Why does Evaluation Matter?

Know Where You’re Going

Each sector initiative, as early as possible, should select a set of measures relevant to its specific goals and activities. These measures articulate where the initiative is headed and how it will know when it has gotten there. As you design a benchmarking process that captures the continuous improvement of your sector initiative, consider that your measures should: 

  • Be realistic and utilize data that currently exists, so that you minimize the data collection burden on public and private partners.
  • Balance optimal long-term impact measurement against current capacity to collect and produce such measures.
  • Include both quantitative and qualitative indicators.

 A useful framework (but not the only one) for benchmarking is:

Evidence of Progress
Outputs, Products, Outcomes Longer Term Impact

Such as:
  Action Plan
  Employer support

Such as:
  Skills Standards
  Awareness Campaign
Such as:
  Reduced vacancy rates
  Increased rates of

Each of these phases of evaluation can be considered across at least four categories of beneficiaries: employers; jobseekers and workers; public institutions and systems; and the partnership itself. Frameworks similar to this example from Washington State are being piloted by some states and local sector initiatives, each with variation.

Share Your Success

Simply stated, all sector initiatives should work toward being able to tell what happened, to put it into context, to tell the story of that context to multiple audiences, and to make decisions that improve the success of the initiative. Sharing success stories leads to on-going support, interest, and investment. It is the key to long-term sustainability. For example, the ability to provide employers with context and comparisons could lead to industry investment into the partnership and its activities. Some sector initiatives are completely funded by employer member contributions.