In 2016 we embarked on a journey to improve our data collection methods and to determine the most authentic and accurate way to measure true transformational change in a JfL class. While numbers alone are insufficient to measure fruitfulness; we do believe numbers can be leveraged to beautifully represent the value of people and their unique stories.

With that in mind we engaged an independent research firm, The Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, to externally evaluate the impact of our job preparedness training course and how well we equip churches and ministries through training.

Download a Summary of the report

The 2016 National Survey is also highlighted in the 2016 JfL Annual Report. Click the link below to learn more.
>> View the 2016 Jobs for Life Annual Report



This project involved a mixed-methods approach with both quantitative and qualitative empirical analyses, seeking to answer the following questions:

  • How well is JfL achieving its mission of equipping churches and faith-based organizations for effective ministry among the un- and underemployed?

  • How well are JfL sites performing in terms of student outcomes such as growth in personal confidence, understanding of Biblical teachings on work, building a network of potential employers, graduation rates, and job placement rates?
    • How well does JfL’s program model align with evidence-based best practices in the work readiness/job training sector?

    • What improvements are needed in JfL’s Measurement and Evaluation system?


    This research included five main components over a 15 month period:


    • a scan of best practice research in the work readiness/job training sector

    • a review and assessment of JfL’s current Measurement and Evaluation system

    • a composition of a formal Theory of Change diagram

      • a national online survey of JfL program sites

      • in-depth telephone interviews with selected JfL sites


      • Over half (54%) of the JfL sites surveyed achieved a 75 percent or higher graduation rate.

      • Half of surveyed sites have a job placement rate of over 51 percent. Additionally, 18 percent of the sites achieved very strong job placement rates—that is, helping 75 percent or more of graduates to secure employment.
        • There is a strong correlation between the degree to which a site is “well-equipped” and its likelihood of achieving a strong job placement rate . 41% of sites that were judged as well-equipped achieved high job placements rates (75%+) compared with only 16 percent of sites that did not display the characteristics of being “well equipped.”

        • The factor with the highest association to high job placement rates: a strong and effective leadership team.


        Sagamore found that overall, JfL has a strong performance in both equipping churches and faith-based organizations and achieving positive student outcomes. Some specific strengths include:


        • Churches are working diligently to flip the list! 90% of participating JfL sites are embracing JfL’s core convictions on poverty and the “flip the list” principles.

        • JfL sites have a strong business presence, with 60% of sites found to have a key business leaders on their leadership team.
          • ⅔ of sites were found to have Champions (mentors) that were willing to go the “extra-mile” for students, such as meeting outside of class or assisting with childcare or transportation.

          • The JfL model is strong, incorporating 8 of the 15 best practices that researchers have associated with programmatic success in job training programs.


          1. Site Leaders reported having trouble navigating the site and finding the resources they were seeking. Therefore, improve the usability of the website.
          2. The data collection process was found to be difficult to navigate. Therefore, simplify the data feedback loop between sites and JfL.
          3. Trainings and events for sites are limited for individuals outside of North Carolina. Therefore, offer more training to ensure that sites are well-equipped.



          4. Sagamore formulated the following recommendations based on feedback received through the survey and telephone interviews:

            • Offer more training to ensure that sites are “well-equipped.” Project findings suggest that training is correlated to helping more students find jobs.

            • Simplify the data feedback loop and data collection process.
              • Strengthen business connections among sites to increase cross-sector collaboration and business participation with JfL using the city network model.

              • Offer more networking opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and sharing.


              Download a Summary of the report


              To learn more about this project or for any project-related questions, please contact our Measurement and Evaluation Specialist, Shade Perkins, at sperkins@jobsforlife.org.