State Workforce Systems and Training Initiatives
Evaluation of the Colorado Workforce Innovation Act HB21-1264 Grant Programs
Client: Colorado Workforce Development Council, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 2022 – 2025
Study objective: Examine the performance of workforce grant programs funded through the Colorado Workforce Innovation Act HB21-1264 initiative. The study will monitor program performance, provide ongoing feedback regarding program implementation and performance, and create an evaluation framework to support future impact evaluations of the funded programs.
Policy context: In 2021, the Colorado House used American Rescue Plan funds to award $60 million to the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) to invest in programs that provide training, career counseling, and other services to unemployed and underemployed workers. The objective was to provide workers who were affected with the pandemic the skills needed to obtain in-demand jobs while meeting the short- and long-term needs of employers.
Research design. The study includes three components: (1) develop Theories of Change (TOC) models that describe how individual program inputs are connected with the intendent outcomes for the target population; (2) conduct an implementation assessment to assess program implementation, identify best practices and implementation challenges, assess commonalities and synergies across programs, and provide recommendations for program improvement; and (3) implement an outcomes assessment study that uses participant-level data merged with state administrative data to assess program performance, both at the program level and collectively.
Policy Impact. Information resulting from this evaluation will be used by policymakers in three important ways. First, findings from the implementation and outcomes assessment will inform recommendations for how policymakers may improve future program performance. Second, learnings from both the implementation and the outcomes studies will identify which programs yielded the best results, informing decisions about continuing program funding. Third, the individual and collective TOCs and the data collection and data reporting frameworks developed in this study will provide the foundation for future impact evaluations of funded programs, further informing the state’s knowledge on evidence-based programming for workforce development.