The Outcomes for Opportunity (O4O) initiative was a two-year pilot project whose goal was to identify relevant metrics and create easy-to-use data tools that workforce boards and training providers could use to tell compelling stories that demonstrate the impact they have on the communities they serve.
As the pilot phase comes to a conclusion, Outcomes for Opportunity is now firmly established as a reliable source of guidance and support for workforce boards, training providers, and the partners they work with. Our long-term goal is to enable the organizations that rely on O4O to become adept at using data more effectively to promote and improve their programs, services, and regional advantages.
Offering user-friendly data tools, O4O will enable workforce boards, training partners, and other stakeholders to tell compelling stories about their programs, services, and regional influence and use data and information to drive ongoing improvement within their organizations and across their communities. O4O is powered by new data Insights and Analytics tools that will explore outcomes through a variety of unique lenses, all equally important to measuring impact throughout a region and across the country.
These lenses may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Education & Training
How effective and efficient are various types of education and training programs? Are they responsive to industry demand and reflective of employers’ current skill needs? What is their return on investment?
Access & Equity
Who is most affected by inequitable policies and practices? What equity measures are most important, and why? How do improved equity measures influence participant success?
How can we improve outcomes for incumbent, dislocated, unemployed, or underemployed workers? What types of academic and non-academic support services are most needed for these populations? How are people who have completed training programs advancing in their careers?
Which metrics do we need in order to gain improved insights into economic advantage and market share? In what ways do the availability and quality of localized training programs have an impact on new business creation?
How can we better measure job quality in terms of compensation, worker safety, job satisfaction, and career advancement potential? How do we define a “high-quality” job and to what degree do jobs within a region meet these criteria?
In early 2020, JFF engaged the workforce boards of Dallas, Greater Denver, and San Diego to serve as the three pilot sites of Cohort I of the O4O initiative. The participants then began an iterative process of identifying a set of core impact measures—metrics that are uniformly collected and can be readily aggregated by workforce boards across the country. The goal was to choose measures that could yield new insights for workforce boards, training providers, and individual learners and workers. Additionally, we aim to provide a deeper view of the programmatic outcomes and community impact of workforce initiatives.
Here are the key questions that Cohort I explored to establish our core impact measures:
What types of education and training programs are available in my community?
Regional Education and Training Outcomes
How do training programs offered in our community affect the wages participants earn and the accessibility of employment opportunities?
Benchmarking Program Outcomes
How do the programs offered in our community compare with programs offered elsewhere?
With those metrics in place, JFF, in partnership with Brighthive, has been working with the three pilot sites to develop a data infrastructure. In compliance with all relevant privacy and security rules and regulations, our partnership has focused on collecting data related to those metrics and using it to generate aggregated findings and insights.
This process included creating a framework for storytelling that focuses on emphasizing outcomes relevant to people, places, and institutions within the context of learning, working, and advancing along a career path.
The data tools and products produced as part of the O4O initiative are designed to give workforce boards and training providers the capacity to tell compelling stories that help a range of audiences—including partners, funders, board members, and legislators—understand the ways in which programs and services are impacting their communities.
JFF maintains specialized workgroups focused on topics such as long-term strategic vision, data development, and user experience. This governance structure ensures that all O4O partner sites are participating as a collaborative group of data providers and users who share insights and agree on a strategic direction.
Cohorts II and III are set to join O4O in the fall of 2021 to further test and scale the core impact measures and data products among a diverse group of organizations and communities. These cohorts will also lend insight into the ongoing design and development of O4O data tools and products.
The Outcomes for Opportunity initiative was organized as a staged undertaking in which three separate cohorts of workforce boards, representing a total of seven regions of the country, engage in a series of pilot activities.
Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas
Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas (WFSDallas) is one of the largest nonprofits in Dallas. A quasi-governmental nonprofit organization, WFSDallas oversees spending of more than $140 million in public and private funds annually and invests in a wide range of workforce development initiatives.
Arapahoe Douglas Works!
A critical resource for workers and employers in the Denver metropolitan area, Arapahoe/Douglas Works! connects people and businesses in Colorado’s Arapahoe and Douglas Counties and beyond. The organization uses a statewide online database of job openings and job seekers called Connecting Colorado to facilitate matches between skilled workers and businesses.
San Diego Workforce Partnership
The San Diego Workforce Partnership offers services, custom programs, and unique initiatives that are redefining what workforce development can—and must—be, because everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed.