The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), an education and training program to assist the economically disadvantaged, is one of sixty or more programs Congress is considering consolidating. This program had great success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but its value and support have been declining. This author examines whether JTPA should continue through a test of three employment theories: discrimination, signaling, and human investment using data from Maine's JTPA program. Findings indicate that while the program can reduce discriminatory barriers and negative signals such as welfare status, it does not consistently succeed as a training investment. Enrollment in an educational training program has a negative effect on an individual's ability to obtain a job, a particularly important finding, given the changes in welfare law. If it is to continue in some form, JTPA must be revised to better serve clients who need education.



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