WorkSource is working, study says

The state’s WorkSource system is a good taxpayer investment, according to a new study released today by the Employment Security Department.

The state’s WorkSource system is a good taxpayer investment, according to a new study released today by the Employment Security Department.

The “Assessment of the effect of WorkSource job-search services” found that, even during the depths of the Great Recession, unemployed workers tended to find work faster after using WorkSource job-search services.

Further, during the 21 months covered by the study, WorkSource clients earned an average of $1,980 more than job seekers who didn’t seek job-search assistance. During the final 12 months of the study, the average difference in earnings was $2,085 a year.

Researchers followed nearly 9,000 unemployment-insurance recipients from the fourth quarter of 2007, at the beginning of the recession, through the second quarter of 2009, when the recession officially ended. The study group was divided between individuals who received WorkSource services during the first six months of the study period and a demographically similar group who did not use WorkSource during that period.

“This study shows that taking a little time up front to get help with your job-seeking skills can actually help you return to work faster and at a better wage,” said Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke.

WorkSource customers were less likely to be employed in the first quarter while participating in workshops and other employment services and, thus, their earnings were lower in the first two quarters of the study. However, the pattern shifted for the remainder of the study period, with WorkSource clients enjoying more sustained employment and greater earnings than non-clients.

“It’s a competitive job market out there, and I was getting absolutely nowhere with my job hunt,” said Dave Wallace, who sought help from WorkSource Everett. “WorkSource staff showed me how to look for work, create a targeted résumé and interview with employers. It made all the difference for me.”  

The study also investigated whether the federal funding spent on the WorkSource system produced benefits to society as a whole. Assuming costs ranged from $100 to $500 per customer, the study calculated an average “social return on investment” of 14 to 23 percent. The return was most dramatic for woman, ranging from 16 to 34 percent, while the return for men was 12 to 18 percent.

Other benefits to Washington’s government and taxpayers, such as reduced unemployment-benefit payouts as well as increased spending and higher tax revenue from the re-employed workers, were not factored into the social return on investment.

“There’s no doubt that taxpayers’ investment in WorkSource is really paying off,” said Peinecke.

WorkSource is a partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that deliver a wide array of employment and training services throughout Washington. Nearly 280,000 people in Washington received assistance from WorkSource in 2012.

For more information, visit a local WorkSource career center or read about it online at go2worksource.com.

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