Do Public Employment and Training Programs Work?

Carolyn J. Heinrich, Peter R. Mueser, Kenneth R. Troske, Kyung Seong Jeon, Daver C. Kahvecioglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We estimate impacts on earnings and employment of the two primary adult workforce support and training programs under the U.S. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) using administrative data on 160,000 participants from 12 states for up to four years following program entry. We find that participants in the WIA Adult program, who typically enter with poor work histories, realize improved employment levels and increased average quarterly earnings of several hundred dollars. Earnings gains for Dislocated Worker program participants are appreciably smaller, although these participants do experience employment gains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalIZA Journal of Labor Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank participants in seminars at the Australian National University, the Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn (IZA), the Melbourne Institute for Applied Economic and Social Research, and participants in the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management annual meetings, the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) workshop on social exclusion, the European Association of Labor Economists annual meetings, the Institute for Poverty Summer Research Workshop (Wisconsin), and the Missouri Economic Conference, and in particular for comments by Burt Barnow, Marco Caliendo, Paul Decker, Cory Koedel, Andrew Leigh, Sheena McConnell, Jeffrey Smith, and Arne Uhlendorff. The analyses presented here include and extend work supported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and presented in “Workforce Investment Act NonExperimental Net Impact Evaluation” (IMPAQ International, Final Report, December 2008, Department of Labor ETAOP 2009–10). The authors wish to acknowledge the central role in this project played by the staff at IMPAQ, including Nicholas Bill, Shirisha Busan, Goska Grodsky, Eileen Poe-Yamagata, and Ted Shen. Jacob Benus served as project director. Thanks are due to the many state agency staff who worked to provide data, to David Stevens who facilitated provision of data for Maryland, and to Suzanne Troske, who supported data processing in Kentucky. Jonathan Simonetta oversaw the project for DOL. The paper has not been reviewed by DOL; conclusions presented are the sole responsibility of the authors. Responsible editor: V. Joseph Hotz.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Heinrich et al.; licensee Springer.


  • Job training
  • Matching
  • Program evaluation
  • Workforce investment act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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