Providing Services to Veterans Through the Public Workforce System: Descriptive Findings from the WIA Gold Standard Evaluation

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

As thousands of military veterans return from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and seek to enter the civilian labor market, providing effective employment and training services to veterans is becoming increasingly important.

Mathematica is conducting the largest, most rigorous evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker programs to date. While the overall evaluation targets civilian workers, a supplemental study focuses on veterans in 28 randomly selected Local Workforce Investment Areas. Within these local areas, researchers used interview and administrative data to examine veterans’ experience with employment services provided by American Job Centers (AJCs) and then analyzed employment-related outcomes. Among the study’s key findings:

  • Program administration: Veterans who sought help from AJCs were often assisted by Jobs for Veterans State Grants (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. 

Read more about the WIA evaluation.