA. The U.S. Department of Labor hired SPR to evaluate whether this system was adequately capturing continuous improvement. The evaluation included site visits to fourteen Local Workforce Investment Areas and a survey of all Local Workforce Investment Areas operating under WIA. Report
- Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data: Online Training. ExpandThe Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data (WIASRD) is a collection of records on individual participants in WIA programs. SPR provided technical assistance for WIASRD by creating a multi-lesson online training with real-life scenarios to assist in training state and local staff who need to access and utilize this data.
- Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Implementation Study. ExpandThe WIOA Implementation Study will examine the variation in the approaches states take to implement key WIOA provisions, assess early implementation progress, and identify needs for further guidance or technical assistance. To accomplish this, the study includes (1) a structured review of states’ approved WIOA plans, (2) early interviews with key informants, (3) a survey of state-level workforce administrators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, (4) in-depth site visits to 18 states and 36 local areas, and (5) an analysis of participant-level administrative data.
- Workforce System: Data Analysis. ExpandThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) requires its funded programs to collect and report performance data. For over twenty years, SPR has overseen the analysis of this data, including processing, conducting data quality reviews, and creating summary reports for nearly all of ETA’s major workforce programs.
- Workforce System Strategies for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers: Technical Assistance. ExpandTo support the U.S. Department of Labor’s online communities of practice for programs serving farmworkers, SPR conducted scholarly and field research to identify evidence-based and innovative practices connecting migrant and seasonal farmworkers with employment and disseminate this information to practitioners in the field.
- Yavapai NSF: Evaluation. ExpandSPR is the third-party evaluator for Yavapai’s NSF Grant–Engineered for Success: Engineering Technician Training for Rural Arizona. Our evaluation is a mixed-method evaluation that combines outcome reports with qualitative data about faculty, student, and employer perceptions of the program.
- Youth Ambassadors for Peace Program: Evaluation. ExpandThe Youth Ambassadors for Peace program is designed to reconnect at-risk youth to education, employment, and leadership activities in Monterey County. Funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant, SPR is using a developmental evaluation and action research approach to documenting the implementation of the program, youth outcomes, and costs associated with program operations.
- YouthBuild: Impact Evaluation. ExpandFunded by the U.S. Department of Labor, YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24. SPR and its partner MDRC, conducted this seven-year, national, random-assignment evaluation to test the effects of the YouthBuild program on disadvantaged youths’ educational attainment, employment, earnings, and other outcomes. The project includes a large-scale random assignment study to measure impacts, a process study to understand program implementation and participants, a cost-effectiveness study, and a survey of participants, who will be tracked for up to four years after random assignment. The study sample for the random assignment component includes more than four thousand youth in over seventy-five YouthBuild programs throughout the United States. Implementation Study Report
- YouthBuild, Youth Offender Grants: Evaluation. ExpandThe YouthBuild Youth Offender grants provided additional funds to allow existing YouthBuild programs to enroll youth who had involvement with the juvenile justice system. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, this evaluation examined the outcomes of thirty-five YouthBuild programs that were implementing Youth Offender grants. Evaluation activities included two rounds of site visits to grantees, case studies with eighty youth, and an analysis of management information system data to examine what factors are associated with variations in program and youth outcomes. The Final Report provides more detail.
- Youth Career Connect: Evaluation. ExpandThe Youth CareerConnect grant program is designed to encourage America’s school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment system, and their partners to scale up evidence-based high school models that will transform the high school experience for America’s youth. The twenty-four YCC grantees are forming partnerships with high schools, community colleges, and employers to provide students with integrated curricula, work-based learning opportunities, professional development, and small learning communities. SPR and its partner Mathematica Policy Research are collaborating on this five-year evaluation that includes 79 school districts and 134 high schools. The evaluation has two main components. An impact study that looks at whether programs improve student education and employment outcomes and an implementation study that describes how YCC programs operate.
- Youth Workforce Development, San Francisco Department of Children Youth and their Families: Evaluation. ExpandSPR was selected by the San Francisco Department of Children Youth and their Families to evaluate its Youth Workforce Development Programs (YWD). The goals of the evaluation were to:
- Describe the programmatic approaches of YWD programs, including participant characteristics and factors associated with program participation and retention.
- Assess the degree to which YWD programs meet performance measures.
- Describe the quality of in-program activities and work experience placements within YWD programs, and the factors are associated with high quality programs and the achievement of performance outcomes.
- Examine the quality of capacity building funded by DCYF and other agencies, and the degree to which capacity building influences program quality.
- Determine the impact of DCYF’s investment on its priority goals: 1) Children and youth are ready to learn; and 2) Youth are succeeding in school.
Core evaluation activities included the following:
- Half-day site visits to eight selected YWD programs to understand program features and document best practices.
- Analysis of DCYF survey data and administrative data.
For more information, or to discuss potential projects, please contact: