Do high school graduates benefit from intensive vocational training?

Mo Costabella L., (2017) “Do high school graduates benefit from intensive vocational training?”, International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 38 Issue: 5, pp.746-764.
This study focuses on Italian Post Diploma training, a well-defined category of training programs targeted primarily at young high school graduates. Post Diploma training courses, which are long and intensive, should work for them as a bridge toward the labor market by providing very specific skills for some specific jobs. University leavers, for similar reasons, can also attend them. As regards other workers (the only condition for participation is having at least a high school degree), the courses can be generally a means for retraining or skill updating.

We estimate the impact of Post Diploma training on employment rate (ER) and on the amount of time spent working, using various techniques based on ordinary least squares and propensity score matching to compare a group of unemployed enrolled at public employment service (PES) who took training courses with a group of unemployed who did not. By exploiting a rich data set from administrative archives, we control for differences in their characteristics and prior employment experience, and then stratify the results by training duration and trainee profile. The results suggest a positive impact on the employment probability, also in the long run. Training is particularly effective for people who attend it just after finishing high school. Cost-benefit analysis yields a positive rate return on public investment only after more than five years.