Title

Impact of National Emergency Grant on Rural Mississippi

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economic and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Cyndi Gaudet

Advisor Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Abstract

National Emergency Grants account for hundreds of millions of dollars in annual federal aid to adults who become displaced due to extreme economic circumstances like manufacturing plant closures and natural disasters (United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, 2006). This non-experimental research evaluated the effectiveness of National Emergency Grants in transitioning displaced workers back into the workforce using archival data collected in rural south central Mississippi. A culmination of five manufacturing plant closures occurred between late 2000 and early 2003 in Clarke County, Mississippi, and increased unemployment rates to more than double the state and national averages. The National Emergency Grant awarded for this area intensified services to displaced workers in an attempt to quickly rebound employment and recover the employment base. National Emergency Grants awarded by the United States Department of Labor are rot currently reported independently from the general population of displaced workers served by reemployment services. The lack of published National Emergency Grant results leaves a void for determining the efficacy of such grants. This research established a baseline for isolating the impact of National Emergency Grants independently from the general population of displaced workers in rural south central Mississippi in order for these specialized services to be continually refined and improved. Three performance measures served as the focal point for this study: recovered wages, unemployment duration, and educational gain. A fourth measure, customer satisfaction, provided qualitative information about grant participants' perceptions of services. Using these performance measures, the Clarke County National Emergency Grant failed to achieve substantial results to justify the $3.2 million investment. An explanation of each research hypothesis will offer a review of results and recommendations for improvements in administration of National Emergency Grants.