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Evaluating National Ongoing Programs: Implementing the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation

Release Date

Jan 20, 2016

Publication Author(s)

  • Mathematica Policy Research
  • Andrew Clarkwest
  • AnnaMaria McCutcheon
  • Dana Rotz
  • Jessica Ziegler
  • Ken Fortson
  • Linda Rosenberg
  • Paul Burkander
  • Peter Schochet


The Adult Program and the Dislocated Worker Program, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) (followed by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, the successor to WIA), are two of the nation's largest publicly funded employment and training programs. The U.S. Department of Labor funded the first experimental evaluation of these programs: the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation. The central goal of this evaluation is to produce rigorous estimates of the effectiveness of the programs nationally rather than the effectiveness of the programs as they were operated in a subset of Local Workforce Investment Areas (local areas).

The report will be of interest to those planning or conducting similar studies, and documents the steps the evaluation team and staffs in the 28 local workforce investment areas (LWIAs) participating in the study took to implement and monitor the random assignment evaluation. The report describes how the evaluation was implemented in practice. It provides an overview of the WIA Gold Study; describes the process for selecting and recruiting LWIAs for the evaluation; and highlights the resources required to work with local areas to implement study procedures and procedures for executing random assignment. This report summarizes lessons learned for both policy makers and designers of evaluations of future national, ongoing programs.

Affiliation: Mathematica Policy Research, Social Policy Research Associates, MDRC, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Authors: Katie Bodenlos, Paul Burkander, Andrew Clarkwest, Ken Fortson, Annalisa Mastri, Sheena McConnell, AnnaMaria McCutcheon, Linda Rosenberg, Dana Rotz, Peter Schochet, Jessica Ziegler

Key Words: WIA, Workforce Investment Act, Adult Program, Dislocated Worker Program, evaluation, implementation of randomized control trial, Adult and/or Dislocated Worker Program Impact Analysis, experimental evaluation, evaluation of national ongoing programs

Final Report