The Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program is a grant program administered by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to participating state workforce agencies. States implement the RESEA program to selected unemployment insurance (UI) claimants, with the goals of addressing reemployment needs and preventing improper payments through strengthened enforcement of UI eligibility requirements. Purposes of the RESEA program include reducing the duration that claimants receive UI benefits by improving employment outcomes; strengthening UI program integrity by detecting eligibility issues among claimants; and acting as an entry point for claimants to other workforce system partners. The primary aim of this evaluation is to assess the impact of Utah’s RESEA program in reducing UI duration and increasing the likelihood of reemployment.
Utah's RESEA program is a statewide intervention for UI claimants administered by the Utah Department of Workforce Services Unemployment Insurance Division (DWS UI). Every week, around 300 to 400 claimants are selected for the RESEA program, with approximately 70% of selected claimants participating. Selected claimants are required to complete an eligibility review and to schedule and participate in a one-on-one meeting with an employment counselor (i.e., the RESEA meeting). The mandatory eligibility review (ER) requires claimants report recent job search activities and ongoing UI eligibility. In the RESEA meeting, claimants meet with the counselor who provides a range of tailored reemployment services. These services include presenting informational resources, discussing job search strategies, reviewing best practices for resumes and interviewing, teaching how to conduct a demand-driven job search and developing an individualized employment plan. Failure to participate in the ER or RESEA meeting can result in denial of UI benefits.
The primary aim of this evaluation is to identify the impact of RESEA on (i) UI duration and (ii) likelihood of reemployment. Secondary aims include estimating its impact on UI benefits, claimant earnings, and multiple process-related outcomes, such as likelihood of denial of benefits and use of reemployment services at employment centers. This evaluation will also examine heterogeneity in the impact of RESEA across claimant socio-demographic characteristics, across counselors, and by the industry-specific unemployment rate (given claimants' employment history).
The impact will be identified using random assignment to the RESEA program or a control group receiving the regular UI program. The randomization will involve two steps: (a) random selection of claimants from the pool of evaluation-eligible claimants, done on a weekly basis as determined by the capacity of the Utah DWS UI; (b) randomization into the RESEA or control groups on a weekly basis. This latter randomization will enable estimation of the impact of RESEA as the difference by assignment to RESEA relative to the control group. RESEA program eligibility criteria include receipt of at least one UI payment and no job deferral. As an additional criterion for the evaluation, only claimants scoring in the 1st through 90th percentile for likelihood to exhaust UI benefits will be eligible for randomization; claimants with the top decile of profiling scores for exhausting UI benefits will be assigned to RESEA and excluded from the evaluation. The randomization process is scheduled to start in December 2023 and end in approximately December, 2025. A randomization ratio of 2:1 for RESEA relative to the control group will be maintained throughout the evaluation. The randomization will continue until the desired sample sizes are obtained (30,000 claimants in treatment group and 15,000 in control group).
Analysis will be conducted using linear regression models with treatment assignment on the right-hand side along with a vector of covariates (including gender, race/ethnicity, education, age, disability status, US citizenship, month of UI filing, UI claim filing time-lapse, number of previous UI claims, years of tenure, severance, industry unemployment rates, number of employers, wages prior to most recent UI claim, country indicators). Furthermore, we intend to analyze heterogeneity in the impact of the RESEA program by interacting treatment assignment with relevant moderators. Appropriate sensitivity tests will be conducted to test the robustness of the estimated effects.