Job Training Programs for Dislocated Workers: The Positive Effects of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
There has been a substantial amount of research the past several decades measuring the effectiveness of federally subsidized Department of Labor (DOL) programs to assist the unemployed. However, there is little to no research yet evaluating the most recent renewal of programs as defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014. This paper measures the WIOA’s effectiveness in helping dislocated workers who have obtained new skills, training, or education - a critically important opportunity for those who have experienced a job separation. The analysis uses probit to predict the probability of workers entering employment after training and propensity score matching on observational data to approximate an experimental setup. The matched data are then used in estimating the change in earnings conditional upon finishing training. The results are positive and statistically significant in support of the hypothesis that WIOA services help the unemployed to upgrade their skills and improve their prospects in the workforce.