Vocational training for the unemployed: its impact on uncommonly served groups

Leela Hebbar (Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This paper aims to examine the impact of vocational training on unemployed workers not typically studied: women enrolled in engineering or computer programming training and high school dropouts.


Using data from New Jersey's Individual Training Grant (ITG) program and a quasi‐experimental design, the study compares the ITG groups' re‐employment and wage recovery rates with a matched comparison group.


The article finds that women enrolled in the male‐dominated fields of engineering or computer programming experience re‐employment rates that are lower than or similar to those in the comparison group, but they experience higher wage recovery in 8th and 12th quarters after claiming unemployment insurance (UI). Hispanic high school dropouts experience both higher re‐employment and wage recovery rates than their comparison group, but the wage recovery advantage disappears when those enrolled in truck driving training are removed from the sample. Further, white and black high school dropouts experience no re‐employment or wage recovery advantage. For all participants, the study finds participants experience a higher re‐employment rate than the comparison group beginning in the fifth quarter and experience no wage recovery advantage.

Research limitations/implications

To address the concern of selection bias, a difference‐in‐difference wage model controls for time‐variant differences in unobservables and an employment regression model controls for remaining differences in the matching variables.

Practical implications

These results suggest that training improves re‐employment chances and that type of training matters with respect to wage recovery. In this sample, those enrolled in truck driving training, engineering, and computer programming tended to experience higher wage recovery than their comparison group.


This paper examines the impact of vocational training on unemployed workers not typically studied.



Hebbar, L. (2006), "Vocational training for the unemployed: its impact on uncommonly served groups", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 377-395. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437720610679223

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