Career Training and Job Matching


  • Goodwill of North Georgia, Georgia

Focus Area

  • Self-Sufficiency

“We have not seen a [good] labor market like this for quite a while, but it's not easy to keep a job if you don't have the skill set and you don't have barrier mitigation. Life gets in the way. So this is really what we focus on.”

Jenny Taylor, Vice President of Career Services, Goodwill of North Georgia

The Issue

Unemployment casts a long shadow over the lives of individuals and families who are unable to find and maintain a steady income. In addition to pushing people below the poverty line, unemployment is among the top-cited causes of homelessness in major cities across the country. It exacerbates mental and physical health challenges and substance use struggles and increases the risk of entering the court system. These factors then create additional barriers to successful employment.

Workforce training programs provide practical vocational skills that set participants up for economic mobility. Research indicates that these interventions can positively impact employment, earnings, and nonemployment outcomes. However, there is limited rigorous evaluation of such programs and their impacts on retained employment.

The Intervention

To help people overcome obstacles to employment, Goodwill of North Georgia offers career training and job matching services. Participants develop individual career plans outlining their goals, training, barrier mitigation strategies, and work supports. Then they begin vocation-specific training and work with Goodwill employment specialists to create individual job search plans. Goodwill of North Georgia has more than a dozen different industry recognized credentials and career pathways in high demand areas. Once they land a job, participants work with a job retention coach for one year. 

However, participants are not going to be successful at maintaining employment unless they have a way to get to work, someone to watch their children, and many other forms of support to address barriers. This barrier mitigation is an important part of moving people towards self-sufficiency. As part of the program, Goodwill case managers provide one-on-one follow-up with each person to make sure they are receiving that support.

Research Question

What is the impact of participation in Goodwill of North Georgia’s career training and job matching program on employment, earnings, and benefit utilization?

Intended Outcomes

  • Participants in Goodwill of North Georgia’s career training and job matching program will have higher earnings, employment, and benefits utilization.

Research Study Design

LEO researchers will use a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to measure the program’s effects on outcomes such as credential attainment, employment, earnings, and benefit utilization for women and people of color who received services. The study will recruit 800-1,000 participants over a two-year period. The outcomes of interest will be measured at one- and two-year intervals after enrollment. 

Due to limited resources, Goodwill cannot fund training for all individuals who seek it. To allocate funding fairly and run a rigorous impact evaluation, a lottery system will assign applicants who are eligible to receive funding for the program and are interested in the research study to either the treatment or control group.

The treatment group will receive basic job preparation and career services, certification programs operated by partner organizations and colleges, as well as light case management. These services are meant to develop clients’ job search and job retention skills alongside their vocation-specific skills. Researchers anticipate having 400-500 participants assigned to this group. Those assigned to the control group will not receive funding to participate in the program.

By comparing the outcomes for both groups, LEO will be able to isolate the effect of the career training and job search program on the outcomes of interest. Importantly, using random assignment ensures that the study will generate causal evidence about the impact of Goodwill’s program. 

Regardless of outcomes, learning more about best practices for workforce development will better position Goodwill to expand programming and serve more clients.

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