Feb 052015

September 2015- In cooperation with Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) and (WorkED Consulting), The Policy & Research Group has been selected as the external evaluator for eight Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. PRG partnerships with TPMA and WorkED Consulting comprise the evaluations of eight TAACCCT programs taking place separately in Indiana, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Louisiana.

TAACCCT is a federally-funded initiative that seeks to expand occupationally focused training partnerships between community colleges and employers. TAACCCT grant program provides eligible institutions of higher education funds with which to improve and expand upon two-year education and career training programs that prepare unemployed, eligible workers for occupations paying higher wages and requiring a higher skill levels. Through these multi-year grants, the Department of Labor uses these multi-year TAACCCT grants to ensure that national institutions of higher education are “helping adults succeed in acquiring skills, degrees, and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment” while simultaneously serving to the needs of employers for skilled workers.  In September of 2014, Round 4 of the TAACCCT grant program awarded $450 million in job-focused training grants to almost 270 community colleges in the United States. This award is the final installment of the $2 million initiative.

PRG and TPMA will work in collaboration to evaluate seven projects, with PRG directing the impact evaluation and TPMA leading the implementation evaluation. PRG and WorkED Consulting will collaborate on one project, with PRG conducting the impact evaluation and WorkED Consulting directing the implementation evaluation.

“The TAACCCT projects represent an exciting new development that will leverage the strengths of both firms to create added value for our clients,” said Lynne Jenner, Director of Projects at PRG. “TMPA has worked with clients in economic and workforce development for over 25 years, and PRG is a leader in efficient and rigorous impact analyses at the state and local level. And with our new TAACCCT project in Ohio, we are to be working with Mason Bishop of Work ED consulting – he brings twenty years of content experience in workforce development and higher education programming. ”

Federal requirements for the impact evaluation require a rigorous study that employs an experimental or high-quality quasi-experimental design to investigate the causal influence of the program. The implementation evaluation will, in part, provide a formative and summative analysis of the steps taken by the institution, as well as the operational facilitators and barriers encountered while implementing the training program.

The eight TAACCCT grant-funded programs are:

  • West Virginia. A four-year TAACCCT grant received by the West Virginia Community and Technical College System. The project involves nine colleges working together to bridge energy, manufacturing, information technology, and construction trades through program career pathways and enhancement of student instruction. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Indiana. A four -year TAACCCT grant received by Vincennes University Logistics Training and Education Center. The program aims to prepare students for work in the logistics industry. Vincennes University’s project will ensure that participants are served through a continuum of services that help them to obtain employment or advance along their career pathway. VU will partner with the public workforce system to provide integral services such as assessing skill levels and referring participants to the LTEC program, connecting program participants with employers, providing assistance with workforce training and evaluation, and linking educational outcome and employment information. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Massachusetts. A four-year TAACCCT grant received by Cape Cod Community College. The purpose of the project is to launch new accelerated pathway for jobs in the aviation industry through unique partnerships with 15 statewide and regional employers. CCCC’s methodology incorporates up-front competency and prior learning assessments aligned with educational and career pathways in order to translate work-based and experiential learning to college credit. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Texas. A four-year TAACCCT-funded grant for the Accelerated Career and Entrepreneurship Pathway Program with Texas State Technical College.  The program aims to expand the college’s ability to deliver education and career training programs in a competency based, accelerated learning platform.  Structured to support rapid deployment of training connected to employment in the state’s growing manufacturing sector, the program will provide entry points for TAA-eligible, the unemployed and veterans to access career pathways in manufacturing-related employment.  PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Florida. A four-year TAACCCT-funded grant received by a four-college consortium consisting of Miami Dade College (MDC) as lead, Polk State College, Santa Fe College, and Seminole State. The project developed by MDC in conjunction with the consortium members is called “Training for Manufactured Construction (TRAMCON) Consortium”. The multi-year project is designed to address significant, yet under-recognized, job opportunities in a rapidly-growing, new blended sector of manufacturing and construction, referred to as “manufactured construction.” The project seeks to develop a new, national credentialing system for the manufactured construction workforce that will be developed and piloted in Florida prior to migrating to other states. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Louisiana. A four-year TAACCCT-funded grant received by Bossier Parish Community College for the Center for Excellence in Advanced Trade Skills Program (ATSP). The program aims to transform delivery methods of and accelerate credential attainment in the advanced manufacturing and advanced welding career pathways. The ATSP will serve more than 1,900 TAA-eligible workers, veterans, and other individuals in the northwest region of Louisiana by focusing on curriculum, technology, and linkages to new degree pathways and apprenticeship opportunities with previous TAACCCT funded programs. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Louisiana. A four-year TAACCCT-funded grant received by Delgado Community College for the program entitled Scale-up Southeast Louisiana (Scale-up SELA). The program aims to provide competency-based, accelerated manufacturing and energy sector training through the use of hybrid and online technologies, utilization of the I-Best Model for delivery of team teaching instruction, career pathway development with articulation agreements to four-year institutions, credit for prior learning and strategic alignment with workforce systems and other stakeholders. The grant will serve residents of the 10-parish area that make up Region 1 to include: Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Tammany, St. James, St. Charles and St. Bernard. The project will serve a total of 1,150 unique participants over the duration of the grant. PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.
  • Ohio. A four-year TAACCCT-funded grant received by Eastern Gateway Community College for Machining Career Pathway Training. EGCC will work with the Mahoning Valley Manufactures Coalition and other local manufacturers to develop new stackable certificate and degree programs in machining. EGCC will also work with local employers to develop credit internship opportunities for students in the program as well as employment opportunities for graduates. Students completing the program will be prepared to earn stackable credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). PRG will conduct the impact analysis examining persistence, completion, and employment outcomes.

PRG produces high-quality research and evaluation for social, economic, health, and education initiatives. We work with state and federal agencies, foundations, and national and local nonprofits and provide a range of services that include data collection, data management, monitoring, evaluation, analysis, and technical assistance. For the TAACCCT programs, PRG will conduct impact analyses to examine persistence, completion, or employment outcomes that can be causally attributed to program participation. In the absence of random assignment to treatment conditions, PRG will employ a quasi-experimental design in which TAACCCT program participants will be matched with similar non participants to mitigate selection effects. We have proposed to use difference-in-differences or comparative short interrupted time series modeling approaches to estimate the effects of program exposure.