What we're asking in workforce & income

Does a performance-based incentive model directed toward local workforce boards improve client employment outcomes?

Over 6 million individuals in the US are unemployed and actively seeking work. Effective public support services can assist these individuals in identifying and securing quality employment opportunities. Identifying policy innovations that enhance public employment support for high-need, diverse populations is critical.

Though research has produced mixed findings on the effectiveness of state-based performance funding models, applications of performance measurement and incentive systems are emerging in workforce development. Using a quasi-experimental research design, PRG tested the impacts of a statewide performance-based incentive model on employment and wage outcomes of job seekers in Florida.

Performance Funding Model (PFM)

Supported by a Workforce Innovation Fund grant, the PFM is an incentive program used to reward local workforce development boards for their performance relative to seven performance metrics. The program was developed with the aim of improving employment and wage outcomes for jobseekers throughout the state of Florida. To assess the impact of the PFM, PRG employed a quasi-experimental design with an off-year comparison group.

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Comparative Short Interrupted Time Series (CSITS) Design

The CSITS is an analytic differencing approach derived from the difference-in-difference study design. In a CSITS design, the impacts of a policy or program are evaluated by examining whether the treatment group deviates from its baseline trend by a greater amount than the comparison group. PRG has employed this method recently in an impact study of a performance funding model in Florida. In the study, PRG selected the CSITS based on an analysis of graphical scatterplots of mean wage and employment outcomes for eight quarters prior to enrollment in the quasi-experimental study.

Do public workforce outreach and navigation services targeted toward stop-outs facilitate students' return to college?

U.S. workforce is confronted with acute worker shortages due to a lack of alignment between the needs of employers and the skills of jobseekers. To meet future workforce demands – in technology, advanced manufacturing, cyber-security, renewable energy, and agribusiness sectors – new populations must be trained and educated. In the U.S., the unemployment rate for individuals without some postsecondary education or training is more than double than that of their peers. Reconnecting out-of-school youth and adults with postsecondary training in high-growth careers is a workforce imperative and priority for communities struggling with high rates of long-term unemployment and underemployment.

Supported by a Workforce Innovation Fund grant, PRG employed an RCT to assess the impact of a program that aimed to reconnect unemployed, out-of-school youth with postsecondary education and training opportunities that would lead to industry-recognized credentials and employment in high-growth and living-wage careers. 

Bridge to Employment and Academic Marketplace (BEAM)

PRG researchers designed and executed an individual-level randomized controlled trial (RCT) to isolate the causal impact of BEAM, an intensive outreach, case management, and training intervention implemented at job centers in New York, on customer educational and employment outcomes. This report provides an overview of the impact study design and findings.

 + Impact report