What is performance measurement? Performance measurement uses indicators to track progress toward and achievement of specific objectives to manage the implementation and operation of a program or policy.
Why do performance measurement? The purpose of performance measurement in programs is accountability—to ensure the programs and strategies are accomplishing what is intended. A second purpose is to create organizational learning and improvement. Performance measures can be especially important for accountability in federal programs implemented within a multitiered system (meaning funding flows from federal level to state level to regional or local levels), like the public workforce system, which has had a performance measurement system in place since the 1970s. One tool for workforce organizations is performance-based funding, where receipt of funding partially or wholly depends on meeting performance targets.
What are the performance measures in the public workforce system? To simplify performance reporting for organizations using different public funding streams, there have been some efforts in the public workforce system to implement “common measures” across different programs. For example, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (which includes key federal funding streams for workforce activities) requires common performance measures across its six core programs. These include
- the percentage of participants in unsubsidized employment in second and fourth quarter after exit;
- median earnings;
- the percentage of participants who obtain a postsecondary credential or diploma during participation or within one year of exit;
- the measure of participants achieving measurable skill gains; and
- the measure of effectiveness in serving employers.