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Series # :
  ETAOP 2012-06
Title :
  Improving the Effectiveness of Individual Training Accounts: Long-Term Findings from an Experimental Evaluation of Three Service Delivery Models
Release Date :
  April 11, 2012
Abstract :

This report presents long-term findings from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering individual training account (ITA) services.  It builds on findings from an earlier evaluation of the ITA Experiment, which consisted of an implementation analysis, short–term (15 months) impact analysis, and benefit-cost analysis.  This new study updates the impact and benefit-cost analysis by examining how customers fared six to eight years after their program enrollment.

The Workforce Investment Act provides flexibility to states and local areas in making decisions on setting the amount of an ITA and how much guidance and direction counselors provide to customers in making their training decisions.  The purpose of this evaluation was to provide Federal, state, and local policymakers, administrators, and program managers with evidence-based information on how different ITA service delivery models can affect customers’ participation in counseling; their use of ITAs; training outcomes (including the types of occupations that customers chose, training providers selected, and program completion); and their employment, earnings, job characteristics, receipt of public assistance, and household income. 

The ITA models tested were:

  • Guided Choice.  This model provided a fixed cap on ITA funds for individual customers and offered some counseling to support clients as they developed their training plans.  Most workforce agencies use a model similar to Guided Choice.  For the study, the average ITA cap was $3,500, and the average amount awarded was $2,861.  
  • Structured Choice.  Compared to Guided Choice, this model offered more extensive support from training counselors and a more generous cap on ITA funds customized to the individual needs of the customer.  The average ITA cap was $7,625, and the average amount awarded was $4,625.
  • Maximum Choice.  Compared to Guided Choice, this model required no counseling after eligibility for training was established and provided a similar ITA cap amount.  The average ITA cap was $3,500, and the average amount awarded was $2,888.

The impact analysis utilizes individual-level data from a participant tracking system, follow-up surveys, and administrative data on employment and wages.  The benefit-cost analysis is based on the impact estimates and measured the benefit or cost of switching from one ITA model to another.  The benefits and costs are examined from the perspective of the customer, government, and society as a whole.

Related reports on the ITA Experiment include:

ETAOP 2005-03        
The Effects of Customer Choice:  First Findings from the Individual Training Account Experiment
(Perez-Johnson et al. 2004).  [Web address for posting:  http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/FullText_Documents/2005_03_ita.pdf]

ETAOP 2007-01        
Managing Customers’ Training Choices:  Findings From The Individual Training Account Experiment (McConnell et al. 2006).
[Web address for posting:  http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/FullText_Documents/managing_customers_choices.pdf]

Publication Author(s)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc
  • Robert Santillano
  • Irma Perez-Johnson
  • Quinn Moore
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: No