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Rapid Employment Model Evaluation: Initial Findings

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Travis County and WorkSource staff designed and implemented the Rapid Employment Model (REM) starting in January 2006 to help jobseekers find suitable work more quickly through a structured effort supplementing their longer-term skill development offerings. The REM project seeks to demonstrate that work readiness and short-term occupational skills training, when combined with active job placement assistance, can lead to successful employment outcomes for jobseekers who might otherwise struggle in the labor market, including disadvantaged, indigent County residents, particularly those receiving Food Stamps or cash welfare benefits and individuals who have been released from incarceration. REM is a joint effort of the County, WorkSource and area workforce service providers.

The Travis County Health and Human Services Department contracted with the Ray Marshall Center to evaluate REM. The evaluation features two major components: a process evaluation documenting REM implementation; and an outcomes evaluation documenting the number of clients served, the number completing training, the number placed in employment, wages earned, and other outputs/outcomes.

The report describes the REM model, explains its key features, and addresses REM implementation, highlighting variations from the original design and important challenges and barriers encountered. While the pre-employment and occupational skills training components seem to have been implemented fairly well, the placement sequence was not implemented as designed. Participants experienced greater labor market success after receiving REM services: more participants had reported employment with higher average quarterly earnings. We will be able to address the "value-added" question better once we have completed the impact analysis.