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Options for Building Evidence on RESEA Programs: Evaluation to Advance RESEA Program Evidence

Jacob Alex Klerman, Andrew Clarkwest, Zachary Epstein, Abt Associates; Demetra Nightingale, Urban Institute

Report

June 13, 2022

The 2018 amendments to the Social Security Act permanently authorized the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program. The law required that states’ programs be supported by evidence and allowed states to use up to 10 percent of their RESEA grant for evaluations. This report is the capstone product of the Abt Associates team’s work to develop options for building evidence on the effectiveness of RESEA programs, conducted as part of the Evaluation to Advance Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments Program Evidence. This report aims is a resource for decision makers to help them understand and weigh options for developing various types of evidence. The report addresses options for building evidence to satisfy statutory requirements and evidence to support broader ongoing program improvement efforts of states and the U.S. Department of Labor.

For a wide range of options, the document considers: What should be evaluated? How might it be evaluated? Who [states, consortia of states, or DOL] should initiate a particular evaluation? When should that evaluation occur? And how can a state workforce agencies’ evidence-building capacity be strengthened? 

This document considers options related to four research questions:

  • Whole Programs: What is the impact of being selected for RESEA—relative to not being selected for RESEA?
  • Subgroups: How does the impact of RESEA vary with the characteristics of the claimant at initial claim?
  • Components: How does the impact of an RESEA program vary with service or component details?
  • What Works Best for Whom: How does the impact of changing a component vary with the characteristics of the claimant at initial claim?

Each of these research questions considers impacts, that is, what difference did the intervention make? This document includes options for impact evaluation designs. It also includes  options for non-impact analyses, which are useful in helping to design interventions or to produce complementary evidence that enhances the value of evidence produced through impact analyses.