The Economic Opportunities Program’s Workforce Strategies Initiative identifies, evaluates, and promotes promising practices and policies that help low-income Americans gain ground in today’s labor market. For more than two decades, WSI’s evaluations and applied research have illuminated strategies that help workers attain stability and mobility, including through training, education, and broader systems change.
The hallmark of WSI’s research approach is participatory learning assessment. WSI actively engages workforce development stakeholders in activities designed to inform research, determine key questions and research methods, and collect, analyze, and use data. WSI researchers conduct field surveys, participant outcomes studies, in-depth interviews, and focus groups with many informants, including program participants, staff and leaders, investors, policymakers, and business customers of workforce services. This approach allows WSI researchers to understand and document the needs of workers and businesses and the specific practices that underpin effective programming. Our research has elevated promising strategies into mainstream workforce development practice and policy.