Data-Based Decision Making
During the Workforce Innovation Fund grantee meeting in Washington D.C., grantees participated in facilitated peer learning sessions that explored the way different grantees are addressing common themes like systems change and employer engagement. This interactive, grantee-driven format provided the opportunity to explore an important question: what does data-based decision making mean in the context of the Workforce Innovation Fund?
The answer? It depends on the project. For example, Susan Gehring-Liker showed how for the Accelerating Connections to Employment project, their data system helps them keep a pulse on progress across nine sites by letting them know how enrollment is progressing and whether completers are getting jobs. For the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a data dashboard helps visualize participant progress from intake to job placement.
In Chicago, better data systems are helping the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership be more efficient in working across complex systems. Its Integrated Workforce Information System will ultimately streamline data for over 130 workforce service providers and improve case management and reporting. Robust data systems also make it more efficient to connect jobseekers and employers – in the case of Utah’s Next Generation Labor Exchange, using data on job placement and retention has helped with the development of better job match methodologies.
While there’s no one way to use data to support the Workforce Innovation Fund, it was clear from all presenters that data plays a central role in project success. We also learned that to use data to drive decision making you need more than just technology – you need cultivate partnerships and you need to push for culture shift. You need patience - especially if you’re trying to streamline systems across regions or states – and you need to be flexible.
The grantees highlighted in these peer learning sessions have ambitious visions – they see how better use of data has huge potential to transform the way the workforce system serves businesses and jobseekers. As these trailblazers continue to develop their data strategies we’ll keep you informed of best practices and lessons learned.