Local, state, and federal governments invest in workforce development not to fund programs, but to improve lives. The best job training programs don’t just churn people back into a job in the short term. They open up new opportunities that can change a person’s life — to get onto a career pathway, to stay out of prison, to go to college, and to support a healthy and happy family.
Fortunately, there is a growing body of evidence around what works to ensure that people have the skills to succeed in the workforce. Through extensive research and outreach, Results for America has identified seven key recommendations for driving government workforce funding toward evidence-based strategies as well as inspiring examples from state and local boards and agencies of these policy recommendations in action across the country:
- Link funds directly to priority outcomes through performance-based contracts.
- Offer flexible award sizes, time periods, and performance measures.
- Award preference points to providers offering models with high or moderate causal evidence.
- Set aside funding for contracts that pay directly for outcomes and providers offering models with high or moderate causal evidence.
- Build evidence by promoting, conducting, and financing external evaluations.
- Highlight effective strategies in state and local WIOA plans.
- Establish a policy of transparency about funding and program performance.
Results for America has collected these recommendations in 7 Ways to Improve Workforce Outcomes Using Evidence: A Policy Roadmap for State and Local Officials for using state and local workforce plans, RFPs, and contracts to build evidence of what works and invest increasing amounts of workforce funding in evidence-based solutions to improve lives. Still in draft form, this Roadmap, which has been informed by RFA’s Federal, State and Local Standards of Excellence and input from our workforce development partner organizations, includes more than 30 leading and promising examples from across the country.
RFA will be launching a new State and Local Workforce Fellowship in the Fall of 2019 to leverage these strategies and help data-driven state and local government leaders make tangible progress in improving employment outcomes for their citizens.
Articles and Publications
“How New Governors Can Use Data and Evidence to Get Results Faster,” Medium, Jed Herrmann and Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, December 19, 2018
“No more missed connections in the job market,” The Hill, Aneesh Chopra and Benjamin Harris, October 24, 2018
“Study: States are getting smarter about data-driven policy,” WorkingNation, Matt Parke, July 12, 2018
“Results for America Statement on Career and Technical Education Act (2017),” Results for America, May 17, 2017
“A New Evidence-Based Workforce Development Law (WIOA),” Results for America, November 4, 2016
“Results for America Statement on Career and Technical Education Act (2016),” Results for America, July 7, 2016
Moneyball for Government Workforce All-Stars: Katherine Abraham, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics; Plinio Ayala, President and CEO, Per Scholas; Molly Baldwin, Founder and CEO, ROCA; Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO, Year Up; Maria Flynn, President and CEO, JFF; Carla Javits, President and CEO of REDF; Sam Schaeffer, CEO, and Mindy Tarlow, former CEO, Center for Employment Opportunities; Eshauna Smith, CEO, Urban Alliance; Dorothy Stoneman, Founder and CEO, YouthBuild.