Governments can maximize the impact of their funds with data and evidence

The Results for America Workforce Evidence-Based Spending Guide is designed to help state and local government workforce development professionals build and use evidence to achieve better, more equitable outcomes through their grantmaking, purchasing and procurement. The Guide details five strategies workforce professionals can use to improve their contracting, purchasing and grantmaking, move beyond compliance as the primary measure of procurement success, and support their funded partners in achieving quality outcomes while advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals.


Get actionable guidance on how to revamp your spending processes with examples of how other governments have gotten started.

Strategy 1. Define Evidence of Effectiveness – Workforce agencies new to using evidence in procurement should start by defining what evidence of effectiveness means for their agency, including what role equity considerations play, and creating an evidence framework to communicate that definition to stakeholders, including providers. The definition process should also include a commitment to implementing the corresponding internal policies, such as providing funding for evaluations and offering training or technical assistance, and developing systems to collect the necessary data in order to show success.

Strategy 2. Prioritize Evidence in Grants and Contracts – Workforce agencies that have defined evidence of effectiveness can use that definition to encourage or require providers to use evidence-based approaches in their service delivery. Prioritization often takes the form of creating incentives, preferential access to resources, expedited timing, or a reduced compliance burden in addition to contractual requirements.

Strategy 3. Link Provider Payments to Workforce Outcomes – Workforce agencies can encourage the use or creation of evidence through performance- and outcomes-based grants and contracts that tie some payments to high-priority outcomes. As part of these procurements, or any procurement strategy, workforce development agencies can encourage or require providers to dedicate a portion of the funding to conducting evaluations to help build the evidence base.

Strategy 4. Use Active Contract/Grant Management to Improve Outcomes – Workforce agencies can use Active Contract/Grant Management to work directly with providers to improve service delivery in real-time. Active management uses data to identify and then address needs as they arise, adjusting the approach to meet desired outcomes.

Strategy 5. Build Evidence Through Evaluations – Workforce agencies can evaluate the programs and services they fund to assess how well they’re serving workers or employers, building evidence that can be used to shape future grants and contracts. Effective evaluations often start with setting aside the necessary budget to carry out these efforts, building internal staff’s understanding of evaluation approaches, and engaging stakeholders in developing evaluation plans.