Randall W. Eberts

Randall W. Eberts President

Dr. Eberts’ research and expertise focus on the public workforce development system, with particular emphasis on statistical methodologies to set performance targets and to refer participants to services, determinants of student achievement, and factors related to regional economic development.

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Research Focus: Setting Workforce Performance Targets

The Institute is engaged in research to develop a methodology for the U.S. Department of Labor in setting performance targets for federal and state workforce development programs.

In response to the “Great Recession,” USDOL sought to account systematically for the effect of business cycles on performance when setting targets, instead of continuing with the practice of negotiating targets. The Institute’s methodology statistically controls for factors outside the control of local and state administrators, such as local unemployment rates and participant characteristics. The methodology is now used to adjust national targets of all federal programs. A nine-state pilot is currently underway for PY2010 and full implementation is expected to follow.

The adjusted performance targets

  • Provide a systematic, transparent, and objective method to set and administer WIA performance targets
  • Provide a better measure of the contribution of the workforce system to participant employment outcomes
  • Increase the likelihood that people who truly need workforce services will receive them, such as economically disadvantaged workers and the disabled
  • Improve examination, understanding and diagnosis of the effectiveness of programs and improve service delivery using the new adjustment factors, which are now related to factors that are familiar to administrators

Methodology for Adjusting GPRA Workforce Development Program Performance Targets for the Effects of Business Cycles
Targeting Employment Services

Research Focus: Flexibility of Active Labor Market Policies

Research in collaboration with Sylvain Giguère, Director of OECD/LEED, examines the relationship between flexibility in managing active labor market programs and labor market outcomes. While much has been written on the benefits and costs of decentralized decision making in setting and administering workforce policies, little empirical research has ensued. This research uses the results of a survey administered by OECD to examine this relationship. The survey asked experts in 25 countries to rate the level of flexibility at the national, regional, and local levels with respect to designing programs, allocating resources, setting performance criteria, collaborating with others, and outsourcing. An index was constructed based upon these responses and correlated with each country’s employment-to-population ratio. Estimates suggest that subregional flexibility is positively and statistically significantly related to employment rates of the 25 countries surveyed. While suggesting that subregional flexibility leads to more responsive and customized active labor market programs, these results are preliminary and will lead to more in-depth analysis.

Effects of Decentralisation and Flexibility of Active Labour Market Policy on Country-Level Employment Rates (with Sylvain Giguère), in Flexible Policy for More and Better Jobs, Sylvain Giguère and Francesca Froy, OECD, 2009.