PPA is conducting rigorous Workforce Innovation Fund evaluations of Round 1 and Round 2 grants in multiple states. Although focused on different areas of need, these programs have in common an interest in improving outcomes through systems change.
Here's a brief look at the projects:
The Housing Works partnership consists of a consortium of workforce investment boards, public housing authorities, and other partners in a four-county region in the Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington area. The program is designed to provide public housing residents the opportunity to enhance their skills in order to obtain and retain employment in high-demand industries, thereby increasing their income.
Our work: The PPA evaluation team is monitoring progress toward the overarching goals and offers feedback on the fidelity of program implementation. Researchers are also assessing the effectiveness of the systems change and of the services provided to participants as well as the cost effectiveness of the approach.
The results: Regular data collection and interim reports aid the client in understanding the progression of the program and its effects.
Business Resource Networks (BRNs) have been implemented in three local workforce areas in northeastern Ohio. Preliminary assessment of established BRNs suggest they are effective in averting layoffs among at-risk companies and play an important role in fueling business growth and job creation. The model is now being expanded to three additional workforce areas.
Our work: PPA is conducting an implementation evaluation of the new BRNs to assess fidelity to the model and to look at causes of variations and the effect of those variations on program delivery and employer outcomes. For the outcomes evaluation, we are using a quasi-experimental design to assess the impact of the BRN model on employer outcomes within the three previously established BRNs. A cost analysis is also included.
The results: The evaluation results are reported on an interim basis through written updates and conversations to give the client an understanding of the program's effectiveness and opportunities for improvement.
Rhode Island's On-Ramps to Career Pathways initiative seeks to increase access for workforce system participants to careers using resources from across several state departments and other partners. The On-Ramps project is part of a larger effort by the state to make its public services systems more cost effective and successful.
Our work: The evaluation team, which includes Brandon Roberts + Associates, is examining implementation, outcome and cost measures based on the project’s logic model and theory of change. To assess these measures, the PPA team is using a comparison-group design, administrative data review, surveys, focus groups, observations, and stakeholder interviews.
The results: Interim evaluation findings in the form of insight reports and other deliverables allow for ongoing learning and initiative improvements.