February Program Management Discussion Summary

Hello Program Management colleagues,

In the program Management Group there was one discussion in February to which I would particularly like to call your attention, Workforce Benchmarking Network’s Survey Q&A


This is an important discussion for all community-based organization in the U.S. that have adult basic skills and workforce development programs. The Workforce Benchmarking Network (WBN) project, launched in 2004, has an ongoing survey and the sponsor, the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) encourages as many eligible CBOs as possible to participate. They are interested in ABE, ESL/ESOL, HSE preparation programs, programs that incorporate work readiness education, and Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs that prepare learners for entry into skilled positions. 

Through the data they collect they hope to address questions such as: What are the results of community-based workforce development efforts? What are “good” results for different types of programs?  How can CBOs—and the larger field—better use data to improve the effectiveness of workforce programs?

The benefits to participating programs

·      “The Benchmarking survey data is the largest collection of outcomes information to date for CBO programs (collecting aggregate data in the past from hundreds of programs on participant demographics, services received, job placement and retention rates, wages, and other outcomes).”

·      Online reports are confidential; are all password-protected. “Organizations submitting data can compare their results confidentially to those of programs with similar characteristics and use that information to create more effective programs.”

·      “Organizations can participate in regional peer learning workshops and receive technical assistance to help them make better use of the data they have by identifying system ‘leaks’, setting targeted goals and creating strategies for continuous improvement.”

·      Benefits for programs that provide adult basic education or English as a second language services:  “Past Benchmarking data showed that workforce programs providing Adult Basic Education to more than 50% of their participants correlated in a statistically significant way with higher enrollee job placement and better job retention rates at 3-6-12 months than programs that didn't offer those services.” (underlining mine)

·      This unique capability has over the years helped organizations not only improve their services and outcomes but has opened doors to conversations with potential partners and funders by giving them access to this data that they can share.”

·      “Survey participants have varying needs in terms of what they want to get from the survey. For some program completion is a main goal, for others it’s employment or GED attainment.”  They see a big opportunity for the field to “do a deeper dive into possibly creating a customized survey focused on literacy providers’ questions to get to their specific outcome needs.” (underlining mine)

·      “Users have the ability to see reports that compare their outcomes to other organizations using whatever filters are relevant. Users also have the ability to see results of organizations that provide data and outcomes related to services they might not provide or data they might not collect.”

·      Read about what providers say are they key benefits here.

Want to see what kinds of data are collected in the survey?  They ask about “individual program info, employer engagement activities, participant info, placement outcomes, employment retention, and financial outcomes. To get a more detailed view of some of the specifics under those categories you can download a summary handout describing the kinds of service data and participant characteristics captured here:https://skilledwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-WBN-National-Survey-summary-rev.-6.20.19.pdf . “

What to register for the survey?

“Register to indicate your interest in survey participation or other WBN Network activities by completing this brief questionnaire. You are also welcome to join us on March 12 from 2:00-3:00pm EST. Register Here for an informational webinar.

David J, Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Program Management group