Silicon Valley ALLIES Innovation Initiative Evaluation Report

By Ursula Bischoff, Lisa Le Fevre, Kim Austin, Marie Broek, Laura Jaeger

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Description

Silicon Valley (CA) lacks sufficient resources to meet its growing demand for both adult English as a second language (ESL) training and technical career training for English learners.

Systemic barriers in education and workforce development services prevent English learners from acquiring basic skills they need to transition to higher levels of education and employment. Higher levels of education and skill are increasingly important in a regional economy characterized by occupations that place a premium on communications and customer service.

In addition, while many employers struggle to hire qualified employees in middle-skilled jobs, English learners seeking jobs struggle to access resources that could help them develop skills relevant to rapidly changing employer needs.

The Silicon Valley Alliance for Language Learners’ Integration, Education, & Success Innovation Initiative (SV ALLIES) was designed to meet two primary goals:

  • Launch a Collective Impact initiative to coordinate and align the activities of multiple stakeholders who provide education, training, and employment opportunities to English learners
  • Pilot new program services for English learners that blend English instruction, technical training, and workforce readiness skills

This report describes WestEd’s evaluation of the SV ALLIES Initiative. The evaluation comprised a formative study, an outcome study, and a cost analysis.

Key Findings

  • SV ALLIES led to new relationships among members of the Collective Impact initiative’s steering committee and created information resources for stakeholders providing services to English learners that helped to establish a foundation for systemic change in the workforce development system
  • SV ALLIES pilot projects engaged businesses, adult schools, and Workforce Investment Boards in creating innovative services for job seekers and incumbent workers that served English learners in new ways
  • SV ALLIES pilot projects expanded participants’ access to contextualized English language instruction

Learn more about the Silicon Valley ALLIES Innovation Initiative Evaluation.