This grant funds a project by Till von Wachter, professor of economics at UCLA and faculty director of the California Policy Lab at UCLA, to examine how retraining programs affect employment outcomes among older workers. Four research questions are at the core of von Wachter’s work: How has the incidence of employment instability and unemployment evolved for older workers? How well has the workforce system, particularly its job training opportunities, served older unemployed workers? What are the outcomes of job training and other services for older workers, in terms of employment and earnings? Has the ability of the system to improve older workers’ outcomes increased after recent legislative reforms?
To shed light on these questions, Von Wachter has gained unprecedented access to a comprehensive linked dataset covering California’s workforce at the individual level. These data include quarterly earnings records for individual workers for each employment relationship, including identifiers for the employing establishment; quarterly employment, wage bill, and detailed industry affiliation for establishments; individual Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims, with detailed information on duration of claim, benefits received, worker demographics, occupation, and education; and detailed information on type of workforce service received, including type of training and job search assistance, the dates of service, as well as information from intake and exit interviews with caseworkers.
Von Wachter’s work has the potential to advance understanding of how to use training to increase labor force participation of older workers and could inform local and national policymakers interested in improving the workforce system.