As a community leader and advocate for strong workforce development policies, SCPa Works develops and disseminates timely and relevant research that helps shape workforce investments in our region.

Here you’ll find some of the latest research and studies (both regional and national) that we’re using to develop innovative and evidence-based strategies to better serve job seekers and employers:

  • Career Pathways: 

    • 2016 :  Recent Research on Career Pathways
      MDRC mdrc twitterIn recent years, MDRC has conducted research on a range of career pathways programs and program components. This research describes the career pathways approach, highlighting core design elements, and profiles MDRC projects that shed light on the effectiveness of this approach and its potential to improve education and career outcomes.

 

  • Labor Force

    • Making Sense of Unemployment Data  : 
      • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 
        • Job growth has been healthy for five years. However, many people still express concern over the health of theJan_2016_RE-1 overall labor market. For example, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, states that the “official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.” He proposes the Gallop Good Jobs rate as a better indicator of the health of the labor market. At the heart of Clifton and others’ concern is what the official unemployment rate actually measures and whether it is a reliable indicator.
    • Labor Indicators: Some of Today’s Trends Pre-Date the Great Recession  :
      • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
        • More than six years after the Great Recession reached its trough, policymakers and researchers are still debating whether a full-blown, robust recovery in the labor market is under way. Although the unemployment rate declined from 10 percent in October 2009 to 5 percent in October 2015, some policymakers and researchers are concerned that other labor statistics are lagging the levels typically expected in the mature stages of an economic expansion.
    • People who are not in the labor force: why aren’t they working?  
      • U.S. Department of Labor reasons-for-not-working
        • People who are neither working nor looking for work are counted as “not in the labor force,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2000, the percentage of people in this group has increased. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) provide some insight into why people are not in the labor force. 
    • Employment Projections — 2014-24 
      • Bureau of Labor Statistics – U.S. Department of Labor blsimage
        • Healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. With the increase in the proportion of the population in older age groups, more people in the labor force will be entering prime retirement age. As a result, the labor force participation rate is projected to decrease and labor force growth to slow. This slowdown of labor force growth is expected, in turn, to lead to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.2 percent annually over the decade. This economic growth is projected to generate 9.8 million new jobs—a 6.5-percent increase between 2014 and 2024.
        • The projections are predicated on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually over the projected period. Highlights of the BLS projections for the labor force and macroeconomy, industry employment, and occupational employment are included below.
  • Opportunity Youth

    • Youth summer jobs programs: Aligning ends and means   Brookings summer jobs youth

      • Brookings Institute
        • Summer jobs programs for young people have experienced a resurgence of interest and investment since the Great Recession, driven by concerns about high youth unemployment rates, particularly among low-income, black, and Hispanic youth.
    • Connecting Young Adults To Employment: Results From A National Survey Of Service Providers 
      • Aspen Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI)
        • The report captures the insights of a variety of service providers helping to connect young adults to jobs in today’sAspen research image labor market. Published by AspenWSI in January 2016, the report documents the results of a survey in which hundreds of service providers nationwide described their experiences serving young adults. The report also offers key considerations for practitioners and policymakers seeking to assist the large and growing population of disadvantaged young adults seeking to make meaningful connections to work in today’s labor market.
    • Tapping New Pools of Talent: Preparing Opportunity Youth To Help Fill The Skills Gap
      • Jobs for the Future 
        • More than 6 million young people in the United States are out of school, out of work, and, often it seems, out of luck. That’s 17 percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24. This population includes dropouts and high school gJFF new poolsraduates, former foster children and juveniles in court custody; youth caring for siblings and teens cycling in and out of low-wage jobs. Once known as “disconnected,” they are increasingly called “opportunity youth.” Despite growing up in difficult circumstances—they represent a large opportunity for investing in our nations workforce and our future. This brief focuses on strategies for strengthening education and employment pathways that prepare opportunity youth for jobs that can lead to productive careers opportunity youth for jobs that can lead to productive careers.
  • Poverty

    • Producing Poverty: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Production Jobs in Manufacturing
      • UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education UC Berk
        • Recent research by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) found that manufacturing production wages now rank in the bottom half of all jobs in the United States.1 In decades past, production workers employed in manufacturing earned wages significantly higher than the U.S. average, but by 2013 the typical manufacturing production worker made 7.7 percent below the median wage for all occupations.
      • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) 
        • More than 500,000 and as many as 1 million of the nation’s poorest people will be cut off SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) over the course of 2016, due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on SNAP benefits for  snap-timelimits-2016_450unemployed adults aged 18-49 who aren’t disabled or raising minor children.  These individuals will lose their food assistance benefits after three months regardless of how hard they are looking for work.  The impact will be felt in the 23 states that must or are choosing to reimpose the time limit in 2016.
    • Effects of raising the minimum wage: Research and key lessons
      •  Journalist’s Resource 
        • This short research article provides a literature review of some recent studies on the potential effects of raising the minimum wage. The review provides an overview of some of the non-partisan research that has been published by the Congressional Budget Office and the Journal of Public Economics. The research generally supports the idea that raising the minimum wage would have varying effects across U.S. regions and minwageindustries.
  •  Reentry:

    • Federal Interagency Reentry Council – National Reentry Week Fact Sheet
      • The Federal Interagency Reentry Council has been working together for five years to reduce recidivism and improve employment, education, housing, health and child welfare outcomes. Comprised of more than 20 federal agencies, the Reentry Council coordinates and leverages existing federal resources that are targeted to reentry; uses the bully pulpit to dispel myths; clarifies policies and provides visibility to programs and policies that work; and reduces the policy barriers to successful reentry.
    • Justice Reinvestment in Pennsylvania: Overview 
      • The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center
        • To study the state’s criminal justice system and address the high incarceration rate, among other issues, CSGJCPennsylvania leaders established the bipartisan, interbranch Justice Reinvestment Working Group under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Along with state officials and
          policymakers, members include state and local criminal justice system stakeholders.
    • Get Involved: A Collection of Juvenile Justice Resources – Annie E. Casey Foundation
      • Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) 2014 Progress Report
        • This report provides a detailed update on Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, which reaches over one-fourth of the total U.S. youth population. At the end of 2013, JDAI was operating in more than 250 counties nationwide, spread across 39 states and the District of Columbia. Through JDAI, participating jurisdictions are sharply reducing
          reliance on detention — and are doing so while protecting public safety and safeguarding taxpayer dollars.
    • Second Chances, Safer Counties: Workforce Development and Reentry
      • National Association of Counties (NACo) Policy Research Series
        • Counties support 91 percent of all local jails in the United States, which admitted 11.4 million individuals in 2014.  Jails also release more than 135,000 inmates each day. Counties and local workforce development boards (local WDBs) NACO imagecooperate to provide workforce training services and assistance to residents, including formerly incarcerated adult and youth populations.  Reentry programs provide assistance and services to individuals who have been released from jail or prison or who are preparing to be released.  Federal resources devoted to workforce development through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) play a major role in supporting reentry programs at the local level.
    • Report: A Successful Prisoner Reentry Program Expands 
      • Lessons from the Replication of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) 
        • Between 2004 and 2010, MDRC conducted a rigorous random assignment evaluation of the original mdrc twitterCEO program as part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The evaluation found that CEO was effective at reducing recidivism rates — the rates at which participants committed new crimes or were reincarcerated — among important subgroups of its participant population.
    • Reintegration of Ex-Offenders: Two-Year Impact Report
      • Social Policy Research Associates 
        • The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) project began in 2005 as a joint initiative of the Department of DOL rexo imageLabor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the Department of Justice, and several other federal agencies. In 2009, ETA commissioned a three-year random assignment evaluation of the RExO project. This evaluation report summarizes the initial impacts of the RExO program on offender outcomes in four areas: service receipt, labor market success, recidivism, and other outcomes. The results are based on outcomes for these individuals in the two-year period after they enrolled into the study. A final impact report is scheduled to be submitted in fall 2015, and will focus on impacts in the three-year period following random assignment (RA) into the study.2014
    • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults   
      • RAND Corporation 
        • After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine theRAND research association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment after release from prison, and learning in math and in reading. Their findings support the premise that receiving correctional education while incarcerated reduces an individual’s risk of recidivating. They also found that those receiving correctional education had improved odds of obtaining employment after release. The authors also examined the benefits of computer-assisted learning and compared the costs of prison education programs with the costs of reincarceration.