In 2016-17, eight state agencies are receiving more than $6 billion in state and federal funding to administer almost 30 workforce education and training programs. Historically, state and federal laws have required service providers to report different types of outcome information even for similar workforce programs, making comparing programs and assessing the overall system's performance difficult. In addition, to collect information about program participants’ longer-term outcomes, state agencies often must share and link data with one another. Currently, the state's method for linking data is inefficient and administratively burdensome. To address these concerns, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Workforce Development Board to determine a set of common outcome measures for workforce programs and require programs to collect and report data for those measures. We also recommend the Legislature replace the state’s existing method of linking data with a streamlined, systemwide method. To increase the value of workforce data, we further recommend the board present the data in a few workforce reports each year, with the intent of informing policy makers’ policy and funding decisions and improving the overall quality of the state’s workforce system.

Correction (8/18/16): CalWORKs employment and training services funding levels corrected in Figure 1.