Providing Services to Veterans Through the Public Workforce System: Descriptive Findings from the WIA Gold Standard Evaluation, Volume I

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
May 31, 2015
Authors
Linda Rosenberg, Mark Strayer, Stephanie Boraas, Brittany English, and Deanna Khemani

As thousands of military veterans return from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and seek to enter the civilian labor market, providing effective employment and training services to veterans is becoming increasingly important. Using data collected from interviews with program staff and administrative data for the 28 local workforce investment areas randomly selected to participate in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation, we examined the characteristics of veterans who requested employment services at American Job Centers (AJCs) and the services they received. We found that, according to staff respondents, veterans were not always aware of the services to which they were entitled or their right to priority of service, when they entered an AJC for the first time, but that they were usually informed during intake. AJC staff typically knew how to implement priority of service but did not perceive much benefit to the timing of veterans’ service receipt since activities could generally accommodate all interested customers. Staff, including WIA staff and veterans’ representatives funded by Jobs for Veterans State Grants, reported that a key activity was translating veterans’ military experience to civilian job opportunities. In addition, based on administrative data analyses in two states, we found that more than half the veterans served by the AJC system in those states received at least one service, typically a staff-assisted service, through veterans’ representatives. Their receipt of training, referrals to federal contractor jobs, and referrals to jobs were positively correlated with veterans’ average post-program quarterly earnings. We also found that veterans received services at higher rates than nonveterans; however, on average, they were employed at lower rates after program exit and had higher average post-program earnings than nonveterans.