CSU Northridge -- August 29, 2003

CSUN Professors' Book Takes A Look At Training That Works

As Labor Day approaches, Americans across the country prepare to celebrate the accomplishments of the nation's workforce.

Closer to home in California, a new book by a team of Cal State Northridge business professors takes a look at how one government program, the Employment Training Panel Program (ETP), has made the difference for the state's businesses and its workforce.

The book, Training That Works: Lessons from California's Employment Training Panel Program, illustrates how small, but strategic, government investments in private workplace training can lead to significant savings in unemployment payouts, increasing earnings for trainees and large economic gains for the state.

"Ironically, despite our research that shows that ETP benefits workers, employers and the state as a whole, the program's budget was cut in half in the recent state budget deal. Yet, ETP remains one of the biggest and more important programs of its type in the country," said Northridge management professor Richard W. Moore, co-director of the university's Management and Organization Development Center.

In addition to Moore, the book's authors include economics professor Daniel R. Blake, director of Northridge's San Fernando Valley Economics Research Center; G. Michael Phillips, a professor of finance, real estate and insurance; and finance professor Daniel L. McConaughy, founder of Northridge's Family Business Center.

Their books provide an in-depth analysis of ETP, which is funded through California's unemployment insurance taxes.

ETP, the largest of such programs in the nation, is somewhat novel in that it is a preventative training program that offers additional skills to the employed in hopes of preventing layoffs or firms from leaving the state's economy.

In 1998-1999, $593 million were spent on incumbent worker training programs in 45 states across the nation. These programs varied greatly in size and in how they were managed. Yet, despite their number and the amount of resources spent on them, they have not generated much data or analyses.

Moore, Blake, Phillips and McConaughy provide a brief history of California's program, case studies and quantitative analysis to evaluate the impact of this program. They also discuss and demonstrate effective evaluation methods, showing how the methods they use can offer insights into the workings and impact of a variety of complex public programs, and how that can generate clear public policy recommendations.

The authors also offer a series of policy recommendations aimed at helping states maximize the impact of their investment in programs similar to the California's ETP program, and how to effectively minimize unproductive training investments.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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