Schochet, Burghardt, and Glazerman (2001) found that participation in Job Corps led to statistically significant reductions in arrests. Almost one third of control group members (32.6 percent) were arrested during the 48-month follow-up period, compared with 28.8 percent in the treatment group. This impact corresponds to a 16 percent reduction in the arrest rate attributable to participation in the Job Corps program. Additionally, about 18 percent of control group members were arrested more than once, and nearly half of those arrests occurred within the first year after random assignment. Program group members were also less likely to have arrest charges for all categories of crimes, except for assault. This suggests that the crime reductions had a uniform impact rather than just reducing substance use or property offenses.
A similar beneficial impact was found for convictions. More than 25 percent of the control group members were convicted, pled guilty, or were adjudged delinquent in the 48-month follow-up period, compared with 22 percent of the treatment group members. The statistically significant impact resulted in a 17 percent reduction in convictions for participants in the Job Corps program. This is attributed to participants in the treatment group being arrested at lower rates than members of the control group, as about 75 percent of participants arrested (both treatment and control) were convicted.
Job Corps participation also reduced incarceration rates and time spent incarcerated. About 18 percent of control group members were incarcerated, compared with 16 percent of treatment group members. This impact resulted in a 17 percent reduction in the incarceration rate. Job Corps participants spent an average of about six days less in jail than those in the control group. This translates to a 14 percent reduction in time spent in jail during the 48-month follow-up period. Similar to the conviction findings, these findings were due to a large difference in arrests between members of the treatment group and the control group. In other words, fewer overall arrests in the treatment group resulted in fewer overall convictions, which resulted in fewer overall incarcerations.
This study showed no statistically significant long-lasting findings for alcohol and drug usage. Job Corps participation had no statistically significant effect on cigarette smoking. Both control and treatment group members smoked cigarettes before the 12-month survey and continued to report regular smoking at the 30- and 48-month surveys.
Participation in Job Corps slightly reduced alcohol consumption at the 12-month follow-up. However, this small effect was evident at neither the 30-month nor the 48-month follow-up survey. That is, by the last data collection there was no significant statistical difference between treatment and control members in terms of alcohol consumption.
There were no significant statistical differences found between the treatment and control groups for illegal drug use as well. Job Corps participation had no impact on the use of marijuana, hashish, or hard drugs at the 12-, 30- and 48-month surveys.
The employment rate of the control group was significantly higher than that of the treatment group during the period when many treatment group members were enrolled in Job Corps. These differences narrowed over time, as Job Corps members left the program and started to gain employment. Impacts of the Job Corps program become positive 2 years after random assignment. This effect grew stronger between the second- and third-year follow-up periods and remained fairly constant by the fourth-year follow-up. In year 4, the average quarterly impact on the employment rate was about 3 percentage points (69 percent for the treatment and 66 percent for the control). Treatment group members spent more time in education and training programs, and their employment rate did not surpass the control group until the second-year follow-up.
A similar result was found for time employed, which was measured by weeks employed and number of hours worked per week. Again, the control group members worked more weeks and more hours during the week during the time when treatment group members were enrolled in Job Corps. As treatment group members left Job Corps and started working, this difference narrowed. The positive impacts of the Job Corps program were evidenced in quarters 8 and 12 (the second- and third-year follow-up periods).
Job Corps members had better earnings, especially in years 3 and 4 of the study. Similar to the employment findings, control group members initially earned more than treatment group members, as they were enrolled in Job Corps and not yet earning wages. Average weekly earnings were significantly higher for control group members than for treatment group members during the first 5 quarters after random assignment. However, starting in quarter 7 and growing throughout quarters 8 and 12 (or the third year of the study), treatment group members started earning more than control group members. By year 4 of the study, Job Corps members demonstrated a statistically significant positive impact on their earnings. Job Corps members were earning about $211 per week, compared with control group members, who were earning about $195 per week. Job Corps participants were estimated to be earning an average of 12 percent more than if they had not enrolled in the program.
Schochet, Burghardt, and Glazerman (2001) used an experimental design with random assignment to assess the effects of the Job Corps program on criminal justice involvement, employment, earnings, and time employed. This was the first nationally representative experimental evaluation of a federal employment program. Between Nov. 17, 1994, and Dec. 16, 1995, nearly 81,000 eligible applicants nationwide were randomly assigned to either enroll in a Job Corps program group or to a control group which did not receive Job Corps services (although they could participate in other training or education programs). This large sample was followed for 4 years after random assignment to the treatment group (Job Corps program services) and the control group (not receiving Job Corps program services).
Outcome measures for the study were obtained from two sources: survey data and administrative earnings records. The surveys were conducted at baseline (shortly after random assignment) and at 12-, 30-, and 48-month follow-up periods. Surveys were conducted primarily by telephone and, if necessary, in person. Final analysis and results are based on participants who completed a 48-month follow-up interview. This resulted in 6,828 youths in the Job Corps program group (an 81 percent response rate) and 4,485 youths in the control group (a 78 percent response rate). Educational attainment, employment and job characteristics, receipt of public assistance, and criminal offending were all measured in the participant surveys. Educational attainment was measured by items such as number of programs that youths participated in; attainment of degrees, diplomas, or certificates; and number of hours in training. Employment was measured with similar items such as number of hours worked in a week, number of weeks employed, and job characteristics. Receipt of public assistance was measured with items asking about sources of income (unemployment insurance), receiving assistance in the form of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or food stamps, and living in public housing. Criminal offending was measured by items asking about number of arrests, number of convictions, most serious charge for which one has been convicted, substance use, time spent in drug or alcohol treatment, and time spent in jail or on probation/parole.
The administrative earnings records (tax data) were collected for 9 years after random assignment. By year 9, participants in the original sample were between the ages of 25 and 33. This data came in two forms: 1) annual summary earnings reported by employers to the Internal Revenue Service and 2) wage records reported to state unemployment insurance agencies. These two sources of tax data cover most workers in formal jobs. Agricultural labor, railroad workers, and some domestic service workers are not covered in either data source. This tax data was used as another source of information to corroborate employment and earnings data collected in the participant surveys.
The study population was mostly male (60 percent) and younger than 20 (73.2 percent were 19 or younger). Most of the sample were racial or ethnic minorities (47.4 percent African American, and 17.7 percent Hispanic) and did not have high school diplomas or GEDs (77 percent). Almost one third of the female participants (28.7 percent) reported having children of their own. The majority of the sample reported never having been arrested (76.6 percent); only a small number stated they had been arrested for a serious crime (4.7 percent). Owing to the random assignment and large sample sizes, there were no significant statistical differences between the treatment and control groups at baseline.
The analysis used average impact estimates per eligible applicant. These were obtained by computing differences in mean outcomes between all treatment group members and all control group members. Weights were used in all calculations and analyses to adjust for the sample and survey designs. Notably, these impact estimates represent the effects of Job Corps relative to other employment and training programs in the community, but not relative to the absence of training. These impact estimates represent the incremental effects of the Job Corps program relative to other programs in which control group members participated.