About the Study

In 2020, the Chief Evaluation Office funded contractor American Institutes for Research (AIR) to develop and conduct an innovative assessment of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) capacity to generate and use evidence. This initial capacity assessment encompassed 16 DOL agencies and was designed to:

  • establish a baseline understanding of the Department’s evidence capacity,
  • continue an important dialogue around evidence within the Department,
  • inform next steps for improving capacity across the Department, and
  • lay the groundwork for future reviews while addressing a requirement of the Evidence Act of 2020.

The assessment drew on a survey that allowed AIR to understand staff’s use and production of evidence when working on policies, programs, and/or operations, separate focus groups with staff and leadership in 28 focus groups conducted between 2020 and 2022.

The assessment findings offer important insights on baseline patterns and opportunities to improve capacity for evidence use and production going forward. Its insights are informing tangible next steps that DOL is taking to build on current strengths and address capacity gaps to support better informed decision-making on policies and program implementation that affect American workers.

Project Duration: 44 Months

Contract End Date: January 2023

Contractors: American Institutes for Research (AIR)

For More Information: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.