This report explores the current state of evaluation in workforce development programs with an eye toward improving outcomes for Black training participants. The report is important because increasing the number of Black workers who transition into good jobs depends, in part, on the effectiveness of training programs.
Key findings show:
- Too few training program evaluations report outcomes by race. To determine which workforce programs had the best outcomes for Black participants, we reviewed more than 80 program evaluations. Of that group, we selected the 27 evaluations that tracked the race of participants and used the popular “career pathways” approach. Of these 27 evaluations, only six reported outcomes by race.
- Only four of the training program evaluations reported positive outcomes for Black workers. The programmatic practices of these four career pathways programs also differed from one another. Some emphasized strong case management and addressed barriers that might otherwise prevent students from completing training, like child care and transportation. Some provided financial supports, such as weekly stipends or funding for textbooks and other course materials. Another common practice was a strong sectoral connection. Programs used strong ties to employers or unions to better understand the needs of the labor market and place job seekers into internships or permanent employment.
- To improve performance accountability among programs, federal, state, and local officials should use more robust data analysis to advance racial equity in workforce training. To fully maximize outcomes and advance racial equity, program staff and evaluators should take two key steps: regularly disaggregate data by race and use multiple approaches to collect and analyze data by race. Further, we recommend that federal law require reporting and disclosure of program-level workforce performance data by race and allocate resources for this purpose. Also, where Black workers are systematically excluded from jobs that pay livable wages with benefits, we encourage workforce policies and public investments that focus on these occupations to make special efforts to recruit and effectively serve more Black participants.
Click here to read a 6-page fact sheet.