Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Research Portfolio

2020 – 2024

Project Overview


To generate a portfolio of short and long-term research options intended to help DOL build evidence to inform investments going forward.

Project Motivation

The US Department of Labor (DOL) seeks to establish a 5-year employment and training research and evaluation plan--a requirement of the primary legislation governing the federal workforce system, the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. The goal of the research will be to ensure that programs are evidence-based and guided by the needs of participants and employers; increase access to services, especially among individuals with significant barriers to employment; and improve the quality of workforce programs. Mathematica and its subcontractors have decades of experience conducting such research for DOL.

Partners in Progress

  • Social Policy Research Associates
  • The National Association of Workforce Boards

Prepared For

U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Evaluation Office and Employment and Training Administration

The WIOA Research Portfolio will help build evidence that can be used by DOL’s employment and training programs.

Key project activities include:

  • Gather input from stakeholders and experts, including a diverse set of workforce leaders, advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to identify critical knowledge gaps within and across programs and services. 
  • An Environmental Scan to determine key dynamics affecting the labor market such as the acceleration of automation, the growth of non-traditional employment, changes in legislation, the evolving demand for skills, and the rise of alternatives to traditional workforce training programs.
  • An Evidence Review to identify what is known about key workforce strategies and components, gaps in the existing knowledge base, and evidence that requires updating for the current context. 
  • Generate a range of research and evaluation options for DOL to consider including in its future research plans, spanning the WIOA portfolio of programs. The potential research projects will address priority research questions identified by DOL, based on input from the stakeholders and experts. 
  • Continue building the WIOA research portfolio, including assessing the feasibility of conducting of one or more impact studies related to a WIOA program, component, or service strategy.

Related Staff

Pamela Holcomb

Pamela Holcomb

Principal Researcher

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Peter  Schochet

Peter Schochet

Senior Fellow

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Jonah Deutsch

Jonah Deutsch

Principal Researcher

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