The current economic crisis will likely inspire federal investment in training for unemployed and underemployed Americans. When funds are made available for youth workforce development, transparent reporting and publication of results data should be required. User-friendly reports should be created that enable unemployed and underemployed Americans to see which training providers achieve the best results, much as the current College Scorecard helps youth and their families evaluate colleges. This will benefit program recipients, the taxpayer, and society at large. Evidence about what works for youth workforce development is still in an early stage of maturity, so upcoming investments present an opportunity to advance the state of knowledge. With this data and insight, future investments can continue to fund effective programs and ineffective ones can be discontinued.
This paper summarizes insights from a brief review of scholarly research conducted in early 2020 as background for a grant-funded pilot project to advance data-driven approaches to closing workforce gaps for disadvantaged youth. The research scan was initially intended to inform the project as an internal resource. However, as the pandemic economic crisis continues, and as federal efforts to address it progress, it is hoped that sharing these insights might help government to make the best use of workforce dollars and programs. The goal of this paper is to further the use of evidence in upskilling and reskilling workers left unemployed or underemployed by the current pandemic economic crisis.