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A Note on Control Group Selection

Economic conditions directly affect the opportunity structure of the labor market, impacting prospects of finding and retaining employment and increasing earnings. Interpreting the performance outcomes of a workforce training program requires an awareness of local economic conditions.

Simply defined, a matched control group is a representative subset of the population similar to program clients on a number of characteristics (i.e., age, sex, industrial sector), that operates in the same environment as the clients. The Figure represents a hypothetical example of how client performance might improve subsequent to training, achieving the programís desired effect by raising earnings to a level comparable to the control group.

This process of using matched control groups opens a dialogue about how to assess program performance relative to the economy.

Source: Tony Glover, "Performance Accountability in the Workforce Investment Act: An Application with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Data Part Two," Wyoming Labor Force Trends, December 1999.

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