Workshop 3

Using Human-Centered Design to Build Evidence and Connect Residents to Better Jobs

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 collected evidence-based recommendations in 7 Ways to Improve Workforce Outcomes Using Evidence: 2019 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. This Roadmap, which has been informed by RFA’s Federal, State and Local Standards of Excellence and input from members of our Evidence in Workforce Advisory Group, includes more than 30 leading and promising examples from across the country.

RFA also launched a new State and Local Workforce Fellowship last month to leverage these strategies and those leaders are in the room today from CA, CO, DC, OH, PA, TX, and VA. The Roadmap will help to guide our work together, and each strategy can help to build and leverage evidence to direct more funding towards what works. There is also lots of room to experiment, iterate, evaluate, and build evidence in an ongoing way, and that is where we will focus in this workshop.

One of the hallmarks of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the impetus for states and local workforce boards to innovate around the needs of customers – both job seekers and employers. A key feature of innovating is the process of testing new approaches and hypotheses so that decisions about program design are grounded in data and input from customers. In addition, the requirement for shared accountability across a broad range of partner agencies is best realized when all agencies are putting the needs of their shared customers first, not their own programs and funding streams.

In this workshop, Virginia Hamilton will lead a discussion about how State and Local Workforce Development Boards are increasingly investing their funds in what works – in many cases, by using a Human-Centered Design approach to experiment and build evidence of what works on behalf of our nation’s job seekers. Participants will leave with a basic understanding of how these results-driven efforts — including human-centered design approaches – can improve program design and practice in communities all across the country. Nonprofit and workforce board leaders will also join us to share their own experiences and participate in the interactive portion of the workshop.


  • Sam Schaeffer, Executive Director and CEO, Center for Employment Opportunities (Bio)
  • Lee Wheeler-Berliner, Managing Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council Office (Bio)
  • Brooke Valle, Vice President of Strategy, San Diego Workforce Partnership (Bio)
  • Moderator: Virginia Hamilton, Senior Lead, Design Thinking and Innovation, American Institutes for Research, and Former West Coast Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration 


7 Ways to Improve Workforce Outcomes Using Evidence: 2019 Policy Roadmap for State and Local Officials
RFA Evidence in Workforce Lab
RFA State and Local Workforce Fellows