Nobody wants to sink time, money, and energy into a workforce development evaluation program that isn’t working.
With funding at a premium in today’s economy, it’s imperative that program administrators are able to respond to challenging questions from donors, supporters and other stakeholders with quality information about their programs in workforce development. Evaluation is critical in being able to come up with the necessary data at the right time to demonstrate the success of these programs.
So how do you know if your evaluation methodologies are sound? Keep reading to find out.
3 Key Criteria for Workforce Development Evaluation
- Know what you are tracking. If you are serious about improving your workforce development program, it’s important to first refresh yourself on the goals and objectives of the program. Selecting evaluation criteria based on another organization’s program or on other people’s ideas of what your program “should’ be accomplishing is a fast track to a failed program.
However, this does not mean you have to go it alone. Public/Private Ventures, a national non-profit dedicated to improving the effectiveness of social programs, has created The Benchmarking Project to help you better understand how to improve your workforce development evaluation.
The Benchmarking Project provides a knowledge base that workforce development programs can use to evaluate and improve their results. It’s important to do the research and solidify your education in existing workforce development evaluation procedures before attempting to create your own program.
- Use the right software program to help you evaluate outcomes. Programs in workforce development are increasingly complex and if it’s quality improvement you are after, you will need to analyze and understand large quantities of data to be sure that any program changes will be effective. Excel spreadsheets are no longer capable of handling this information. You need to choose a program that is specifically designed for your industry, such as the SocialSolutions ETO Software, which will help improve program integration. The right software program will allow you to make the most sense of your data and ensure that your organization is operating at peak efficiency.
- Re-evaluate. Evaluation of your programs is not something that should be done only once. The results you receive should be used to make changes and tweaks to your programs and then they should be re-evaluated.
Sometimes, the results may not be what you would expect.You should set an evaluation schedule based on your programs that makes sense and will give you the data you need to be sure your organization is operating efficiently. Adherence to a process and a schedule for workforce development evaluation can be critical to achieving your goals.
So Am I Successfully Evaluating My Programs?
Once you have a workforce development evaluation program in place, it should be fairly simple to determine if it’s operating effectively. Begin by looking at your evaluation data and your program goals side-by-side. If someone asked you, “Is this program meeting its objectives?” would you be able to effectively back up your answer to that question using the outcomes that are being measured?
If so, then your evaluation methodologies are sound, and you will be able to provide stakeholders with the information they need to continue funding your programs. If not, you may need to reconsider your workforce development evaluation strategies. Alternately, it may be necessary to focus on quality improvement of your program delivery. Finally, you may have to consider the possibility of restating your goals and objectives to reflect more reasonable expectations based on current data.