Following passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment areas have been required to use individual training accounts (ITAs) to fund most occupational training activities. With some restrictions, customers of the One-Stop system can use ITAs to select training from a wide array of state-approved programs and providers. States and local offices have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to structure ITAs. At one extreme, local counselors can play a pivotal role in directing customers to particular training programs and closely tailoring ITA award amounts to each customer’s needs. At the other extreme, local staff can play a minor role, providing all customers with the same fixed ITA amounts, allowing customers to choose their training programs independently, and providing counseling only on request.
This report presents long-term results from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering ITA services, with impacts measured six to eight years after program enrollment. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the U.S. Department of Labor designed the ITA experiment to provide federal, state, and local policymakers, administrators, and program managers with information on the tradeoffs inherent in different ITA service delivery models.
As a part of the experiment, nearly 8,000 customers of One-Stop Centers in eight different sites were randomly assigned to one of the three ITA service delivery models tested in the ITA Experiment. These models varied along three policy-relevant dimensions (Table ES.1): (1) the ITA award structure (that is, whether the award amount was fixed for all customers or tailored to the customer’s needs); (2) required counseling (that is, whether ITA counseling was mandatory or optional, and its intensity); and (3) program approval (that is, whether counselors could reject customers’ training choices and deny an ITA, or had to approve them if the customer had completed his or her ITA requirements). (author abstract)