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The Ready to Work Partnership Grant Evaluation: Findings from the Interim Impact Study of Four Employment Services Programs for the Long-Term Unemployed

Release Date

May 27, 2022

Publication Author(s)

  • Abt Associates
  • Elizabeth Copson
  • Jacob Klerman
  • Jane Herr
  • Karin Martinson
  • MEF Associates

Research Methodology

  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis


  • Adult
  • Dislocated Worker
  • Employers

States & Territories

  • California
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Oregon


In 2014, the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration awarded four-year grants totaling $180 million to 24 grantees for the Ready to Work Partnership (RTW) initiative. Grant funds were used to provide a range of customized services to the long-term unemployed. RTW partnerships of workforce agencies, training providers, employers, and other local organizations established programs to prepare workers for employment, particularly in occupations and industries being filled by foreign workers through the H-1B visa program.

The evaluation of the RTW grant program includes two major components, an implementation study and an impact study. Four programs were selected purposively as best candidates to support the impact evaluation: Maryland Tech Connection - Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (Anne Arundel, MD); Skills to Work in Technology and Job Search Accelerator Programs - Jewish Vocational Services (San Francisco, CA), Finger Lakes Hired Program - RochesterWorks! (Rochester, NY), and Reboot Northwest - Worksystems, Inc. (Multnomah and Washington counties, OR). The implementation study examined the design, operation, and sustainability of the programs. This report presents results from the interim impact study, 18 months after random assignment, and provides estimates of program effects on participant outcomes of interest, including preliminary estimates for credential, attainment, employment, and earnings.

Key Findings: The RTW programs provided a range of services including occupational training, work-based training, employment readiness courses, and job search assistance, produced moderate impacts on service receipt, and increased the number of hours of employment readiness courses participants attended. However, the study did not find positive impacts on earnings, employment, or receipt of public benefits at 18 months after random assignment.

The evaluators explored four possible factors that may explain the pattern of observed interim impact findings:

  • The impacts were too small to be detected by the study’s small sample sizes.
  • The grantee programs did not increase service receipt enough to generate detectable impacts on earnings.
  • RTW’s customized approach did not provide the appropriate content or intensity of services to improve employment outcomes for RTW participants, who were substantially older and better educated than the unemployed workers typically served by the workforce system. The evaluators also noted findings from earlier studies that revealed how older displaced workers face unique challenges to employment, including age discrimination, emotional distress due to unemployment, and outdated skills.
  • The 18-month follow-up period may have been too early to fully detect positive impacts; however, impacts may appear with the longer follow-up period included in the final report (36 months after random assignment).

Final Report


Interim Report

Other Products