Series # :
  ETAOP 2014-06
Title :
  Transforming Regional Economies: Challenges and Accomplishments Final Report of the Evaluation of Generation I Workforce Innovation Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Grants
Release Date :
  December 15, 2015
Abstract :
  This is the third and final report from the evaluation of the first of three rounds of grants in the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative. The grants were provided to consortia of business, education, economic development and workforce system leaders in 13 multi-county regions within (and sometimes between states). Grants were to be used to effect “transformations” in each region’s economy, worker skills, and public workforce, education, and economic development systems. The report, by Berkeley Policy Associates and its subcontractor, the University of California, San Diego/Extension, discusses leadership and governance of the grants; partnerships and collaboration; specific programmatic strategies; outcomes regarding training and employment; progress toward transformations in the various systems (workforce, economic development, and education); implementation challenges; and lessons learned. Data sources used in the evaluation included: 1) site visits, 2) project documents, 3) surveys of regional partners, 4) existing national data sets on key economic and demographic factors in each region, 5) quarterly report data, and 6) performance data from the Workforce Investment Act Standard Record Data (WIASRD) for training participants captured in that system. As found in aggregated data from the grantee quarterly reports, 89,419 individuals were enrolled in WIRED-funded education or training programs (though only 26,245 participants were entered into the WIASRD). Over 75,000 participants, or 84 percent of those enrolled in training, were identified as having completed it and 68,085 participants (or 86 percent of those who completed training) attained a degree, certificate, or credential. However, only 20 percent of participants were reported to have obtained jobs in their target industries. Overall, average quarterly earnings reported in WIASRD after program exit were $3,288. An analysis of extant data from a number of sources found some small, statistically significant, incremental changes in the period between August 2007 and the end of 2009. Researchers noted that the economic recession substantially dampened the potential effect of the WIRED projects.

Publication Author(s)
Berkeley Policy Associates
/ University of California, San Diego/Extension
  • Tricia Cambron
  • Hui Kim
  • Tommy Smith
  • Pamela Surko
  • Linda Toms Barker
  • Mary Vencill
  • Mary Walshok
  • Sherry Almandsmith
  • Hannah Betesh
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: No