The goal of the The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training's Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) program is to help Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants gain sustainable employment. Program participants attend one-on-one meetings with a career counselor who helps them with identifying job openings and developing their job application materials. RI DLT contracted The Policy Lab and University of Maryland Professor Shanna Pearson to evaluate how well Rhode Island’s RESEA program meets its mission objectives.
The goal of the Rhode Island’s Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) program is to help Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants gain sustainable employment. Program participants attend one-on-one meetings with a career counselor who helps them with identifying job openings and developing their job application materials. RI DLT pursues this objective via a suite of services funded by a federal RESEA grant and managed by DLT. The RESEA program supports RESEA clients through a specific set of services. The career counselor:
- Conducts a skills assessment to identify transferable skills
- Using the results of the skills assessment and current Labor Market Information, shows clients how to find matching career paths, assess industry salary range, and prepare for salary needs
- Assists in the development and finetuning of resumes and interviewing skills
- Demonstrates available training opportunities to enhance current skills
- Explains how to use the state’s job virtual job match system to identify possible opportunities
- Identifies specific barriers that might hinder a successful work search and provide referrals to services that can help overcome the barrier if necessary
- Teaches participants the technical skills necessary to apply to and interview for jobs in a digital environment
RI DLT contracted The Policy Lab and University of Maryland Professor Shanna Pearson to evaluate how well Rhode Island’s RESEA program meets its mission objectives. Over the next several years, we are running a randomized controlled trial to measure the causal effects of enrollment in RESEA on several key metrics, such as how soon participants find employment and how much they earn while in their new jobs. This fulfills U.S. Department of Labor evaluation requirements to assess the demonstrated effectiveness of the RESEA program while simultaneously ensuring RI DLT is optimizing allocation of limited RESEA funding to those UI claimants that are most in need of the services.
Over the course of six months, our team met weekly with DLT leadership to walk through the technical requirements of a randomized evaluation while simultaneously tailoring its design to ensure we are measuring what RI DLT deemed the most meaningful goals of the RESEA program.
We combined RI DLT goals, simulations using historical data, and realistic expectations set by prior evaluations to work together and decide on what was both measurable and important. Stakeholders determined that the following metrics would signify a meaningful impact, relative to the costs of the program:
- An 8 percent increase in annual earnings
- A 3 percentage point increase in employment one year after selection
- An 8 percentage point increase in the ratio of wages earned to hours worked
- A 4 to 5 percent decrease in time on unemployment (measured in weeks)
Data will be collected over 18 months, with preliminary results reported at the 3-month mark.
We will randomize selection of UI recipients into RESEA. This will allow us to compare the trajectories of those who were selected for RESEA and those who could have been selected for RESEA but were not. This randomization allows us to make an apples-to-apples comparison on the key metrics that DLT has identified: If those who were selected into RESEA have significantly higher wages or less time on unemployment than those who were not, we can infer this difference was caused by RESEA programming.
We will carry out this comparison utilizing administrative data that RI DLT already collects: weekly UI enrollment and payment information as well as records of RESEA selection and attendance at RESEA counseling sessions.
In short, we plan to measure how much (if at all) RESEA causes positive employment outcomes, such as an increased wage and an improved career trajectory and negative unemployment benefit outcomes, such as less time spent collecting unemployment. For more information on how we arrived at this hypothesis and a review of previous literature, see our Pre-Analysis Plan.1
This is a current project in progress. Please check back for updates!
A pre-analysis plan is a document declaring the research design, hypotheses, and analysis plan for a study before the research takes place, usually posted on a third-party website such as the Open Science Framework (OSF). This ensures transparency and enables replication of the study by other researchers. You can read more about Pre Analysis Plans from our colleagues at the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) Network at: 10 Things to Know About Pre-Analysis Plans – EGAP↩
How to cite this Project: The Policy Lab. (2022, February 24). How effective is Rhode Island's Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) Program?. The Policy Lab. https://thepolicylab.brown.edu/projects/how-effective-is-rhode-islands-reemployment-services-and-eligibility