Will Congress give a boost to the long-term unemployed?

July 02, 2014

Harvard economist Lawrence Katz believes the legislation could help the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged workers, pointing to “growing rigorous evidence” that programs that closely involve employers are effective. One major study that looked at programs in New York, Milwaukee and Boston found significant gains. “Net impacts on earnings were about $4,500 per participant over the 24-month period after random assignment, with about $4,000 in the second year, once training was completed,” explains Georgetown public policy professor Harry Holzer.

Katz believes the Senate legislation could go further to improve federal training programs’ performance standards and help participants navigate the system. Advocates for more job training, however, are generally enthused. Rachel Unruh, associate director for the National Skills Coalition, believes the Senate bill will build on White House programs that have also focused on involved employers.

“The alignment of these proven job-driven practices across congressional and administrative action is very good news for the long-term unemployed,” Unruh says.