Program

Aug 07, 2003

OVERVIEW

JOBSTART was designed to improve educational, employment, and various other
outcomes in high school dropouts (17 to 21) with poor reading skills.The program provided basic educational skills, hands-on job training,
work placement assistance, and support services (e.g., childcare, counseling,
transportation aid, mentoring/tutoring, work- and life-skills training).Experimental evaluations show that JOBSTART had positive impacts on
substance use, GED or high school diploma receipt, certain other educational
achievements, and, at least in the short-term, employment levels and arrest
rates.However, participation in the
program appeared to have mixed impacts on participants’ earning levels and to
have no impact on most participants’ receipt of public benefits, childbearing
or fathering children.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Economically disadvantaged high school dropouts with poor reading skills, ages 17 to 21.

The JOBSTART program was funded through the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 (JTPA). JOBSTART targeted high school dropouts with poor reading skills, ages 17 to 21, and provided them with basic educational skills, hands-on job training, work placement assistance, and support services. The program offered support services such as childcare, counseling, transportation aid, and work- and life-skills training. JOBSTART was aimed at increasing educational obtainment, increasing employment and earnings, and improving other outcomes.

JOBSTART consisted of 13 local programs across the nation between 1985 and 1988.

Component Provided by Duration Description
Basic education Site staff Minimum of 200 hours offered; actual participation varied by site and individual Self-paced and competency-based; computer-managed or -assisted; focused on reading, communication, and basic computation skills
Occupational skills training Site staff Minimum of 500 hours offered; actual participation varied by site and individual Classroom setting, combined theory and hands-on experience; prepares enrollees for jobs in high-demand occupations; developed with assistance from private sector to ensure that graduates would meet the entry-level requirements of local employers
Training-related support services Varied by site Tailored to individual needs; include transportation and child care and some combination of work-readiness and life skills training, personal and vocational counseling, mentoring, tutorial assistance, and referral to external support systems; need-based payments or incentive payments tied to length of stay, program attendance, or performance
Job development and placement assistance Site staff and subcontractors Varied by site Assist participants in finding training-related jobs

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

STUDY 1: Cave, G. & Doolittle, F. (1991). Assessing JOBSTART: Interim impacts of a program for school dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Evaluated population: 1,839 out of 2,312 youths who applied for JOBSTART and who provided information at the 24-month follow-up constitute the “‘impact” sample; 949 were in the experimental group and 890 were in the control group.

Objective:
To assess the difference the program made in the lives of the young people who participated in
JOBSTART.
Measurement instrument:
JOBSTART enrollment form filled out by program staff; monthly report of participation in JOBSTART activities; tests of Adult Basic Education; 12- and 24-month follow-up surveys of sample designed to measure impacts of amount of education and training received, employment and earnings, and other outcomes; qualitative descriptions of the program and participants’ experiences.
Evaluation:
Type:Experimental; random assignment of JOBSTART applicants to experimental or control group (who did not receive JOBSTART services).
Statistical techniques: significance testing, regression analysis. Significance level =.05
Outcome:
Overall, sites reported that about 89 percent of the youth assigned to the experimental group actually participated in JOBSTART. Four factors influenced the percentage who participated: length of intake (youth dropped out when the intake period was long); “open entry, open exit” vs. fixed-cycle scheduling (youth assigned to fixed-cycle sites might face delays in program startup, resulting in lower participation rates); start-up or scheduling problems (such difficulties result in lower participation rates); and differences in sites’ attendance reporting.

Education:
33.1 percent of the experimental vs. 16.5 percent of the control group received a GED or high school diploma. This is a significant difference.

Employment:
As expected, more youth in the control group than in the experimental group worked during the first year of follow-up; the difference is not significant in the second year of follow-up. Among women living with their own children at the time of random assignment, a higher percentage of participants than controls worked in each of the two years, with the second year showing a somewhat larger impact on employment rate. Participants’ earnings were significantly below those of controls in years 1 and 2.

Other:
During the first 24 months of follow-up, JOBSTART had no statistically significant impacts on receipt of most public benefits, childbearing, fathering of children, provision of child support, or criminal arrests.

STUDY 2: Cave, G., Bos, H., Doolittle, F., & Toussaint, C. (1993). JOBSTART: Final report on a program for school dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Evaluated population: 1,941 out of 2,312 randomly assigned youths who had 48-month follow-up data (988 in the experimental group, 953 in the control group).

Objective:
To assess the difference the program made in the lives of the young people who participated in
JOBSTART.
Measurement instrument:
JOBSTART enrollment form filled out by program staff; monthly report of participation in JOBSTART activities; tests of Adult Basic Education; 12-, 24-, and 48-month follow-up surveys designed to measure impacts of amount of education and training received, employment and earnings, and other outcomes; qualitative descriptions of the program and participants’ experiences.
Evaluation:
Type: Experimental; random assignment of JOBSTART applicants to experimental or control group (who did not receive JOBSTART services).
Statistical techniques: Significance testing; significance level =.10
Outcome:
Education:
JOBSTART led to a significant increase in the rate at which participants passed the GED (42 percent vs. 28.6 percent of controls).

Male participants were more likely than males in the control group to receive any education or training in the follow-up period. They also received more hours of education or training than control counterparts. Results are similar for young women. Participants who were white, non-Hispanic, black, non-Hispanic, Hispanic, or of other races/ethnic backgrounds were more likely to receive any education or training in the follow-up period than their counterparts in control groups. In addition, participants age 16-19 and 20-21 were more likely than their control counterparts to receive any education or training in the follow-up period.Male participants were more likely than males in the control group to earn a GED during the follow-up period. Results are similar for participants who are female, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, age 16-19, and age 20-21.

Employment:
In the final two years of the follow-up, the earnings of the experimental group were not significantly different from control group earnings, although their average earnings over the two years were higher by approximately $400 per year.

Impacts on earnings were encouraging for young men with an arrest record when they entered the program (impacts were positive and statistically significant in year 4) and for young men who had dropped out of school because of educational difficulties before entering the program (in year 3)

More youth in the control group than in the experimental group worked during the first year of follow-up; in the second year, slightly more of the program youth than controls worked; in the third and fourth years there was no significant difference.

Other outcomes:
No significant impacts on youths’ receipt of public assistance except that female participants who were not mothers when they entered the program were significantly less likely than their counterparts in the control group to receive AFDC during the later years of follow-up.

Arrest rates were reduced during the first year of follow-up for the full sample and some key subgroups. A larger impact was observed for young men without a prior arrest.

However, there was only a small difference in arrests during the entire four-year period, suggesting that involvement in the program made a difference that did not continue once participation ended.

Participants reported significantly less use of drugs other than marijuana, compared to the control group (4.1 percent of participants vs. 5.8 percent of youth in the control group reported drug use).

Male participants were more likely to experience positive activity (work or further education or training) during the follow-up than their control counterparts. Similar results are seen for women living their own children and women not living with their own children (including those who do not have children).

Subgroups:
Custodial mothers who entered JOBSTART experienced significantly increased childbearing but no impacts on receipt of AFDC. These participants saw a $1,004 increase in net income, resulting from increases in both earnings and welfare payments received for additional children. For other men and women, the effect of JOBSTART on income remained negative after four years of follow-up.

JOBSTART participants received substantially more services than the control group. More than 90 percent of the experimental group participated in JOBSTART and averaged 400 hours of activities.

There is no discernable pattern of effective program practices in the 13 sites. It does not seem to matter whether programs offer education followed by occupational training or offer education and training simultaneously.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Cave, G., Bos, H., Doolittle, F., & Toussaint, C. (1993). JOBSTART: Final report on a program for school dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Cave, G., & Doolittle, F. (1991). Assessing JOBSTART: Interim impacts of a program for school dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

Hair,
E., Ling, T., & Cochran, S. W. (2003). Youth development programs serving
educationally disadvantaged youth: A synthesis of experimental evaluations.

Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Jekielek,
S., Cochran, S. W., & Hair, E. (2002). Employment programs and youth
development: A synthesis.
Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Manlove, J., Terry-Humen,
E., Romano Papillo, A., Franzetta, K., Williams, S., & Ryan, S. (2002). Preventing
teenage pregnancy, childbearing, and sexually transmitted diseases: What the
research shows
(Research brief). Washington , DC : Child Trends.

Manlove, J.,
Terry-Humen, E., Romano Papillo, A., Franzetta, K., Williams, S., & Ryan, S.
(2001). Background for community-level work on positive reproductive health
in adolescence: Reviewing the literature on contributing factors.

Washington, DC: Child Trends.

SUMMARY & CATEGORIZATION

Program categorized in this guide according to the
following:

Evaluated participant ages: 16-21 / Program age ranges in
the Guide: 15-21

Program components: Clinic/provider-based,
Mentoring/tutoring, Service/vocational

Measured outcomes: Education/cognitive, Behavioral
problems, Reproductive health

Program information last updated 8/7/03.