Helping Low-Skilled Americans Find Work: Strengthening the Capacity of State Employment Agencies

Project Dates

03/15/2018 -


This project seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs by developing, testing, and disseminating a new approach to performance monitoring that 1) better assesses program functioning, 2) provides the tools to learn from high- and low-performers, and 3) encourage the adoption of the most promising practices. The basic idea is to use cross-WIB (Workforce Investment Board) assessments of effectiveness to identify the best and worst performers, and then to analyze their characteristics and operations for emulation or correction in states that have agreed to collaborate with this effort.

The project will be conducted in two broad stages. First, we will develop one or more statistical methodologies to transform gross outcome measures of state and local WIBs to measures that approximate net outcome (or value-added) measures. While these measures are not intended to substitute for net impact measures derived from rigorous evaluations, they do offer a better measure overall than gross outcomes in assessing the effectiveness of the bundle of services offered by WIBs. They also offer an assessment of the effectiveness of the "Systemness" of the WIBs, which most rigorous evaluations of workforce programs fall short of assessing. Second, once the performance of WIBs are assessed using this methodology or variants thereof, we will associate the effectiveness wit the administration of programs and adoption of innovative approaches. By convening WIBs and state administrators around this information, we anticipate opening up useful dialogue among administrators to better understand what improvements can be made in the delivery of workforce programs.


Smith Richardson Foundation, Inc.

Subject Area

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Public training programs