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CAAL-Skills Study of Workforce Programs in California

This project estimates the effectiveness of state- and federally-sponsored workforce programs on California workers’ employment and earnings.


Although California invests significant resources into training and employment programs that support millions of workers, little is known about their overall effectiveness. To improve labor-market outcomes of participants, California’s Workforce Development Board (CWDB) has coordinated the Cross-System Analytics and Assessment for Learning Skills Attainment study, or CAAL-Skills.

This initiative by CWDB created partnerships with seven government agencies, which allowed for the pooling of administrative program data on participants across 11 state-level labor market programs into the CAAL-Skills database. These programs serve many groups in California’s diverse workforce, including out-of-school youth, workers with disabilities, and workers impacted by international competition. In addition to linking data from these programs, CWDB is also connecting employment histories, using quarterly earnings from the Unemployment Insurance’s Base Wage files. Combined, these data provide the first opportunity to systematically study the effectiveness of California’s major workforce development programs including:

  • Career and Technical Education through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office
  • Apprenticeship programs through the Department of Industrial Relations
  • Incumbent Worker Training programs through the Employment Training Panel
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance; WIOA Title I Adults; WIOA Title I Youth; WIOA Title I Dislocated Workers; and Wagner-Peyser programs through the Employment Development Department
  • Adult Education programs through the California Department of Education
  • WIOA Title IV programs through the Department of Rehabilitation
  • Welfare-to-Work programs through the Department of Social Services

Research Project

CPL is using CWDB’s CAAL-Skills database to estimate the impacts of participating in one of California’s major workforce development programs. This study starts by presenting characteristics of participants and participation across programs. It then presents program impacts by comparing employment and earnings outcomes for similar individuals who participate in programs with varying intensities from within the same labor markets.  

Research Team

Professor Jesse Rothstein (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Robert Santillano (Co-Principal Investigator), Professor Till von Wachter (Co-Principal Investigator)


POLICY BRIEF: Identifying the impacts of job training programs in California  (September 2022)
Using a screen reader? A highly accessible version of the policy brief is also available.

REPORT: CAAL-Skills: Study of Workforce Training Programs in California (September 2022)

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