The Evaluation of the CET Replication Sites has its origins in the remarkable performance of a single employment and training program: the Center for Employment Training. CET is a community-based employment and training organization with headquarters in San Jose, California. CET received extensive attention in the early 1990s through the involvement of its San Jose headquarters in two major studies of employment and training programs for disadvantaged individuals. Both studies reported that participants in CET-San Jose’s programs achieved substantial and statistically significant gains in employment and earnings as compared to a control group not receiving CET services. CET-San Jose’s results were particularly noteworthy in relation to the results of outwardly similar programs. Among 16 employment and training providers participating in these two studies, CET-San Jose alone produced statistically measurable employment and earnings gains for its clients.
Encouraged by these results, the U.S. Department of Labor sought to investigate how CET-San Jose’s successes could benefit out-of-school youth and, in 1995, began an evaluation of efforts to replicate CET. In doing so, the Department of Labor anticipated the increased emphasis on services to out-of-school youth that would be mandated in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). WIA requires that a minimum of 30 percent of youth funds shall be used to provide activities to out-of-school youth, and encourages local programs to develop long-term, intensive services for youth. The Evaluation of the CET Replication Sites targeted out-of-school youth exclusively, and sought to provide them with intensive and comprehensive services leading to employment. This report’s findings thus appear at a critical junction in the reform of employment and training services for out-of-school youth.
The Evaluation of the CET Replication Sites involved 12 sites in total. Six sites were located in eastern and mid-western states, and had begun their efforts to replicate CET-San Jose’s services in the early 1990s. Six additional sites were selected randomly from among those located in western states that had been operating CET programs between 5 and 20 years. All of the western sites were divisions of the CET corporation, as were two of the eastern and mid-western sites. The remaining eastern and mid-western sites included two community-based organizations and two administrative entities under the Job Training Partnership Act, the federally-funded employment and training program that preceded WIA.
To investigate the potential benefits of CET-San Jose for out-of-school youth, the Evaluation of the CET Replication Sites was designed to examine the implementation experiences of these twelve sites, and to measure their impacts on a range of important outcomes, such as employment and earnings. This report addresses the first of these goals. It relies on data collected between 1996 and 1999 to document and explore the implementation experiences of the replication sites. A second report, scheduled for completion in 2002, will utilize long-term data on individual outcomes of CET applicants who were randomly assigned to a program group eligible for CET services or to a control group not eligible to receive these services. (author introduction)