Evaluating Job Services for Our Nation's Veterans: Supplemental Findings from a WIA Gold Standard Evaluation

Nov 10, 2015

Finding a job can be one of the biggest challenges veterans face after leaving the military, especially for veterans with disabilities. But with support from the public workforce system—accessed through American Job Centers (AJCs)—veterans can receive help to overcome employment barriers in the civilian workforce. AJC services for veterans have been supported by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker programs and the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSGs). 

A new study from Mathematica Policy Research sheds light on the characteristics of veterans who visit AJCs, the assistance they receive, and how AJCs ensure veterans are given priority of service. The findings are based on data from 28 sites across the country, randomly selected for Mathematica’s WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation. The study also includes an in-depth analysis of job services provided to veterans in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Key findings include:

  • Program administration: Veterans who sought help from AJCs were often assisted by JVSG staff who were, in most cases, veterans themselves.
  • Priority of service: Although many veterans were not aware of their right to priority of service upon first entering an AJC, they were usually informed during intake. 
  • Veterans’ characteristics: In Pennsylvania and Texas, veterans were more likely than nonveterans to be male, to be older, and to have a disability. Veterans in these states were also significantly more likely to have had some college than their nonveteran counterparts.
  • Employment outcomes: After receiving services, veterans secured employment at slightly lower rates than nonveterans, but they earned slightly more. In Pennsylvania and Texas, employment services, such as receipt of WIA-funded training, referrals to federal contractors, and other job referrals, were positively correlated with veterans’ average quarterly earnings after leaving the program.

Employment training and service programs targeted to veterans will continue under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), which superseded WIA. Exactly how WIOA will affect the way in which veterans receive services remains to be seen. However, through WIOA, AJCs will be encouraged to look for ways to improve service coordination and better tailor services to meet the needs of veterans and their families. Learn more about Mathematica’s study by reading the final report: Volume I and Volume II.


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