Dr. Ray Marshall was recently featured on Episode 18 of the podcast series “The Work Goes On: An Oral History of Industrial Relations and Labor Economics” hosted by Princeton University’s Orley Ashenfelter that aired on October 23, 2023. The podcast, part of the Princeton Industrial Relations Section celebration of 100 years of research and public history, consists of a series of conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners and aims to create an oral history of industrial relations and labor economics. Marshall discusses his childhood as an orphan in Mississippi, becoming an economist with the help of the GI bill, and his time as the Carter administration’s Secretary of Labor. You can listen to the podcast or download the transcript here. You can also learn more about the Industrial Relations Section’s celebration here.
Ray Marshall Center’s Social Science Research Associate Thomas Boswell was part of a trio presenting findings from Nuru International‘s 2022 Nuru Nigeria Resilience Report at the American Evaluation Association‘s Evaluation 2023 conference in Indianapolis October 9-14, 2023. Boswell joined Nuru’s Ian Schwenke and Dena Bunnel of Kansas State University in the October 14th presentation. The report marks the end of a five-year evaluation conducted in partnership with the Center. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated communities in northeast Nigeria and seeks to understand how Nuru interventions impact community resilience. You can read Nuru’s October 5th press release here and view the presentation here. You can also read more about our partnership here.
RMC researchers Cynthia Juniper and Thomas Boswell participated in the City of Austin – UT Austin ILA Showcase and Workshop on September 13, 2023. The event highlighted successful collaborations between the two organizations under a Master Interlocal Agreement approved by Austin City Council in 2020 to streamline agreements between City departments who are looking for UT research expertise. Through the agreement, the City of Austin has contracted with Ray Marshall Center to identify within the City-funded workforce development training ecosystem, programmatic or strategic elements that impact participant outcomes. Juniper and Boswell joined other teams during a poster session to showcase the work on the Center’s Workforce Development Services Evaluation project. Read more about the project here.
PATHS for Texas: Interim Descriptive Statistics, Outcomes, Impacts, and Survey Results
Author: Patty Rodriguez, Thomas Boswell, and Heath Prince
Date: June 2023
Publication Type: Report, 34pp.
The data presented in this brief represent individuals who participated in PATHS for Texas from its start date in 2020 through April of 2023. As of April 2023, 1,824 individuals registered to participate in the PATHs for Texas program from four Texas Workforce Development Boards across the state (Coastal Bend, Gulf Coast, Rural Capital Area, and North Texas). Of the 1,824 individuals who enrolled in PATHS, 1,221 (67%) individuals completed training and earned one or more certificates. When compared to the reference quarter (four quarters prior to earning a certificate through PATHS), on average, PATHS 2020 and 2021 participants increased employment by 8 percentage points (from 72% to 80%), as well as increased their quarterly earnings by $2,332 (from $7,956 to $10,288) four quarters after earning their certificate. When examined by individual Board, three of the four demonstrated marked increases in employment, ranging from 8.2 to 22.5 percentage point increases, and three of the four boards achieved increases in earnings. Those who earned certificates in the Business, Hospitality, Medical, and Retail industries saw increases in employment and earnings compared to the reference period, while those earning certificates in Information Technology saw, on average, slight decreases in earnings.
When matched with a comparison group of demographically similar individuals with similar employment histories to determine the impact of program participation, and while there is some variation across the Boards and by outcome measure, it is generally the case that participation in PATHS is associated with a positive, and statistically significant, increase in both quarterly earnings ($1,022) and quarterly employment (4.9% percentage points) over the comparison group.
Nuru Ethiopia 2022 Impact Report
Authors: Heath Prince and Thomas Boswell (Ray Marshall Center); Tatek Amataw, Biruk Abayneh, and Zerihun Woldesenbet (Nuru Ethiopia); and Casey Harrison, Matt Lineal, and Ian Schwenke (Nuru International)
Date: July 2023
Publication Type: Report, 21pp.
This report is commissioned by Nuru International
In 2022, Nuru Ethiopia (NE) offered interventions in cooperative and rural livelihoods programming with 18,194 participant households in Gamo and Gofa Zones of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. The intervention activities were punctuated by a shift in approach to supporting larger cooperative unions and cascading services to an increased number of primary cooperatives and farmers. The intervention activities achieved the following outcomes:
• NE-supported farmer organizations achieved an average SCOPEinsight score of 4.4 out of 5, demonstrating competitiveness at national, regional, and global levels for agricultural farmer organization businesses.
• 90% of NE-supported farmer organizations have achieved net profitability from their business operations as of 2022.
• NE-supported Hidota Union Cooperative achieved a 4% net profit margin as of 2022, which expands its ability to invest in member primary cooperatives and farmer livelihoods.
• By participating in the diversified livelihood interventions, Nuru farmers were able to generate $411 USD of extra income, an increase of 77% compared to their 2020 baseline value of $233 USD and a continued increase over previous years.
In achieving impactful outcomes for households and cooperatives, NE interventions overcame significant weather shocks related to climate change and historic hyperinflation. All NE operating areas in SNNPR were affected to a different degree by these shocks. Still, NE successfully adapted its intervention activities to a new union approach that relies on digital development strategies and union cooperative staff to achieve impact for primary cooperatives and farmer households. This shift toward lower-cost and higher visibility training and extension services began in 2021 and was mainstreamed in 2022. This multi-year effort explains the significant increase in the number of farmers NE supported from 2021 to 2022. In summary, NE overcame substantial obstacles, maintained impact, and significantly expanded the breadth and depth of its programming in 2022.
|Principal Investigators:||Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Sponsor:||Texas Workforce Commission
|Project Duration:||May 2023 – December 2026
|Description:||Pursuant to the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) duties under Government Code, Chapter 2308A (enacted in House Bill 3767, 87th Legislature), the TWC has entered a partnership with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) to implement its duty to establish a self-sufficiency wage for each Texas county. RMC will study Texas family compositions and suggest improvements, and study current labor market conditions and how it relates to the Self-Sufficiency Wage.|
|Principal Investigators:||Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Sponsor:||City of Austin
|Project Duration:||March 2023 – December 2026
|Description:||The purpose of this study is to identify within the City of Austin funded workforce development training ecosystem, programmatic or strategic elements that impact participant outcomes. Research findings will be used to guide strategic planning for the City’s workforce development efforts.|
|Principal Investigators:||Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Sponsor:||Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)
|Project Duration:||March 2023 – December 2027
|Description:||In coordination with ECHO, the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) will execute the planning and preparation needed to conduct the evaluation of the AT Home Initiative.|
The Ray Marshall Center’s work in Nicaragua (Protection, Resilience, Efficiency, and Prevention for workers in industrial agriculture in a changing climate [PREP]) has focused on measuring the differences in socioeconomic and resilience outcomes between households suffering from chronic kidney disease and those that are not, sampled from four communities that provide agricultural labor for a large local sugar mill. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research and accelerates its delivery to remove critical barriers to sustainability. PREP was one of several projects supported by a recent round of Belmont Forum grantmaking.
The brief published by ENBEL (Enhancing Belmont Research Action to support EU policy making on climate change and health) provides an overview of each of this round’s grantees, summarizing collaborative activities and lessons learned from Climate, Environment, and Health (CEH) projects. The featured projects focus on worker’s health, infectious disease control and early warning, nutrition, maternal health, and local community collaborations. Activities for co-design encompass a range of activities and should begin with the mapping of local stakeholders.
Evaluation of Travis County Investments in Workforce Development: 2022 Update
Authors: Cynthia Juniper, Patty Rodriguez, Heath Prince (Principal Investigator), David McCoy, and Thomas Boswell
Date: March 2023
Publication Type: Report, 181pp.
In FY 2016–FY 2021, Travis County invested over $14 million through contracts with workforce development programs for low-income residents who face challenges in finding steady employment with sufficient earnings to support themselves and their families. These programs provide services ranging from Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL) and high school equivalency certification (HSEC) programs, to short- and long-term skills training leading to certifications and/or associate degrees across a wide range of occupations. These occupations include nursing and other healthcare professions, information technology, skilled trades, manufacturing, and other occupations in area growth industries with good prospects for career advancement.
Four of the Travis County workforce development grantees receive county-funded assistance as a consortium, the Workforce Education and Readiness Continuum–Travis County (WERC-TC). WERC-TC providers are Workforce Solutions Capital Area Career Centers, Goodwill of Central Texas, Austin Area Urban League, and American YouthWorks. Four additional community-based organizations maintaining workforce development contracts with Travis County are included in this report: Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, Capital IDEA, LifeWorks, and Skillpoint Alliance. In addition, WERC-TC grantee American YouthWorks also delivers services to participants through Travis County funding that is not WERC-TC.
To understand program participant outcomes and the impact of these services, the county has contracted with the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources (RMC), an organized research unit in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas, to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of its investments. This evaluation report presents findings and analyses of programs funded during a six-year on-going evaluation (FY 2016–FY 2021).