Series # :
  ETAOP 2007-01
Title :
  Managing Customers’ Training Choices: Findings from the Individual Training Account Experiment - Final Report
Release Date :
Abstract :
  A central goal of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is to empower customers to improve their employment opportunities by giving them meaningful choices about the types of services they receive. The requirement that individual training accounts (ITAs) be used to fund training is one of the ways that WIA addresses the Act’s goal. A major challenge faced by workforce investment boards in implementing the ITAs is how to allocate limited training resources while preserving customer choice. At one extreme, local counseling staff may play a pivotal role in directing customers to training programs and be prescriptive in the programs they fund through ITAs. At the other extreme, local staff may play a minor role, providing each customer with an ITA of the same fixed amount, allowing customers to choose their training independently, and providing counseling on the use of the ITA only on request.

The ITA experiment was designed to provide federal, state, and local policymakers and administrators with information on the trade-offs inherent in different approaches to managing customer choice. The experiment tested three approaches and was implemented side-by-side in eight study sites. Nearly 8,000 customers determined eligible for training were randomly assigned to one of the three approaches. The approaches varied along three dimensions: (1) whether the ITA amount was the same for all customers or was determined by the counselor on a customer-by-customer basis; (2) the intensity of counseling and whether it was mandatory; and (3) whether counselors could deny a customer an ITA. A classic experimental design was used to explore how these different approaches affected customers, program staff, and training providers as well as how different approaches generated different training choices, employment and earnings outcomes, and customer satisfaction. It also explores the relative benefits and costs of each approach.

Publication Author(s)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
  • Elizabeth Stuart
  • Barbara Harris
  • Jeffrey Salzman
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: YES