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EDA and RIPL Partner on Evaluation and Measurements Program for Good Jobs Challenge

Research: Good Jobs Challenge graphic

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $500 million Good Jobs Challenge is making once-in-a-generation investments in 32 high-quality, locally led workforce systems to dramatically transform America’s communities. The goal of the Good Jobs Challenge is to create workforce training programs in communities that will help workers secure jobs in growing, essential industries, and accelerate regional economic development following the pandemic. To further this work, this month, EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance program is announcing a $592,783 grant to Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL) — a national social impact non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island — to develop and implement Return-on-Investment (ROI) metrics that will help a broad range of stakeholders, including policymakers, assess the Good Jobs Challenge on equity outcomes. This grant is funded through EDA’s ARPA Research and Networks Funding Opportunity.

As part of the EDA-funded research grant, RIPL will develop and use algorithmic models to assess program outcomes of the Good Jobs Challenge on a regional and national scale. Measurements calculated by RIPL will determine gains in expected earnings for participants in each of the 32 training programs supported by the Challenge, allowing a quantitative measure of the impacts the initiative has on underserved communities.

“Equity is EDA’s leading investment priority,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This research is critical to mobilizing EDA’s and the public’s insight into how these projects will expand access to the workforce and increase labor participation through a focus on equity.”

RIPL is a leading tech-for-social-impact nonprofit that works with governments to help them use data, science, and technology to improve policy and lives. It works with faculty research affiliates from top research universities across the country to provide scientific-grade insights to policymakers.

“Value-added return-on-investment measurements evaluate the true impact of participation in a training program on future labor outcomes,” explained Scott Jensen, CEO of RIPL. “This program will go beyond measuring impact through the mean earnings of enrollees in past training programs by looking at how programs add value to participant earning potential adjusted for demographic and other characteristics.”

EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program funds research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects that promote competitiveness and innovation in distressed rural and urban regions throughout the United States and its territories. Learn about other RNTA projects at eda.gov.

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