Executive Summary

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) requires the collection of customer satisfaction information as a critical part of assessing states overall performance in implementing WIA. As part of piloting a methodology for collecting this information, six states conducted customer surveys using the American Customer Satisfaction Index questions (ACSISAT). It should be noted that this is not the official ACSI satisfaction index which requires the use of selected weights in the calculation of the ACSI score. The pilot states also used an earlier version of the ACSI questions in which the wording of the expectations question differed from the one currently being used. Six states collected data from participants. In addition, four of those six conducted surveys with employers. In nearly all instances the surveys approached the 50 percent response rate, with more difficulty in obtaining responses among employers than among participants. The results of these pilots present several important pieces of information.

Employer satisfaction is consistently lower than participant satisfaction. Participant ACSISAT scores ranged from 67 to 74. Employer ACSISAT scores ranged from 61 to 68. Within any state, both employer and participant indices exhibit a wide variation of opinions. This wide range of opinion is likely to have an impact on determining whether states have met performance levels.

In breaking down the ACSISAT by program, results indicated that, in those states with the necessary data (information on the program in which each person participated), there was evidence that youth customers' satisfaction equaled or exceeded the satisfaction of customers from other program areas. In some states, Title IIA customers were more satisfied than Title III customers, while in other states, the reverse was true. In the two states that included Wagner-Peyser customers, these customers reported significantly lower satisfaction than all other customer groups.

Analyses were also conducted that related the additional questions asked in different states to overall satisfaction. In one state, timeliness, the currency and accuracy of job openings, and obtaining a referral to a job meeting customer's objectives were all strongly related to overall satisfaction among participant customers. In another state, understanding needs, being responsive, having knowledgeable staff, and working as a partner were all moderately related to overall satisfaction. For some states that asked additional questions, no distinction was found among different questions relative to their relationship to overall satisfaction. In the states where no distinction was found, all questions were very strongly related to overall satisfaction. They were so strongly related that it appeared that the customers made little distinction among the different questions asked.

A final area of analysis was to explore the relationship between customer satisfaction and outcomes, particularly entered employment. Although entered employment data from wage records were not available, data were collected in some state surveys regarding the customers employment status at the time of the interview. In one state, no significant difference was found between employed and unemployed respondents. In another state, there was a small but significant difference between the two groups. Specifically, employed customers were somewhat more positive than were unemployed customers on the satisfaction index and several related individual questions.



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