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92 Monthly Lab. Rev. 59 (1969)
Monitoring Manpower Programs

handle is hein.journals/month92 and id is 711 raw text is: Monitoring manpower programs
GERALD G. SOMERS
DATA NEEDS for the monitoring and evaluation of
manpower programs are qualitative as well as
quantitative, and the greatest deficiencies now lie
in the former rather than the latter. Quality can
be improved not only through improvements in
the availability and utilization of existing data,
hut through the acquisition of new data by means
of interview. surveys and experimental evaluation-
research projects, as described below.
Imprqvements in existing operating data and in
their utilization. The direct approach to the elimi-
nation of data gaps in operating forms is through
the education of operating personnel. They should
be instructed concerning the importance of asking
the right questions.
Since it is unlikely that a program of education
can be successfully applied in all manpower pro-
grams across the country, a more realistic ap-
proach might be the insistence on excellence for a
carefully selected probability sample. Special ef-
forts could be made, through instruction and sur-
veillance, to insure that the forms were properly
completed. This sample could provide benchmark
data by which the reporting forms of all other
programs could be evaluated. Such a compromise
between the unobtainable goal of full and accurate
data in all operating psograms and the alternative
of a continualice of present difficulties should be
feasible without undue cost.
This excerpt is adapted from Data Needs for Moni-
toring and Evaluating Manpower Programs, by Gerald G.
Somers, chairman of the Department of Economics, Uni-
versity of Wisconin, presented at the annual meeting of
the Industrial Relations Research Association in Chicago,
December 29-30, 1968. The full paper is included In the
Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Winter Meeting,
available from the IRRA, Social Science Building, Uni-
versity of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

Improvements in the operating data produced
by the programs themselves should be supple-
mented by better utilization of social security data
on earnings and employment of enrollees and of
selected control groups. Although we are all aware
of the limitations of social security data, especially
with regard to the cutoff in reported earnings,
these data, when appropriately adjusted, are far
superior to the earnings data now acquired
through the short term and haphazard followup
of manpower programs by operating personnel.
Plans are now underway to utilize social secu-
rity earnings data in the ongoing evaluation of
MDTA training. This is a significant departure,
and it should be watched carefully with an eye to
its extension to other manpower programs.
Special 8ample interciew 8ureys. Federal funds
must be used in connection with those from
foundations and university sources to extend in-
terview surveys among enrollees in manpower pro-
grams and appropriate control groups. Such
surveys, giving careful attention to a lengthier
period of followup than is customarily possible
in government evaluations, would provide em-
ployment and income data for the calculation of
opportunity costs as well as for comparison of
benefits before and after the program. The inter-
view surveys would also make possible an em-
phasis on attitudinal questions.
Experimental-research q v a I u a t i o n project8.
Since these interview surveys come after the fact,
they are still not likely to include a valid control
group. The ideal control group is a group of work-
ers identical to the enrollees, with the same out-
look, ambition, and attitudes-as well as similar
objective characteristics. This group can best be
found among those who apply for admission to
the manpower program, are accepted by the selec-
tion officials, and yet are not included.
It is probable that such an ideal control group
can be found only in a deliberately constructed
59

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