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ERIC Number: ED531543
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 99
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1097-3125
Inside the Black Box: What Makes Workforce Development Programs Successful?
Weigensberg, Elizabeth; Schlecht, Colleen; Laken, Faith; Goerge, Robert; Stagner, Matthew; Ballard, Peter; DeCoursey, Jan
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
The workforce development system in Chicago and nationwide is multifaceted and includes public and private training providers that work with individuals of all ages and abilities. Broadly, the programs within the system aim to train their participants while preparing them to (re)enter the workforce, graduate them from the programs, and place them into jobs. Some programs experience greater success at these goals and have more lasting effects than others. Identifying successful employment programs and understanding why they are successful at placing people into employment amid such variety is critical, especially during times of high unemployment when the tasks of finding and retaining employment are highly competitive. This study looks at several successful programs in Chicago; it attempts to understand the factors that may explain "why" they achieve success of different types, and "how" these factors may be quantified or measured to help improve the system. The study assesses the influence of a range of factors, from individual participant characteristics, program and practice elements, and provider organizational aspects, to the broader set of external relationships, on achievement of successful outcomes for workforce development programs. These nested levels of factors--the individual participant within the program, the program within the organization, and the organization within its external context--are interconnected and, taken together, influence success. Intersecting with all of these factors is the role data and outcomes play in how programs achieve and understand their success. Specifically, the study aims to identify the influences within each of these levels that lead to programs' success, how and if these factors are currently measured, and recommend improvements to the data collection methods and data system that currently exist within the workforce development system. Recommendations for a more robust data system, and the measures this system should track, are listed below, with more complete recommendations in the report. Following this, the influences on success at each level are outlined and explained in more detail in the full report, including how and if organizations measure these factors. Appended are: (1) Organization Descriptions; (2) Bibliography; and (3) Methodology. (Contains 1 figure and 9 footnotes.)
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-753-5900; Fax: 773-753-5940; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Identifiers - Location: Illinois