Job training programs failing to track outcomes by race: study

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Few federally funded workforce training programs are tracking outcomes by race and ethnicity, a new study found, highlighting a lack of analysis regarding racial disparities in the labor market.

The survey reviewed 80 federal workforce program evaluations and found that only 27 paid attention to the race of their participants. Of those, just six programs reported their results by race.

The study was carried out by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington-based think tank focusing on economic issues related to Black Americans.

“To improve performance accountability among programs, federal, state, and local officials should use more robust data analysis to advance racial equity in workforce training,” the report stated.

The new research focused on training and educational programs as a way to surmount the increasing risks posed to the workforce by automation.

“It is essential that research on training policies and practices address racial disparities in the labor market and focus on linking job seekers to high-quality employment if we are to ensure Black workers have access to good jobs in the future economy,” Alex Camardelle, the Joint Center’s director of workforce policy, said in a statement.

Camardelle said main causes of the dearth of racial reporting include technical oversights and funding shortfalls.

“A lot of money is needed to create those systems to adequately track outcomes, and philanthropy and public resources are sometimes not enough to invest in tracking,” he said.

The destabilizing effects of automation, which affect Black workers more than most, according to the report, have been exacerbated during the pandemic as many employers have turned to remote or hybrid work.

The report found that only four programs reported positive outcomes specifically for Black workers: the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative, the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, the WorkAdvance Demonstration and Year Up.

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