Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee

Job Training In Connecticut
Final Report
December 1996


Job Training In Connecticut

Introduction:

The Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee authorized a study in March 1996 of the state's efforts to provide job training. The scope of the study approved by the committee called for an:

In preparing this report the committee reviewed national and state related literature dealing with the purpose and performance of various job training models and information obtained from numerous staff interviews of individuals associated with governmental and private organizations involved with planning or operating job training services. The committee also reviewed quantitative data from state agencies and regional workforce development boards (RWDBs) that had been collected and analyzed by the committee's staff.

A staff briefing for the committee was held in August 1996. At that time, the organization and operation of the state's system for providing job training was outlined and preliminary analysis was presented. On August 20, 1996, the committee held a hearing to take testimony and discuss job training issues with governmental officials and the public. Finally, a draft set of findings and recommendations was discussed and adopted by the committee on November 26, 1996

This report is divided into four chapters and three appendices, the last of which includes the official response of the state's Department of Labor (DOL). Each chapter is preceded by a brief outline of the chapter's key points. The first chapter defines job training as it pertains to this study, outlines the origins of governmental involvement in the job training field, and defines the populations targeted as well as the models used to deliver services. The overall organization of the job training system as well as a detailed description of the process for planning, coordinating, and delivering services is included in second chapter. The focus of the third chapter is data analysis. The committee's findings and recommendations are presented in the final chapter.

Chapter One: Key Points

Chapter One: Overview

Definition and Purpose

As used in this study, job training means: a set of activities and services that gives an individual the skills and assistance necessary to obtain or maintain a job in a specific industry. The purpose of job training is to give individuals who have lost their jobs, are in danger of losing their jobs, or are economically disadvantaged and unemployable with their present skills an opportunity to attain a decent standard of living through employment. A secondary purpose of the training is to insure a sufficient supply of skilled labor in selected industries to meet employer demand.

Origins

Before the 1960s, government's role in job training was limited to vocational education programs, the federal-state employment service system established by the 1933 Wagner-Peyser Act, and public service employment programs. In the early 1960s, persistent unemployment associated with structural changes in the economy led the federal government to launch several job training initiatives.

The initial federal efforts, exemplified by the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, were designed as temporary measures aimed primarily at helping workers dislocated from the workforce by automation or import competition. Subsequent legislation such as the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act and the 1966 Adult Education Act, expanded the federal role to include support of training programs for economically disadvantaged individuals.

The training programs introduced during the 1960s were planned and financed by the federal government for implementation by local government officials and community-based organizations. It is through this mechanism that the federal government played a significant role in shaping the nation's training policies, particularly targeting the groups that could be served.

In 1973, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) consolidated several 1960s-era job training programs and enhanced the authority of local government officials to shape the programs to meet community needs. CETA also included a component that authorized a standby public service employment program.

The CETA program, which was plagued by scandals, was replaced in 1982 by the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), which more than any other federal program governs the current structure and direction of job training at the state and local levels. Significant provisions written into the 1982 act increased state governments= administrative authority over job training programs and required states to coordinate JTPA programs with local education, public assistance, rehabilitation, and economic development agencies. JTPA also specified a major role for the business community in planning and implementing training programs at the grassroots level.

Populations Targeted for Training

One area in which the influence of the federal government is immediately evident involves the types of individuals targeted for job training. Requirements of federal legislation such as the Job Training Partnership Act, Trade Adjustment Act, Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act, and Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act among others, have defined the specific populations for which the federal government will provide money to support training. In Connecticut, the basic populations targeted for publicly supported job training are:

Training Models

The methods used to deliver job training services can be grouped into four basic and two special models. One special model deals with severely disadvantaged individuals and couples job training with an array of social services such as counseling, health care, and financial assistance. The other special model is directed at meeting the training needs of individuals with mental or physical disabilities. The six models identified by the committee's staff can be summarized as follows:

Job Training in Connecticut

The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission (CETC) publishes an annual inventory of the state's employment and job training programs. The program categories identified in the inventory represent a set of services aimed at specific populations. Funds provided through each category can support the efforts of several different state, local, and private agencies. The 1995 inventory identified 62 separate program categories. Sixteen of the 62 categories were eliminated from the committee's analysis -- 10 because they appeared to support routine educational services and the other six due to incomplete data. (See Appendix A)

A summation of the data for the 46 categories included in the committee's review indicates that in FY 95 employment and training services were made available to 350,712 individuals at a cost of $250.1 million. This included $111.5 million in federal funds, $123.7 in million in state funds, and $14.8 million from private sources.

However, some cautionary notes are necessary when interpreting any of these numbers. First, the CETC inventory overstates the number of service recipients by counting an individual multiple times if he or she receives services under different programs. Second, in a few instances, funds transferred from one program category to another are reported in the inventory as expenditures under both categories, again distorting the overall picture.

Chapter Two: Key Points

Chapter Two: Organization And Operations

Structure

The organizational structure of the state’s publicly supported job training system is shown in Figure II-1. The organization is primarily dictated by provisions of the state’s general statutes that were developed to meet the demands of the federal Job Training Partnership Act of 1982.

The solid lines with arrows in Figure II-1 show the flow of federal and state job training requirements and funds to state agencies, locally based regional workforce development boards, and training providers. At the center of the structure is the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, which is charged by state statute with the responsibility for coordinating the state’s training system. This is symbolized by the dashed lines radiating from CETC.

The requirements and funds shown as emanating from the federal government are primarily the result of the acts noted in the previous section and a host of social welfare laws such as Title XX of the Social Security Act and Title II of the Family Support Act of 1988 (e.g., training opportunities for AFDC recipients). The requirements and funds shown as coming from the state are a mixture of the state’s response to financial incentives contained in the federal programs as well as its own initiatives.

 

 

Based on the federal and state guidelines, state agencies and the regional workforce development boards engage in planning activities to meet the training needs they have identified. Figure II-1 illustrates that state agencies may implement training programs by working directly with service providers or by going through the regional workforce development boards to engage training providers. Figure II-1 also shows that the regional boards implement programs by dealing directly with training providers.

 

Chapter Three: Key Points

Inventory Data

Program Performance

Chapter Three: Analysis

This chapter is divided into three parts. The first summarizes the results of national evaluations of job training programs. The second contains an analysis of data obtained from the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission's inventory of state supported employment and job training programs. Performance data collected from the state's regional workforce development boards is reviewed in the final section.

National Evaluation Studies

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, researchers conducted many evaluation studies of federally sponsored employment and training programs. The analytical framework followed in most of the studies involved the interrelationship between service strategies and target populations. The measures used to evaluate the programs were placement rates, post training earnings of graduates, and net costs (the income benefits received by graduates minus the costs of providing the training.)

Table III-1 summarizes the findings of several national studies. Although it represents a simplification of the reported findings, the table does provide a reference point for analyzing the different models for delivering training services.

Generally, the findings show positive results in terms of placement rates, earnings, and net costs for the job search and workplace based training models. The classroom model received mixed reviews in the national literature. At this point, however, a note of caution is in order. The training models included in the table are broadly defined and do not account for variations in quality among specific programs at the point where services are provided. For example, job search assistance may involve a single seminar on how to get a job, or it may involve continuous access to word processing equipment, fax machines, or messaging and phone services -- two very different approaches.

 

Table III-1. Overview of National Evaluation Findings.

Target

Population

Classroom

Training

Workplace

Based

Job Search

Assistance

Dislocated Workers With one exception, classroom training was not reported to significantly increase placement rates or earnings over the results of the job search only model Generally reported to produce better placement rates and earnings than the classroom model Generally reported to have a high positive impact on placement rates and earnings
Disadvantaged Workers Reported to have a negative net cost when used for adult women, positive net cost when used for adult men. Overall, the least cost-effective model for this population Reported to have a positive net cost when used with this population Reported to have a positive net cost when used with this population
Youth Negative net costs Negative net costs Negative net costs
Source: LPR&IC Analysis of studies reported in:

Leigh, D. Does Training Work for Displaced Workers. Upjohn Institute, 1990

Levitan, S., F. Gallo A Second Chance: Training for Jobs. Upjohn Institute, 1988

Orr, L., H. Bloom, S. Bell, F. Doolittle, L.Winston, & G. Cave, Does Training for the Disadvantaged Work. Urban Institution Press, 1995

CETC Inventory

As noted in Chapter One, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission publishes an annual inventory of the state's employment and job training programs. Table III-2 shows how the use of narrower criteria for selecting program categories for inclusion in the inventory changes the overall numbers previously cited, resulting in a different view of the state's efforts in the employment and job training area. For example, limiting the selection criteria to topics associated with disadvantaged or dislocated workers eliminates the employment and job training programs aimed at individuals with special needs such as sheltered workshops, supported employment, alternatives to incarceration, and various vocational rehabilitation training programs. As a result, the reported number of individuals served is reduced to 285,904 and the cost to $127.6 million. If all program categories designed to provide basic education services were also eliminated, the numbers would drop to 242,400 individuals served at a cost of $109.6 million.

Finally, if the program category that includes unemployed persons who are registered with the Department of Labor's employment service (123,197 in 1995) was eliminated the number of service recipients would decline to 119,203 and expenditures would drop to $99.2 million The rationale for showing the effects of this change is based on the assumption that many of the individuals who collect unemployment insurance benefits never take advantage of employment and training services available from the labor department.

 

Table III-2. Effect of Eliminating Selected Employment and Job Training Categories.

Program categories excluded

Total individuals served

Total cost

None

350,712

$250,079,935

Special needs

285,904

$127,550,343

Special needs + Basic education

242,400

$109,647,918

Special needs + Basic ed. + Unemployed

119,203

$99,160,434

Source of Data: CETC 1995 Inventory.

The same cautionary notes about the inventory data that were discussed earlier apply to Table III-2. However, this only adds to the main point of the table, which is to indicate that the statistics in the employment and job training field are soft and should be used with caution.

State agency programs. Table III-3 displays, for selected state agencies and combinations of agencies, the number of programs supported, amount of funds expended, number of trainees, overall cost-per-trainee, and ratio of state-to-federal expenditures. The Department of Labor ranks the highest among the agencies shown in the table in the number of programs (14) and individuals receiving training services (200,558). However, the DOL data are heavily weighted by the inclusion of the 123,197 individuals who were registered with the department's employment service while receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The combination of agencies that support training services for persons with special needs rank the highest in overall expenditures ($113.7 million) and cost-per-trainee ($3,145).

 

Table III-3. Training Costs by Agency

Agency/Functional Combinations

 

Programs

Number of

Trainees

 

Cost

Cost-per- Trainee

State $-per- Federal $

SDE

9

79,070

$27,596,613

$349

$1.34

DSS

8

27,892

$23,058,305

$827

$0.55

DOL

14

200,558

$77,316,268

$386

$0.20

Special needs agencies*

13

38,070

$116,725,272

$3,145

$3.78

All others

2

5,122

$2,383,477

$465

$2.05

Total

46

350,712

$244,139,935

$696

$1.11

* Includes: Bd of Ed. & Services for the Blind; Bureau of Rehabilitative Services; Comm. on the Deaf & Hearing Impaired; Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services; Dept. of Mental Retardation; and Workers= Comp. Comm.

Source of Data: CETC 1995 Inventory.

Table III-3 also shows the ratio of state-to-federal funds. This is an indicator of how strongly an agency's training programs are influenced by the federal government. Generally, the higher the ratio is above 1.00 the greater the state's role in shaping the employment and training programs of the related agencies. The table shows that the highest ratio occurs among the agencies providing services to individuals with special needs. This is consistent with the limited role of the federal government in this area. The opposite effect occurs with respect to the DOL, reflecting the major role that the federal government plays in defining the department's job training programs.

Target populations and training models. The committee classified each program category in the inventory by population targeted and training model used to deliver services. The program categories were then cross referenced allowing data from the inventory to be arrayed in a matrix. Table III-4 shows the target populations along with employment and training models used to deliver services, number of individuals served, and the average cost per individual served.

Table III-4 shows that employment and job training services available to the general public were provided to more individuals (207,556) than those aimed at specific target populations. Among the targeted populations, special needs had the highest number of individuals receiving services (64,808) and dislocated had the lowest (9,696). The comparatively high number of individuals from the special needs population indicates that the state has made a significant effort to provide employment and training services to this group. The relatively low number of new entrants receiving services (12,988) is related to the fact that much of the state's effort to serve this population is channeled through routine educational programs, most of which were either not included in CETC's inventory or were excluded from the committee staff's analysis.

The training model used to provide services to the greatest number of individuals was the job search model (127,816). This is not surprising, given that job search assistance can be provided to a large number of individuals with much less effort than the services provided by the other models. The training plus model, which is a service intensive approach, was the second most frequently used method for delivering employment and job training services (97,971). This is probably related to traditional use of this social service model with individuals defined as disadvantaged, which is a large population group targeted for employment and job training services. However, as the Department of Social Services increases its emphasis on preparing clients for immediate job placement (i.e., labor attachment model), the number of persons served under the training plus approach will undoubtably decline.

The average cost per individual served among the targeted populations regardless of training model, ranged from a high of $2,479 for dislocated, to a low of $204 for general public. In terms of the service models, the average cost per individual served ranged from a high of $4,322 under the individual needs model to $95 for providing job search assistance.

 

Table III-4. Matrix of Targeted Populations and Training Models

Population !

Model

 

Disadvantaged

Dislocated

New Entrant

Special Needs

General Public

Row

Total

Basic Ed.

individuals

cost per

 

5,089

$311

 

 

 

 

 

  

38,415

$425

 

43,504

$412

Class/Work

individuals

cost per

 

 

 

 

  

5,890

$1,183

 

 

36,467

$333

 

42,357

$451

Job Search

individuals

cost per

 

1,680

$728

 

 

 

 

 2,939

$143

 

123,197

$85

 

127,816

$95

Training Plus

individuals

cost per

 

48,383

$822

 

9,696

$2,479

 

 

39,892

$673

 

 

97,971

$926

Individual Needs

individuals

cost per

 

412

$3,681

 

 

 

  

21,977

$4,327

 

  

22,389

$4,322

Workplace Based

Individuals

cost per

 

 100

$335

 

  

7,098

$1,424

 

  

9,477

$353

 

 16,675

$809

Totals

individuals

cost per

 

55,664

$793

 

9,696

$2,479

 

12,988

$1,316

 

64,808

$1,891

 

207,556

$204

 

350,712

$713

Source of Data: CETC 1995 Inventory.

The interactive effect between target population and model is apparent by the variation in cost data shown in Table III-4. For example, the most expensive combination occurs when the individual needs model is applied to the special needs population -- $4,327 per individual served. This is not surprising considering that the words defining the population special needs imply something beyond the ordinary. Nor was it surprising to find that the least expensive approach was the combination of the job search model with the general public population.

State-to-federal expenditures. Figures III-1 and III-2 provide data on the ratio of state-to-federal expenditures for employment and job training programs in Connecticut. The committee views this statistic as an indicator of how strongly the state's programs are influenced by the federal government.

Figure III-1 shows that the state is spending nearly $3.50 for every federal dollar expended to provide employment and job training services to individuals with special needs. This implies that the state has taken a strong leadership role in this area. By contrast, no state money is spent on services for dislocated workers, indicating that the state's efforts in this area are limited to implementing federal job training initiatives.

Figure III-2 shows that state spending on the basic education and individual needs models is high relative to federal expenditures. This is consistent with the limited role of the federal government in education, mental health, and mental retardation matters. The low state-to-federal spending ratios for the other models indicate the amount of federal money available is sufficient to be meet the state's priorities or that the state lacks the additional resources necessary to increase its spending on those service models.

Summary. Overall, analysis of data from CETC's 1995 inventory can be summarized as follows:

Program Performance

The basic input and output data presented above describes the state's employment and job training effort. While this is important, the key to evaluating the state's activities lies in measuring performance and efficiency. The performance data that were obtained come largely from what the federal government requires states to produce to receive funding under the Job Training Partnership Act. An analysis of these data is provided below.

Each of the nine regional workforce development boards around the state were asked to provide general job training input, output, and performance information. The data submitted covered 1995 and 1996, and were analyzed in several different ways. First, an examination of overall program costs was conducted, followed by a comparison of regional program costs. Second, the number of job training program participants and costs per participant were compared across regions. And third, aggregate job placement rates and cost-per-placement rates were reviewed by training model and target population.

Expenditures by population and model. The allocation of program costs by target population is shown in Figure III-3. As the figure illustrates, expenditures for programs geared toward Ayouth@ were the highest among the regional boards at 40.5 percent. Program expenditures for Adisadvantaged adults@ and Awelfare,@ which is a subset of the population group Adisadvantaged,@ accounted for 31.1 percent of the total. Meanwhile, expenditures for the target group Adislocated@ amounted to 28.5 percent.

Figure III-4 shows the distribution of overall program expenditures by training model among the nine regional workforce development boards for the period reported. Costs for basic education skills consumed 45 percent of the total expenditures, as did training in specific occupational skills. The remaining 10 percent was spent on programs offering job search assistance (6.7 percent) and on-the-job training (3.4 percent.) 

Regional expenditures. Overall, regional workforce development boards reported spending $52 million on job training placement and nonplacement programs during the 1995 and 1996 program years. To get an idea of the geographic distribution of program expenditures, the total amounts spent on training by each regional board were examined. The results of this analysis are shown in Figure III-5. 

It should be mentioned that the expenditure amounts shown in the figure include costs for job placement and nonplacement training programs. Nonplacement programs focus on improving a person's basic skills enabling him or her to participate in job training.

As the figure illustrates, the Southwest Region spent the most on training for the two-year period at roughly $15 million. The area with the next highest expenditure total was the capital region, which spent just over $10 million for training. The remaining seven boards each had program expenditure totals of approximately $5 million or less over the two program years. Overall, the total amount spent by all regions on placement-oriented programs was $28.6 million, while expenditures for nonplacement training totaled $23.4 million.

Program participation. Overall, 30,918 people terminated from placement and nonplacement training programs offered through the regional workforce boards for the two-year period analyzed. Of those, 24,471 (79 percent) had a positive termination, meaning they either entered employment or successfully completed a nonplacement program.

Figure III-6 provides a regional breakdown of program participation rates and positive terminations. As the figure illustrates, each region had a fairly high completion rate for placement and nonplacement programs combined. In fact, each region had at least a 71 percent positive termination rate for the period analyzed; the average across the nine regions was 79 percent. 

Program performance data by specific program type (i.e., placement vs. nonplacement-oriented programs) were also analyzed to determine the extent termination rates among regions differed when the program types were examined independently. The results indicate that across regions, nonplacement programs had higher positive termination rates than programs focusing on job placement.

For those clients participating in placement-oriented programs, the overall placement rate among the nine regions was 66 percent. The northeast region had the highest placement rate at 82 percent, while the capital region had the lowest at 42 percent. The committee believes this is due in large part to low placement rates for disadvantaged adults, dislocated workers, and youth participating in occupational skills training, which comprise a large portion of the capital region's clients.

Across all nine regions, successful completion rates for nonplacement programs averaged 89 percent, with 15,641 of the 17,511 participants successfully completing their program. The capital region had the highest positive termination rate for nonplacement programs at 96 percent. The northeast region had the lowest rate at 65 percent, mainly due to an extremely low program completion rate for disadvantaged adults for the 1995 program year thus lowering the region's overall success rate for nonplacement programs.

Placement costs by region. Figure III-7 shows the average training cost for program participants who either entered employment or successfully completed a nonplacement program.

As the figure shows, the cost per participant varies among the regions. The overall average participant cost was $2,228 across the nine workforce development boards. The region with the highest cost per participant was Meriden/Middlesex at just over $3,600. New Haven, on the other hand, had an average per-client cost of roughly $1,300. It should be noted again that the costs reflected in the figure are for those clients who either entered employment or successfully completed a nonplacement-oriented program.

Cost per participant according to placement category was also analyzed. For employment oriented programs, the cost per placement ranged from a low of $1,800 in the New Haven and Northeast regions, to a high of $5,700 in the Capital region. Nonplacement participant costs ranged from $976 in the Central Connecticut region to just under $3,000 in the Meriden/Middlesex region.

Placement rates and per-placement costs by model and population. In addition to analyzing program performance by region, aggregated program data according to target population and method of training were reviewed. Target population categories included dislocated workers, disadvantaged workers, adult welfare recipients, and youth. Training models analyzed included job search skills, occupational skill training, and on-the-job training. Performance information for the target populations and training models was provided as cost per placement/client served and placement/successful completion rates.

Table III-5 shows the average placement rates and cost-per-placement figures by training model and target population group for job placement programs. The information used in the table is aggregate data provided by all nine regional workforce development boards covering program years 1995 and 1996.

 

Table III-5. Placement Rates and Costs Per Placement for Employment-Oriented Programs: 1995-96.

Training Model !

Target Population

Job Search Skills Training

Occupational Skills Training

On-the-Job

Training

Dislocated Worker

Placement Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

78.6%

$1,670

 

63.0%

$3,919

 

80.9%

$2,933

Disadvantaged Adult

Placement Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

N/A

N/A

 

58.8%

$3,500

 

88.1%

$2,657

Adult Welfare Recipient*

Placement Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

79.9%

$703

 

62.5%

$3,569

 

85.9%

$3,889

Youth (ages 16-21)

Placement Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

N/A

N/A

 

54.6%

$5,829

 

93.3%

$1,078

N/A=not applicable.

* Subset of Disadvantaged Adult.

Source of Data: Regional Workforce Development Boards.

The table shows that the on-the-job training model had the highest placement rates regardless of target population. For each of the target populations, on-the-job training had at least an 80 percent placement rate. Examination of the other two training models shows placement rates for clients trained in job search skills were just under 80 percent. (No disadvantaged adults or youth participated in job skills training.) However, placement rates for occupational skills training ranged between 55 and 63 percent -- the lowest among the three placement-oriented training models.

The cost for placing an individual in a job ranged from a low of $703 for adult welfare recipients trained in job search skills, to a high of just over $5,800 for youths completing occupational skills training. Overall, placement costs were lowest among the target populations trained in job search skills, and highest for occupational skills training.

As previously mentioned, not all job training programs are geared towards employment placement. There are some programs that help clients attain basic skills before they undertake a placement-oriented training program. The individual regions measure these programs by the percentage of clients successfully completing the programs.

Table III-6 shows the successful completion rates and cost-per-placement figures by training model and target population group for such programs. The information used in the table represents aggregate figures covering program years 1995 and 1996 as provided by the nine regional workforce development boards.

 

Table III-6. Completion Rates and Costs Per Placement for Basic Preparation Programs: 1995-96.

Type of Training !

Target Population

Basic Education, Employment Skills Training, and

Work Experience

Dislocated Worker

Successful Completion Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

N/A

N/A

Disadvantaged Adult

Successful Completion Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

72.8%

$1,612

Adult Welfare Recipient*

Successful Completion Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

73.9%

$1,780

Youth (ages 16-21)

Successful Completion Rate:

Cost Per Placement:

 

94.8%

$1,457

N/A=not applicable.

* Subset of Disadvantaged Adult.

Source of Data: Regional Workforce Development Boards.

The percent of clients successfully completing basic preparation programs was comparable for the disadvantaged adult and adult welfare recipient population groups at 73 and 74 percent respectively. The completion rate for youths -- those between the ages of 16 and 21 -- was substantially higher at 95 percent. It should be noted that summer youth employment programs are included in this category.

The overall cost for each client completing a basic preparation training program was about the same for the disadvantaged adult, adult welfare recipient, and youth population categories. The average cost for clients within the youth category was just under $1,500. Cost per client served for disadvantaged adults was slightly over $1,600, while the cost for adult welfare recipients was just under $1,800 per client. There are no figures for the dislocated worker group because they are persons who have prior work experience/labor attachment and would generally not need improvement in their basic skills.

Summary. To summarize the job training performance information presented above, the program review committee found that:

Chapter Four: Key Points

Connecticut Employment and Training Commission

Program Monitoring and Evaluation

Gender Bias

Apprenticeship Program

Employability Training

Chapter Four: Findings And Recommendations

The program review committee findings and recommendations are presented in five sections. The first section examines the activities of Connecticut Employment and Training Commission. The second deals with the state's systems for monitoring and evaluating employment and training programs. The third and fourth sections focus on two issues raised at the committee's public hearing -- gender bias in job training and the effect of the state's apprenticeship training program on the supply of labor. The final section concerns the allocation of employment and training resources between employers and trainees.

Connecticut Employment and Training Commission

The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission was created in 1989 with a statutory mandate to plan, coordinate, and evaluate training programs. The commission replaced the Job Training Coordinating Council, whose scope was limited to activities carried out under the federal Job Training Partnership Act.

As noted in Chapter Two, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission's authority is vested in a 35-member board all of whom are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. State law requires that 30 percent of the board's membership be drawn from the state's business sector, 30 percent from labor and community-based organizations, 30 percent from government, and 10 percent from the general public. The commission is provided administrative support and staff resources by the Department of Labor.

The program review committee examined the minutes of the commission's meetings dating back to January 1992. During the period reviewed, the commission held 14 meetings including three in 1992, six in 1993, and five in 1994. The minutes indicate that virtually all of the commission's formal actions dealt with matters related to the federal Job Training Partnership Act. Among the recorded activities were certification of the membership of the regional workforce development boards, approval of the training plans of the regional workforce development boards, and approval of the state's JTPA plan

While the minutes show that the board limited its actions primarily to JTPA issues, other topics did receive attention. For example, the commission reviewed the plans required of the state Department of Labor under both the Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act and the Wagner-Peyser Act. The minutes also indicate that on a few occasions the commission was given an overview of selected state agency programs, although such presentations appear to have been for discussion or informational purposes only.

In addition to reviewing the minutes, the committee staff interviewed personnel from CETC, regional boards, and state agencies to assess the commission's performance. Information gathered through those interviews also indicates that the commission did not venture much beyond its JTPA responsibilities. This is best illustrated by the $16.8 million welfare-to-work program developed by the Department of Social Services in 1995, in response to the state's welfare reform legislation. There is no mention of the program in the commission's minutes. Further, the committee found no one other than Department of Social Services personnel who could recall being involved in discussions regarding the development of the program.

The example indicates that the commission was not included in the planning and implementation of a key employment and training program. The lack of involvement of other state agencies and the regional boards shows that the commission has not ensured an environment that fosters interagency cooperation.

Opportunities for the Department of Social Services or any state agency to use the commission to help plan and coordinate training programs were limited by the fact that CETC's last meeting took place in December 1994. Further, the commissions's executive committee, which is authorized to take actions on behalf of the full commission, held its last meeting in June 1995. According to Department of Labor staff, the commission's lack of activity stems from the fact that its membership terms expired in January 1995, and many members have not been reappointed or replaced.

Based on the review of the commission's minutes, discussions with its staff, and interviews of individuals knowledgeable about the commission's activities, the program review committee finds:

The intent of the legislation that created the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission was to provide a mechanism for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the state's job training and employment system. The findings of the committee indicate that the commission has failed to fully meet these responsibilities. The committee believes, if the commission is to succeed, it must be restructured into a smaller unit and its powers and duties need to be modified. Specifically, the program review committee recommends:

1. Beginning July 1, 1997, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall be composed of 15 members as follows:

Five state officials including the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the commissioners of the Departments of Labor, Education, Social Services, and Economic and Community Development; and

Six business representatives, three labor representatives, and one community services representative appointed to serve coterminously by the governor from a pool of business, labor, and community service representatives nominated by each of the state's regional workforce development boards. (Each regional board would place the names of two business, two labor, and two community service representatives into the pool.)

2. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall be required by statute to meet at least once in every calendar quarter.

3. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall be given the statutory authority and duty to review and formally comment on all job training and employment programs proposed by state agencies and any implementation plans prepared in response to legislative initiatives.

The committee believes that involving the regional boards in the nominating process should have two beneficial effects. First, it will speed up the appointment process by providing a self-starting mechanism for bringing names of potential board members to the attention of the governor. Second, such involvement will increase the level of understanding between the commission and the regional boards, which should enhance their level of cooperation.

The recommendation that a minimum number of meetings be required per calendar quarter is an attempt to make it difficult for the new commission to become completely inactive through neglect. The last recommendation in this series is designed to highlight for state agencies and the commission its responsibility to oversee the state's entire job training and employment system. This recommendation makes it clear that the operations of state agencies are not exempt from the commission's jurisdiction.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation

The federal Job Training and Partnership Act stipulates that training is an investment in human capital and not an expense. To determine whether such investment has been productive, the act notes that essential criteria should be established for measuring and evaluating the return on this investment. Such basic measurements include long-term economic self-sufficiency, increased employment, reductions in welfare dependency, and increased educational attainment and occupational skills.

In this state, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission is the statutory body responsible for overseeing and coordinating all job training programs. However, as mentioned, it is the various state agencies administering job training programs that play the major role in monitoring and evaluating the performance of those programs. Such state agencies normally operate their programs outside the realm of the commission. As a result, most performance measure development and program evaluation is conducted by the individual agencies and not the commission.

At the local level, the nine regional workforce development boards are responsible for overseeing and evaluating job training programs to ensure they meet their specified goals and objectives. Combined, the employment and training commission, state agencies, and regional workforce development boards all play a role in overseeing the performance of training programs in the state.

Connecticut Employment and Training Commission. As noted, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission has the chief responsibility for reviewing the state's employment and training programs. The commission is required by state statute (C.G.S. Sec. 31-3h) to determine the success of such programs and whether they serve the needs of workers, employers, and the economy.

CETC, through the Department of Labor which staffs the commission, attempts to monitor and evaluate training programs on an annual basis. As part of its yearly published inventory of job training programs, the commission surveys state agencies administering training programs to obtain performance measures and utilization information. In terms of program performance, the commission simply asks agencies to define their program job training measures and to provide the number of clients successfully meeting those measures. According to the commission's staff, it does not develop or adopt measures for state job training programs; this process is left to the numerous agencies administering programs. Aside from program measures, the commission's survey asks agencies whether they measure customer satisfaction and, if so, to describe such measures.

Once the performance information is collected, the commission puts together a short document outlining Asuccessful@ outcomes of employment and training programs by agency. The report gives the program name, a brief description of the programmatic outcome(s), the number of clients registered in the program, the number of clients served, outcomes attained, and the number of clients entering employment for that program year. Other than this report, there is no work by CETC regarding statewide performance monitoring and evaluation of job training programs. Moreover, the most current outcome measures report provided to committee staff was for program year 1992-93.

In addition to the state mandated performance measuring and monitoring process, the U.S. Department of Labor requires Connecticut to report on its performance of JTPA-specific programs. Each year the federal labor department publishes a performance profile showing whether individual service delivery areas (SDAs) throughout the state met performance standards established by the federal government.

Table IV-1 shows how Connecticut fared in meeting federal standards for JTPA programs for program year 1993. Information from more current program years is not available due to reporting discrepancies and a lack of uniform data.

As the table indicates, four of nine SDAs met all of the performance standards put forth by the federal DOL for the six program categories. Each of the other five SDAs met the standards in four of the six categories. There were no program categories in which all of the SDAs fully met the performance standard set for that category. Similarly, there were no instances in which all nine SDAs failed to meet the standard for a particular program category. Service delivery areas had the most trouble meeting the standard for the program category Aweekly earnings of employed welfare adults 13 weeks after leaving a JTPA program,@ with four of nine SDAs failing to meet the standard in this area. Overall, however, all but one SDA met the federal standard in four of the six program categories for the 1993 program year.

State agencies. There are approximately 16 different agencies administering job training programs throughout the state. Following committee staff interviews with several of those agencies about their programs, it became apparent that agencies develop their own program measures, outcomes, and standards for non-JTPA programs. As a result, a multiplicity of individual performance monitoring and evaluation systems currently exists for the employment and job training programs administered by state agencies. Further, there was no evidence to indicate the presence of standard measures or a rigorous system for evaluating the performance of the state's job training programs on a macro level.

Table IV-1. JTPA Title II-A and II-C Performance Profile for Program Year 1993.

 

SDA

Adults Emp. 13 Wks After Leaving Program

Weekly Earnings of Emp. Adult 13 Wks.After

Welfare Adults Employed 13 Wks. After

Wkly Earnings of Employed Welfare Adults 13 Weeks After

Youth Employed Upon Leaving Program

 

Youth Gaining Employ. Skills

Number of

Perform. Standards Met

B=Port

+*

-

+*

-

+

+

4

Bristol

+*

+

+*

+

+

+*

6

Danbury

+

-

+

-

+

+*

4

Danlson

+*

+*

+

-

+

-

4

Hartford

+

+

+

+*

+

+

6

Meriden

-

+*

+

+*

-

+*

4

N Haven

+

+

-

-

+

+*

4

Norwich

+

+

+

+

+

+

6

Wtrbury

+*

+

+

+

+

+*

6

A+@ SDA met or exceeded the standard.

A -@ SDA failed to meet standard.

A*@ SDA ranked in highest percentiles (75th and higher) nationally relative to its standard for the particular measure.

Source: Connecticut Department of Labor.

The closest state agencies come to an information feedback system is through the use of performance-based contracts. Such contracts are used as a vehicle to track how well program vendors are performing. The contracts specify certain benchmarks or standards that vendors are required to meet during the life of the contract. Once a particular standard is achieved, the state agency makes a partial payment to the vendor. Most performance-based contracts contain a provision requiring final payment to be withheld until all stipulated performance outcomes have been fully satisfied by the vendor. The program review committee believes this is an excellent means for providing management information that can be used in day-to-day decision making. However, unless such data are aggregated and analyzed, it is of little value to the planning process.

Closely related to the monitoring and evaluation issue, is the flow of information among agencies. State law requires agencies and regional workforce development boards to work cooperatively with respect to job training programs. The labor department also asks agencies to provide the employment and training commission with specific information about their job training programs, which the commission is to then forward to the regional boards. In addition, regional workforce development boards are to provide state agencies with regional plans related to job training, along with other data. This exchange of information is supposed to assist workforce development boards in their overall planning and coordination efforts within their regions, as well as to ensure that state agencies are kept apprised of the efforts of regional development boards at the local level.

The program review committee has been told that the exchange of information between state agencies and regional workforce boards is not as strong as it could be. Further, several state agencies noted that they do not have formal policies directing their regional staff to proactively interact with workforce development boards. The degree of interaction between the agency and workforce boards is left to the individual agency and regional board.

Regional workforce development boards. Regional workforce development boards are responsible for coordinating and monitoring programs at the local level. Similar to state agencies, each board has its own system for monitoring job training programs.

For the most part, regional workforce boards also use performance-based contracts as a way of ensuring vendor performance. Boards use other methods for monitoring and evaluating program performance as well. One common method is to have committees of the board of directors be responsible for performance monitoring. Other methods include on-site monitoring of job training programs and analysis of program statistics by board staff. Regional workforce boards also require subcontractors to "self-monitor" their programs as an added procedure to ensure programs are meeting specified goals and objectives.

Findings and recommendations. Proper monitoring and evaluation is an extremely important process in determining whether programs meet their intended purpose. Based on its examination of the current system in place to oversee state job training programs, the program review committee makes the following findings:

As part of its review, the committee obtained a detailed study completed by the University of Connecticut (UCONN) in late 1994 on the feasibility of designing a performance monitoring system. The study, commissioned by the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, outlines the absence of a coordinated statewide performance monitoring system for employment and training programs. It also details how Connecticut's employment and training system is "not a program but a collection of programs that are not well integrated." The UCONN study further points out that program administrators across agency lines "typically rely on different types of performance measures" and that there is "no system in place to exchange information across programs."

In addition to outlining findings, the UCONN study put forth recommendations in several different areas. For example, the study recommended developing a performance monitoring system to be used as an information/communication device as well as a means to facilitate the integration of the state's employment and training programs. The system should have a statewide focus, yet support regional/local efforts to monitor program performance.

The study also recommended 15 different performance measures that can be used as "standard" measures for evaluating job training programs. Several recommendations regarding the structure for an information management and reporting system were also made, including working toward the use of common data elements and intake forms across agency lines, creating a central information management/reporting function to implement the performance monitoring system, and adopting a flexible approach to simplify the flow of information.

The statutory duties and responsibilities of the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission require the commission to determine the success of job training programs and to coordinate all of the state's employment and training programs to avoid duplication. The review of the current job training program evaluation and monitoring system conducted by the program review committee and at least one previous study on the subject, point to deficiencies in this area. As a way of ensuring proper oversight and coordination of state sponsored employment and job training programs, the committee recommends a two-part solution:

4. First, by July 1, 1998, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall either implement the recommendations of the University of Connecticut study regarding the implementation of a statewide performance monitoring system or an alternative system formally approved by the commission. Any alternative system to the one proposed in the UCONN study must include systemwide job training program measures, outcomes, and standards that can be applied to state-sponsored employment and job training programs as administered by the various state agencies. Regardless of the performance system selected for implementation, a rigorous review of common measures and standards shall be conducted by the commission.

5. Second, by October 1, 1998, and annually thereafter, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall provide the Office of Policy and Management and the General Assembly's committees of cognizance with authority over labor, education, human services, and appropriations, with a report card of each program emphasizing employment placement included in the commission's annual inventory. At a minimum, the report card shall identify for each program the cost, number of individuals entering the program, number of individuals satisfactorily completing the program, and the employment placement rates of those individuals at 13-, 26-, and 52-week intervals following completion of the program or a statement as to why such measure is not relevant.

The program review committee believes that by having the employment and training commission re-examine the current "system" used for evaluating the performance of job training programs and implement a system developed by the commission, or one incorporating the recommendations of the UCONN study, better program performance monitoring from a statewide perspective will be accomplished. Also, having CETC be responsible for implementing a monitoring system -- as opposed to another state agency -- is important because the commission is comprised of representatives from various sectors involved in job training, which provides for input from a greater number of entities ultimately affected by the outcome. Further, incorporating the Office of Policy and Management and the legislature into the performance monitoring process allows for greater scrutiny of the current myriad of job training programs during the budget process.

Gender Bias

As previously noted, a concern was raised at the committee's August 27, 1996, public hearing about whether individuals were being placed in training and employment programs based on their gender. To examine the issue, the committee's staff collected data on 100 individuals who received training or other employment services from regional workforce development boards during the 1996 state fiscal year.

The sample was comprised of 50 cases selected at random from the files of each of two workforce development boards. The boards included those serving the Bridgeport and northeast areas of the state. Among the key data elements recorded were: whether the individual was classified as a disadvantaged or dislocated worker; the race/ethnicity of the individual; the individual's age and educational level; and the type and method of the training or employment service provided.

The training or employment services provided by the boards were consolidated into six broad categories to simplify the analysis. The categories included basic skills; administration services (which included basic computer applications); human services (which included certified nurses assistant, health aides, day care aides, etc.); professional services (which included computer assisted drafting, electronic repair, engineering, commercial drivers license); job search assistance; and miscellaneous.

Overall, females comprised approximately 60 percent of the sample, males 35 percent, with the gender of the remaining 5 percent not recorded. The female group averaged 34.8 years of age compared to 37.1 years for the sample's males. Females had an average grade level of 11.9 years, a full year below the 12.9 average reported for the sample's males. There did not appear to be any significant variation between the two groups with respect to race/ethnicity.

The sample's female and male populations did differ significantly with respect to their classification as disadvantaged or dislocated workers. Females accounted for 80 percent of the disadvantaged workers and 43 percent of the dislocated workers. There were only marginal differences in the immediate post-training placement rates for the two groups -- 75.6 percent of the females and 73.7 percent of the males were placed in jobs.

On the key issue of gender bias, females were found to be disproportionately represented in three of the six training and employment categories identified by the committee. This is illustrated graphically in Figure IV-1. The thick line at the 60th percentile marks the percentage of females that would be expected in each training and employment category, based on their representation in the overall sample. The graph shows that in the basic skills, job search assistance, and miscellaneous categories, females were represented at or near their expected levels. However, in the administrative services (94 percent females), human services (100 percent females), and professional services (20 percent females) categories females deviated markedly in their proportion to the overall population.

Concerned that gender might be masking the influence of being classified as either a disadvantaged or dislocated worker, the committee staff analyzed the distribution of training assignments by gender when these two categories were held constant. The underlying theory was that disadvantaged workers tended to have much less prior attachment to the labor force than dislocated workers and, therefore, might be suitable for only a limited number of training programs.

 

 

The small representation of males within the disadvantaged worker category (15 percent) rendered any analysis of this group meaningless. However, this was not the case with the dislocated worker group, which was 60 percent male and 40 percent female. Results from the analysis of this group, as shown Figure IV-2, illustrate that the percentage of females in three of the four training and employment categories with activity -- there were no individuals classified as dislocated workers appearing in the basic skills or miscellaneous categories -- deviated from expectations, again marked by a thick line this time at the 40th percentile.

 

Based on the data shown in the two figures, the program review and investigations committee concludes:

The committee believes the distributions shown are related to the clustering of available training opportunities around jobs representing extremes on the traditional masculinity-femininity job scale. For example, given a choice between training as a tractor-trailer driver or certified nurse assistant, the two most popular training programs found in the sample, traditional thought would suggest that a majority of the males would pick the former and a majority of the females the latter. Assuming it is desirable to assure that the state's role in training and employment programs does not contribute to increasing gender inequity, the program review committee recommends:

6. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission should require regional workforce development boards and all state agencies responsible for brokering or providing training and employment services to regularly review their procedures and programs to ensure that clients are not being steered onto specific career paths based on their gender or other personal characteristics.

7. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission in cooperation with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities should regularly collect and analyze data on state supported training programs that measure the presence of gender or other systematic bias and work with the relevant boards and agencies to correct any problems that are found.

Apprenticeship Training

Another issue emerging from the committee's public hearing involved the state's apprenticeship training program. The direct issue related to whether the program's imposition of an apprentice-to-journeyperson ratio restricted the hiring practices of employers and inhibited the ability of small construction firms to grow.

Connecticut law provides for a state regulated apprenticeship training program (C.G.S. Secs. 31-51a through 31-51e). Administration of the program is the responsibility of the state labor commissioner, who acts with the advice and guidance of the State Apprenticeship Council. The council consists of 12 members appointed by the governor -- four members representing employers; four labor representatives; and four representing the general public, one of whom shall be a deputy commissioner from the state labor department -- and is charged with formulating policies for implementing the state's apprenticeship laws, setting minimum standards, encouraging and approving apprenticeship programs, and issuing certificates of completion.

One component of the apprenticeship council's minimum standards is the ratio of apprentices to journeypersons that will be allowed for a specific trade. Usually the ratio is set by the council, however, some of the state's occupational licensing boards have developed regulations that specify apprentice-to-journeyperson ratios. The council has accepted those ratios as its standard. Regardless of the origin of the ratio, a firm seeking approval to sponsor an apprentice must conform to the established standard or be granted a modification by the council.

Under the typical ratio, a firm is allowed to hire one apprentice for each of the first two journeypersons employed. Thereafter, one additional apprentice can be hired for each additional three journeypersons employed.

Historically the ratios have been cited as a problem, particularly by small construction firms. In tight labor markets, firms complain that they cannot find enough journeypersons to meet labor demand, and the ratios restrict the number of apprentices that can be hired. During economic downturns, small firms complain that the limited number of apprentices allowed under the ratios often force the firms to use two journeypersons on a job that could be done by a single journeyperson and an apprentice, thereby driving up the firm's labor costs relative to its competitors.

In response to these concerns, the State Apprenticeship Council instituted a policy in October 1994 that allows firms to seek temporary relief from the established ratios. Under this policy, a sub-committee of the council reviews the request and makes a recommendation to the labor commissioner based on current economic conditions and the applicant's record of graduating apprentices, meeting affirmative action goals, and compliance with labor laws. The commissioner may approve the request completely, partially, or deny it. If an approval is granted a firm has 90 days to hire an apprentice.

Some important points should be noted. First, ratio relief is granted on a firm-by-firm basis and is not industry wide. Also, the job site ratio can never be greater than one apprentice to one journeyperson. Finally, the occupational licensing boards have temporarily agreed to accept modifications to their ratios approved by the labor commissioner.

Table IV-2 summarizes the decisions made by the labor commissioner from the inception of the current ratio relief policy to early September 1996. The data show that a low percentage of the requests for relief are denied, and that the overwhelming proportion are approved without change.

 

Table IV-2. Outcome of Requests for Ratio Relief

Time Period

Requests

Approved

Partially Approved

Denied

10/1/94 -- 9/30/95

97

72

12

13

10/1/95 -- 9/6/96

115

95

13

5

Source of Data: State Apprenticeship Council.

Based on this record, the program review committee finds:

Employer-Based Training

Employer-centered vs. individual-centered job training. An increasingly debated issue in the job training field is the allocation of funds to training programs centered around individuals verses employers. Under the individual-centered approach, the government identifies industries that have a high demand for labor and then assists individuals in their efforts to obtain the skills necessary to gain employment in the selected industries. Under the employer-centered approach, the government works directly with an employer to develop a customized job training program for workers selected or approved by the employer.

Although Connecticut funds both approaches to training, the majority of its resources are directed at training focused on the needs of individuals. The committee found only four of the 62 program categories included in CETC's 1995 inventory provided direct support for employer-based training -- Customized Job Training; Manufacturing Assistance; Job Training Finance; and Targeted Jobs Tax Credit, which has been terminated.

The Customized Job Training program, administered by the Department of Labor, had the highest reported spending among the four employer-based training programs. The program was created in 1977 to provide training services to new and expanding firms. It has been extended in recent years to include assisting businesses to retrain current workers to keep pace with technological and market changes.

The Customized Job Training program is financed from the state's General Fund and funds allocated by the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development from the sale of bonds authorized under the state's Manufacturing Assistance Act. The General Fund appropriation has typically been in the vicinity of $1.9 million. The allocation from the bond proceeds cannot exceed $5.25 million.

The employer-based training administered by DECD under its manufacturing assistance program has the same basic objectives as DOL's Customized Job Training program. A formal agreement between the two agencies defines the role each plays in supporting employer-based training and allocates the bond proceeds used to partially finance the programs. For example, the two agencies have agreed that each can generate business for their respective programs, but they must inform each other of all contacts, and the staff from the labor department is responsible for doing all the needs assessments regardless of the source of the employer contact.

As noted, the Customized Job Training program has been in existence for almost 20 years. Between 1992 and 1995, the most recent years for which complete data are available, an annual average of $2.4 million was spent to provide training to 4,744 individuals from 244 companies. The Department of Labor reported that it had committed $3.2 million to employers for training under the program in 1996 and was forced to turn down requests for an additional $664,734.

Some of this excess demand should be relieved temporarily as the Department of Economic and Community Development begins to initiate activity under its employer-based training program. The department reported nearly $565,000 in obligations or pending obligations under the program through July 1996, after not reporting any activity in previous years. However, with the department financing the training entirely with bond funds and the Department of Labor having nearly exhausted its share of the funds, the authorized bond limit will be reached shortly.

Additional relief from employer demand may come from the Job Training Finance program administered by the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA). Under this program, which is just getting started, CDA works with banks encouraging them to make low-interest loans (prime rate or less) to private employers to finance job training. After the training has been completed, CDA pays the bank up to 25 percent of the loan or $25,000, whichever is less. CDA reported that employer interest in the program is growing rapidly.

Although cooperation between DECD and DOL appears to be very good, the committee did find some areas of concern. Most notably, representatives from the regional workforce development boards expressed concern that they had little input into programs of either DOL or DECD, and often were not informed of decisions involving companies in their regions. In response, representatives from both departments indicated that their field staff worked closely with personnel from the regional boards on a variety of matters including employer-based training.

From this assessment, the program review committee makes the following findings and proposes two recommendations:

Findings

Recommendations

8. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission in consultation with the Department of Labor, Department of Economic and Community Development, and the regional workforce development boards, shall recommend to the Office of Policy and Management and the committee of the General Assembly having cognizance over appropriations, budget targets for assisting state employers with their training needs.

9. The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission shall take steps to secure a new interagency agreement between the Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development that includes a role for the state's regional workforce development boards.

 

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