The National Fund has engaged Workforce Learning Strategies and Program & Policy Insights, LLC to conduct an ongoing national evaluation, exploring both the development and implementation of the initiative from its inception, and outcomes for all participants.
In looking at the fourth year of the National Fund’s operation, WLS expanded its evaluation into two parts. The first report, i.e. the Data Brief, released earlier this year, updated the National Fund’s progress against goals. It showed that the National Fund and its collaborative partners have met or are track to meet their five-year goals. Since 2008:
- 29,654 Individuals have received career development services
- 3,052 Employers have received services such as recruitment, screening, and training services
- 124 Workforce Partnerships have engaged employers and service providers.
- 32 Workforce Funding Collaboratives have catalyzed workforce partnerships.
You can read the Data Brief of the 4th Annual Evaluation here.
This second Year IV report examined whether the implementation of key National Fund principles leads to positive results for low-income workers and employers.
Major findings in this report about collaboratives and workforce partnerships include:
- 63 percent of collaboratives were rated as having moderate or better success in changing institutional and employer behavior, and 58 percent as having moderate or better success in making changes in public policy.
- Most partnerships received a high to moderate fidelity rating on targeting low skilled individuals, employer engagement, career advancement, and sustainability.
- There appeared to be a positive relationship between workforce partnership and collaborative fidelity. For example, 67 percent of partnerships that achieved a high fidelity score were associated with collaboratives that ranked in the top third in their conformance to the National Fund’s vision and principles.
- There was also a positive relationship between the fidelity of partnerships and their participant, employer, and system change outcomes.
One cornerstone priority of the National Fund’s innovative model is to engage in system change activities at the national and local level. The National Fund’s most significant and distinctive outcomes were in this area as were the collaboratives’ and workforce partnerships’. (WLS produced a separate report focused exclusively on systems change)
The principal components of the National Fund’s systems change work are to support the development of collaboratives and workforce partnerships, advocacy to influence national workforce policy, and partnering in national initiatives to influence employer and institutional practices. It is clear that the major output of NFWS was meeting the goal of collaborative development but it was also found that NFWS has had success in influencing federal policy as well as raising and leveraging millions of dollars to support the work of the collaboratives and partnerships.
The most direct outcomes from the national system change work were its successes in influencing federal policy and the National Fund’s success in raising and leveraging millions of dollars for its strategic priorities. The resources and technical support provided by the National Fund helped support the collaboratives’ and workforce partnerships’ system change efforts.
The strengths and achievements that the National Fund suggest three key roles for its future.
- A more thoughtful and formal approach to leadership development, with a particular focus on the collaboratives.
- The collection and analysis of best practices and the dissemination of that knowledge.
- A greater emphasis on providing national visibility to the work of the regional and local players by working with others at the national level to embed these lessons in public policy and support regional efforts to access federal and national philanthropic support.
You can read more about the achievements of the National Fund and its partners over the past five years in the Executive Summary, Collaborative and Partnership Achievements report, and the System Change Activities and Achievements report.
The evaluation is built around these four broad research questions:
- What are the primary goals of the National Fund and its stakeholders for this initiative?
- What strategies are National Fund stakeholders employing to achieve these goals?
- What are the outputs and outcomes of the initiative and to what extent are the National Fund and its stakeholders achieving their goals?
- What strategies and factors appear most important in achieving the National Fund goals?
Read the baseline Evaluation Report here.
Regional Collaboratives also undergo evaluation. Here are some examples:
- CareerEdge Funders Collaborative Evaluator Report Second Quarter, 2012
- Workforce Central 2008-2011 Evaluation
- Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network: 2009 Annual Evaluation Report
- The San Diego Workforce Funders Collaborative Annual Evaluation Report: Partnering in New Ways to Build San Diego County's Healthcare and Biotech Workforce
- Workforce Central Phase One Evaluation