If you search the internet for workforce development best practices, you will sadly come up with very little.
The lack of a “best practices” list for workforce development is troubling because of the importance of structuring program offerings around the needs, trends, and resources in the community we serve. However, by observing other organizations that are excelling it is still possible to gain new ideas for quality improvement and recognize new opportunities for our own programs.
Keep reading to learn three simple workforce development best practices that are being used by organizations today and how you can use these to better improve workforce programs in your area.
Best Practice #1 – Evaluate the Current Landscape
There are different challenges that must be taken into consideration by the local workforce development programs. Every region has different needs for employees and employers It is not possible to create a cookie-cutter solution that is applicable everywhere. This is why workforce development programs are largely state- or community-based. The Northeast Ohio Regional Workforce Initiative has published a paper that serves as a great overview of workforce development best practices throughout the country.
Although federal funding is available, a federal workforce development program would not be in the best position to assess the needs of those they were trying to serve. As local workforce organizations, it is important for us to craft our strategies and workforce development best practices around the needs of our community.
Best Practice #2 – Implement Strategically
All non-profits face the danger of mission creep, where they try to offer services that extend beyond the scope of their mission. While we all want to do the greatest good, we cannot do any good if our resources are spread too thin. By trying to accomplish more than we planned for, we can easily overextend our staff and service delivery and end up not serving anyone effectively.
Before starting new initiatives, it is important to ensure that they are within the scope of the organization’s mission and that the organization has sufficient resources to effectively implement these solutions. In other words, it is important to have a good plan in place to evaluate new opportunities.
Best Practice #3 – Measure Outcomes
In this webinar with the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee, they discuss how they are using Efforts to Outcomes software to improve their Career Opportunity Center for adults, and how these program improvements have enabled them to seek more funding.
In an age where modern technology allows us to track every variable of our program operation to determine the best formula for success, utilizing these tools is non-negotiable. By using effective reporting strategies, it is possible for each organization to create its own specific and highly relevant workforce development best practices, making this the most important practice of all.
While we cannot offer best practices that will be effective across the board, there are processes your organization can follow to develop your own workforce development best practices. By considering the needs of the area and population you are serving, acting in alignment with the goal and mission of your organization and tracking results effectively, you can ensure that your programs are fulfilling their role in the workforce development space.