Skills Training

Missouri Reentry - December 2023
* Missouri Reentry: Building the Framework for Success
   Annie Herman, Director, Reentry Program Program, Missouri Dept. of Corrections

  • Workforce and Human Services agencies are tasked with combining our programs with the corrections systems to reduce recidivism. Returning
    offenders represent a large pool of workers in an economy that needs them. However, returning offender programs as a group have been shown to need improvement. Recognizing this, the Correctional Leaders' Association and Bureau of Justice Assistance have launched Reentry 2030. The goal of the initiative is to reduce by half the re-entry rate by 2030. MO was the first state to launch the initiative and since then a majority of states have joined the effort.

RESEA - December 2023
* Reemployment Services & Eligibility Assessments (RESEA): Impact in Nevada & Other States

   Jon Baron, Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy

  • In a high quality RCT, the study found Nevada’s RESEA program increases earned income by 13% over five years or $2400 per year for each of four years. The best part? The intervention costs just $290, which is the cost of a one-on-one hour and a half consultation to the unemployed by a UI staff member who combines the tasks of eligibility and work programs into one. This differs from most programs where the newly eligible UI recipient goes home and waits to be called back. A sizeable proportion never come back and are lost to the work program system.

Scaling Up Successful Job Trainings with Good Performance - December 2023
* Scaling Sector Programs: The evidence, opportunities, obstacles, and options
   Richard Hendra, MDRC

  • If our mission is to substantially improve job prospects over large populations, this has in practice been difficult to achieve since the singular
    event of 1990s welfare reform. There are several sector based programs which have very high impacts on a modest scale The challenge?Combining proven high impact programs and imprinting these onto a large state population.
  • This session will break down the issues and requirements to scale up various innovations and proven state programs. We will use as one example a thirteen year old high impact program, which combines sector training with internships for HS and GED grads. Year Up has over two decades of practice and operates in 14 states including six SIG states. Year Up has staff and evaluators whose assignment is to find ways to expand its natural reach. We will also explore the better use of data analysis to achieve results.

The growing male drop- out phenomenon - November 2022
* America’s Work Crisis Into a New Phase
   Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise Institute

  • America is in the grip of a gradually building crisis of worklessness among men. It is not reflected in unemployment numbers, because the men involved are not even seeking work. Most experts argue this is a demand-side problem which requires significant improvements to American education to help men get the skills the economy requires. But what if that view is not accurate? Are skills really the issue? And is education in fact so central to addressing this particular crisis?
  • Today’s male labor force dropouts in prime working years age 25-49 basically don't do civil society. They don't do worship. They don't do charity. They don't do volunteering work. Although they've got almost nothing but time on their hands, they don't do much help around the house. They don't get out of the house that much either, rather they say what they do is watch screens, about 2,000 hours a year, equivalent to a full-time job. And about half of these guys report using some sort of pain medication every day.

Work and the Social Safety Net: Labor Activation in Europe and the United States - November 2022
* Work on the Social Safety Net
   Doug Besharov and Doug Call, University of Maryland

  • ​Here is a surprise for many - - Labor activation as a condition of benefits is alive and well in Europe. Joining our dinner talk are the EU director equivalents of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and GAO.

What works best in job training and employment? - June 2022
* What Works Best in Job Training and Reemployment
   Jacob Klerman, Senior Fellow, Abt Associates

  • Most ordinary job training programs have marginal or weak net impacts on employment and wages, while specialized training programs in certain high demand occupations can have large and lasting impacts (such as have been featured at SIG).  But the most important single characteristic of all programs that produce big results across a spectrum of job seekers are those that feature enforced participation and monitoring with consequences for dropping out.  Add to that an element in which performance payments are made to employment vendors for job acquisition and retention, and experience shows this combination is certain to bring in big results.

Returning Offenders - June 2022
* Center for Employment Opportunities Change that Works 
   Sam Schaeffer, CEO and Executive Director, Center for Employment Opportunities
   Patience Lewis-Walker, Cnter for Employment Opportunities

Hidden Workers and how to unlock their potential - June 2022
* The Great Resignation, Skill-based Hiring and the Future of Learning​
   Joseph Fuller, Project on Managing the Future of Work, Harvard Business School

  • Who are the hidden workers and how can we engage them?  They do not represent a homogeneous group. They include caregivers, veterans, immigrants and refugees, those with physical disabilities, and relocating partners and spouses. They also include people with mental health or developmental/neurodiversity challenges, people who were previously incarcerated, and those without traditional qualifications. In the U.S there are by estimates more than 27 million hidden workers.  Both government programs and business practice can unlock the potential of hidden workers. 

How the State Workforce System Can Influence Community Colleges to Perform Better - November 2021
* Outcomes-Driven Funding & the Future of Employment Data
   Michael Bettersworth, Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Texas State Technical  College

  • Why do we care so much about our statewide community college system? As  Willie Sutton would say… “because that’s where the money is”. Community and  technical colleges educate more people each year than apprenticeship programs,  coding bootcamps and government job training combined—nearly 11 million  students a year before the pandemic, compared to fewer than 500,000 from all  others. Some state directors express frustration that they have only a marginal influence on the community college curricula and would like the system to shift  away from classroom instruction to more hands-on practical skill acquisition and  certification.  
    Although some states attempt to track post-college outcomes, this is hampered by  insufficiently detailed wage match and other data. Now comes ten campus Texas  State Technical College which is the only known example of a state college which  obtains 100% of its state budget from meeting performance contracts related to  jobs and wage growth. VP Michael Bettersworth will explain how this works, how TSTC is flourishing financially, and how to mobilize state policymakers to shift the  community college system to better reflect demands from employers and the state  workforce system.

Year Up Program - August 2021
* Year Up Mission and Model
   David Fein, Principal Associate, Social and Economic Policy, Abt Associates    
   Duane Reid, Site Director, Up DC

  • Year Up is a full-time, year-long workforce training program for low-income young adults that focuses on economic sectors with jobs in high demand – namely, information technology and financial services. New findings from a national randomized controlled trial show earnings gains of 30-40% ($7,000-$8,000) per year, sustained over five years, for low-income, mainly minority young adults. These earnings gains are among the largest ever found in a high-quality RCT in the field of workforce development. We will meet with some of the SIG state program operators.

Medical Marijuana - July 2019

Cannabis/Cannabinoids: What the Science Tells Us

   Dr. Jack Stein, Chief of Staff, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Lessons Learned from Medical Marijuana Legalization in Other States
   Garth Van Meter, Vice President of Government Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana

  • Medical marijuana has been used as the gateway to state recreational legalization ever since Gorge Soros was reported to have told his employees “start with medical marijuana”. It has been a spectacularly successful strategy. But leaving the strategy aside, is there any basis for the claim that for certain symptoms there are no FDA approved safe and effective alternatives to marijuana?

Job Corps - November 2018

Job Corps 

   Tom Deuschle, Department of Labor​

  • One of the very oldest Great Society programs, Job Corps, has operated for over 60 years, but has been resistant to improving employment results.  Mathematica’s most recent study uses survey and tax data on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. The findings indicate the Job Corps increases educational attainment and reduces criminal activity but fails to increase earnings after an early phase-out period.  
  • DOL Secretary Acosta has embarked on a ground up overhaul and Tom Deuschle, responsible for Job Corps, will present steps DOL is taking to make fundamental changes.   

Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment  ​RESEA - November 2018

Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) Program
   Gay Gilbert, Administrator, Unemployment Insurance, Department of Labor

  • As members know, our SIG UI proposal would permit states to own and manage their own UI revenues.  This would allow states to better allocate revenues between benefit payments and back to work expenditures with the intent of minimizing duration and keeping employer taxes low.  Congress itself increased back to work funding through increases to RESEA, contingent upon states’ implementing increasing proportions of evidence-based programming. In this session, we will discuss the expanded program with Administrator Gay Gilbert, along with ways to increase performance consistent with guidance from DOL.

Why Do Federal Job Training Programs Fail to Have Larger Impacts on Employment and Wages Than They Do? - July 2017
On Labor Market Policy
Jacob Alex Klerman, Senior Fellow, Abt 

  • Using before and after outcome comparisons from job training programs can be misleading.  This presentation will review issues related to estimating the net impacts of job training programs and describe what the evidence shows are  true net impacts. This will be followed by a discussion of hypotheses and conjectures as to why impacts from most of these programs are not larger than they are.   This session will also highlight cost effective programs including mandatory job search for benefit applicants.  

Innovation from Wyoming - November 2016

Climb Wyoming
   Ray Fleming Dinneen, Executive Director, Climb Wyoming 
   Donna Nelson, Statewide Director of Operations, Climb Wyoming

  • This twelve week intensive training and placement program in operation since 1986 boasts a 90% program completion rate with 85% of graduates placed in full time jobs at the end of program, and a 75% employment rate two years after program completion.   What makes it unusual is the structured therapeutic focus on mental health through the application of a calm and secure environment for groups of ten women who have experienced toxic stress in their personal lives.

Universal Engagement in Work - November 2016

Effective Job Search
   Michelle Beebe, Unemployment Insurance Director, Utah Department of Workforce Services 

  • Big impacts on work rates and dependency can be obtained where there is a mandatory requirement for job search and job readiness, before resorting to enrollment in more expensive or lengthier interventions such as skills training.  Utah is able to reach all its unemployment applicants and recipients in a cost effective way through the use of online tools combined with profiling for those who are more likely to need more intensive services.  


From Career Academies to Apprenticeships:  Doing the Hard Work of Integrating Work and Learning to Provide Meaningful Advancement Opportunities - July 2017

Improving Youth Labor Market Prospects: Long-Term Findings From an Evaluation of Career Academies

   James Kemple, Research Alliance for New York City Schools, New York University

  • From MDRC - - Established more than 30 years ago, Career Academies are organized as small learning communities, combining academic and technical curricula around a career theme with partnerships with local employers to provide work-based learning opportunities.  Through a combination of increased wages, hours worked, and employment stability, real earnings for young men in the Academy group increased by $3,731 (17 percent) per year — or nearly $30,000 over eight years.
  • From the President Trump’s executive order - - It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to provide more affordable pathways to secure, high paying jobs by promoting apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs, while easing the regulatory burden on such programs and reducing or eliminating taxpayer support for ineffective workforce development programs.
  • This session will explore avenues of integrating work and learning for both youth and adults.  

November 2014

Expand Apprenticeship to Widen Opportunity and Promote Economic Development
   Robert Lerman, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute & Professor of Economics, American University
Georgia Work Based Learning / Youth Apprenticeship Program
   Dwayne Hobbs, WBL/YAP Program Manager, Georgia Department of Education

  • Engaging men - - Bringing men back into the economy using apprenticeships as a guided pathway 

Community Colleges - August 2013

Game Changers
   Tom Sugar, Senior Vice President, Complete College America
Certificates: An Underappreciated Credential
   Stephen Rose, Research Professor, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University

  • SIG members are major customers of community colleges through their referrals and sometimes direct purchases.  How well are they working for us?  Only 19% of associate degree candidates and 8% part-time candidates graduate in four years.  ​Time is the Enemy - - Findings from how Tennessee restructured its system to focus on short term completion in vocation specific certificates.

Conference Materials: Skills Training and Apprenticeships

**To view power point presentations and supporting materials, click on * bold, underlined title.

Secretaries' Innovation Group