On November 30th, at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, a new series, "Workforce Development in Practice” was launched by the Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public corporation within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The series is geared toward bringing tools and best practices to professionals in workforce development and human resources. At the event, we released a new guidebook on Measuring the Business Impact of Workforce Development Programs.
Historically, the workforce development system has focused on measuring the outcomes of participants in their programs, but has not been as consistent in identifying and measuring the impact of workforce programs on addressing issues for businesses that strengthen their competitiveness through talent development.
Measuring Business Impact is important in a number of ways. It documents and demonstrates to funders and stakeholders the value of workforce development programs. It forces partnerships to articulate specific goals and expectations and design programs to achieve those goals and meet those expectations. And it helps to market workforce development to other employers who may not have partnered with the system in the past.
As you all know, the current economy has increased the demand for workforce development services in a very challenging public funding environment. State revenues have not fully recovered from the recession and federal support for workforce development has been shrinking and will probably continue to decrease. Therefore we need to ensure that we are using our resources as efficiently and as effectively as we can and measuring business impact along with participant outcomes helps us to assess the return on tight resources.
There continue to be opportunities for us to invest in workforce training. The Workforce Training Fund is now a Trust Fund, not subject to annual appropriation and therefore a much more steady and predictable source of support for the ongoing skill development needs of workers and businesses. If you are a business and you pay into the Workforce Training Fund, you are eligible to apply for a grant. I would encourage you to look at the new rolling application on the Mass.Gov website. We are also targeting services to small businesses with a new consortium application that allows small businesses and a convening organization to come together in applying to the Fund. This way you can pool your training needs and rely on the consortium applicant to manage the administration of the grant.
- Please visit www.commcorp.org to review the new guidebook.