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Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Impact Evaluation of the Iowa Reemployment Case Management/Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RCM/RESEA) Program

Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Impact Evaluation of the Iowa Reemployment Case Management/Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RCM/RESEA) Program

Client: Iowa Workforce Development, 2021 – 2025

Study objective: Examine if the Iowa RCM/RESEA program is effective in helping unemployed workers who collect UI benefits to reduce their UI spells and improve their employment rates and earnings. 

Policy context: In 2015, DOL instructed states to use their RESEA grants to implement programs that would require new UI claimants to undergo an eligibility review to confirm that they are compliant with state UI work-search requirements and receive services that would help them connect to available jobs. Iowa was among the first states to implement a program that met these requirements; however, while most states implemented RESEA programs that required participants to attend a one-time meeting, Iowa required participants to attend weekly RESEA meetings throughout their UI spells.

Research design: Conduct an RCT impact study that randomly assigns RCM/RESEA-eligible UI claimants into the program group (required to receive services) or the control group (no program requirements). Use Iowa administrative data to estimate the impacts of the RESEA program on participant UI spells, UI benefit amounts collected, employment rates, and earnings. The study also includes an implementation study that uses information from stakeholder interviews, document reviews, and program observations to examine how Iowa RCM/RESEA was implemented and the processes used for delivering services. 

Policy impact: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorized the permanent and nationwide implementation of the RESEA program and encouraged states to conduct evaluations to build evidence that meet the CLEAR high or moderate causal evidence rating requirement set by DOL. The current study will produce evidence that meet the high causal evidence CLEAR criteria, thereby contributing to the portfolio of evidence-based practices in this policy area and justifying continued Federal funding for the Iowa RCM/RESEA program. This study will also identify the impact of requiring participants to attend meetings throughout their UI spells relative to the usual practice of requiring a one-time meeting.

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