While there are myriad studies that demonstrate the positive link between education and current life satisfaction, research has yet to formally explore life satisfaction and optimism in the context of reskilling programs. In this study, we evaluate the impacts of the LaunchCode program, a novel reskilling and apprentice program, on participant’s life satisfaction and optimism. Then we study how job-skill match and income mediate the relationships among education and life satisfaction/optimism. Finally, we explore how the direct and indirect effects of the program on life satisfaction and optimism are moderated by participants’ educational levels. Using a Structural Equation Model (SEM) approach with Multinomial Propensity Score Weighting (MPSW), we find high life satisfaction and optimism among those who completed both the coding course and apprenticeship. We also find that both job-skill match and income are key variables explaining the positive relationship between program participation and current life satisfaction, while the job-skill match is a key variable explaining the positive relationship between program participation and optimism. Through our moderated mediation model, we find that those without a Bachelor’s degree are less likely to find a STEM job, which reduces the positive impacts of the LaunchCode program on their life satisfaction and optimism. Our empirical models provide several important implications. First, our findings suggest the importance of skill-job connection through the apprenticeship component when considering life satisfaction and optimism. In particular, the mediation model suggests that what people are doing for a living is more important than how much they earn, highlighting the importance of its eudaimonic dimensions of work. Lastly, our moderation model demonstrates that it is important to provide these types of opportunities to individuals without traditional education credentials.
Chun, Yung and Jabbari, Jason and Huang, Wenrui and Graham, Carol, Can Training and Apprentice Programs Increase Worker Wellbeing and Optimism? (July 18, 2022). Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4165176