In June 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded Growing America Through Entrepreneurship (GATE II) grants to four states: Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Virginia. Alabama and North Carolina used the grants to provide self-employment training to dislocated workers in rural areas, while Minnesota and Virginia targeted older dislocated workers. This report presents the results of the evaluation of the GATE II program as implemented in the four grantee states. The evaluation objective was to address two key research questions:
- Was GATE II effective in improving the labor market outcomes of older dislocated workers and of rural dislocated workers?
- Is providing self-employment training to older dislocated workers and rural dislocated workers interested in self-employment a viable policy tool for promoting their reemployment?
The evaluation consisted of a random assignment impact study, to examine the impact of GATE II on participants' labor-market outcomes (e.g., self-employment, overall employment, self-employment earnings, and total earnings).
While all four states planned to implement a random assignment design, only North Carolina and Virginia were able to do so. As a result, the impact evaluation results presented in this report include only the North Carolina and Virginia GATE II demonstrations. Findings derived from the implementation analysis covers all four states. The study analyzed participant data at program entry, post-program follow up, and administrative data to examine the answers to these questions stated above. The impact study of GATE II in North Carolina showed that the program was effective in assisting rural dislocated workers to start their own business following program entry, and be self-employed nearly three years after program entry. The impact study of the Virginia GATE II program, designed to help older dislocated workers, showed the program was effective in helping participants to start their own business after program entry, however there were no statistically significant impacts on self-employment or on employment overall. Additional analyses showed that the North Carolina GATE II program was more effective for younger workers (those less than 45 years old) and for workers with no prior self-employment experience. (Author abstract)