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Los Angeles Performance Partnership Pilot (LAP3): Impact Evaluation
The LAP3 program created a comprehensive service delivery system that coordinates multiple layers of services being provided to disconnected youth ages 16-24, who are: high school dropouts, in the probation system, in foster care, homeless, or out-of-school and out-of-work. LAP3 attempted to align and coordinate City and County of Los Angeles programs, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the Los Angeles Community College District, State Employment Development Department, and other public and private agencies to serve these at-risk youth populations. LAP3 was centered in LA City’s fourteen YouthSource Centers (YSCs) and was funded with Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth funds. The Centers operate under contracts with LA City and include other youth programs that vary across sites. One common service is the opportunity to work with an LAUSD Pupil Service and Attendance (PSA) counselor to assess youths’ educational needs and help return youth to school. Under LAP3, YSCs were directed to serve all youth who came into centers whether they were WIOA eligible or not. Some activities, such as resume workshops, were available to both WIOA and non-WIOA clients in most centers. A significant part of the intervention were monthly regional meetings where the partners in a specific region, such as East Los Angeles, would meet to exchange information and discuss individual cases and how agencies could coordinate to help youth in problematic situations. Waivers: LAP3 was based on two granted waivers: (1) U.S. Department of Labor Waiver: WIOA Title I Youth Consider foster, justice-involved, homeless and runaway youth who are in school to be counted in the 75 percent out-of-school youth service category for fiscal accounting purposes; (2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Waiver: Transitional Living Program The HHS Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Runaway and Homeless Youth Program (RHY) has granted the LA LGBT Center a waiver to increase the eligibility ages for youth in its transitional living program from 21 to 24. (Los Angeles Performance Partnership Pilot (P3): 2017-2020 Strategic Plan Serving Disconnected Youth, 2017) Comparison Condition: Comparison youth came from WIOA youth in LA County. The County of Los Angeles Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department continued to operate its WIOA Youth Program separate from the City of Los Angeles LAP3 program in 2016-17. Participants in the County WIOA Youth program are in the same overall labor market, meet the same WIOA requirements, and many came from the same populations. But these youth were not served by centers implementing integrated sets of services. For example, in this period LA County youth programs did not have PSA Counselors in their centers. The County provides WIOA youth services through its WIOA contractors who also provide WIOA adult services. Outcomes: The evaluation focused on six outcomes: (1) if the youth had not completed secondary education at enrollment, – returned to secondary education; (2) if the youth had completed secondary education at enrollment—enrolled in post-secondary education or training; (3) completed a degree or certificate; (4) received career preparation from skills training; (5) received skills preparation from subsidized employment; and (6) employed when services ended. Sample and Setting: Our analytic sample was drawn from administrative records of 3,458 LAP3 youth and 4,575 comparison youth from LA County WIOA. Of these LAP3 youth, 2,457 were also enrolled in WIOA and we matched these youth to comparison youth — requiring that all youth had exited within the first year of the program. This resulted in 992 LAP3 youth matched to similar youth from the County WIOA program for analysis (1,465 youth were not matched because they did not have comparable matches or had not entered and exited in the first progam year). Research Design and Data Collection: We implemented a matched-pairs comparison design using data from the Jobs LA data system, a statewide system used to track WIOA clients in both the city and the county. Outcome data were recorded in the system as a routine matter. Findings: LAP3 youth showed gains in education and employment, but less exposure to employment-related training. LAP3 youth were almost three times as likely to complete a degree or certificate (31.6 % and 10.3%, respectively) within a year of exiting the program, or to return to school if they had not completed secondary school (31.5% and 11.0%, respectively). It is logical to attribute this to the presence of the PSA counselors in the YSCs. The comparison youth were significantly more likely to receive subsidized employment (56.4% and 35.6% respectively) and engage in various types of skill training designed to lead to employment compared to LAP3 participants (29.3% and 22.4% respectively). This may be because the LAP3 focus on returning dropouts to secondary education displaced skill training activities. It also appears to be the case that the County has devoted substantial resources to providing opportunities for subsidized employment. Finally, LAP3 participants were significantly more likely to be employed at the end of services compared to their matches (42.6% vs 23.1%). We found similar evidence when studying program impacts on key subgroups which are particularly hard to serve, including: foster and formerly foster youth, youth who were or had been on probation, and homeless youth. LAP3 foster youth were statistically significantly more likely to complete a degree or certificate than their matches. LAP3 homeless youth were also statistically significantly more likely to be employed than their matches. However, LAP3 homeless youth were statistically significantly less likely to receive subsidized employment than their matches. One important caveat is that, although youth entered and exited within the 2016-2017 WIOA program year, they may have participated for varying lengths of time. This can influence the time participants had to achieve the measured outcomes, and these differences could be related to comparison conditions.