The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings

The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings

The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings

The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings

Synopsis

This volume examines WIA objectives and the evidence on program performance and impact.

Excerpt

This chapter is based in part on a larger study of the implementation of WIA conducted with colleagues in eight states and 16 localities from 2003 to 2005. After presenting background on WIA and the study, we present key results concerning one of the more important and controversial aspects of the act: increased emphasis on market and market-like mechanisms in the delivery of workforce services in the United States. We then discuss these findings and wrap up with a series of conclusions and recommendations, both for informing the WIA reauthorization process, which is now under way, and for providing guidance to the European Social Fund.

BACKGROUND

WIA has been described as a “major overhaul” of the nation’s approach to employment and training, as a “fundamental departure” from previous programs, and as “the first significant attempt to retool” these programs in two decades (Barnow and King 2003). The act institutionalized changes in workforce policies and practices that began to surface as a handful of early-implementing states (e.g., Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin) operationalized the act’s provisions beginning in July 1999. These and other states had developed and implemented One-Stop Career Centers prior to the 1998 enactment of WIA legislation, some of them, such as . . .

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