Work Force Development Best Practices

Most policy research today on employment is done by academics who favor analyzing large databases. But these analyses, however sophisticated, are of limited interest to government because they say little about how to improve outcomes. One may show that the benefits the government might provide would improve outcomes, but that says little about the value of the programs government actually has. Very little research has been conducted on how successful employment programs operate.  

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In an effort to provide information on the recipe for a successful employment program, we investigate program data in which we document and interview staff to find out how they process clients. Employment agencies can provide us with valuable feedback on a program's effectiveness. Programs that perform well in terms of measured outcomes, such as jobs, will often have a distinctive operating style. The research style is closer to journalism than high-tech social science. Through this research effort, we approach staff with a list of questions and get them to describe what they do and what seems to work and not work. This results in a thorough analysis of the techniques and methods that are deemed "best practices" in the field of employment.