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Workforce Data Quality Campaign invited to OECD in Paris

On April 5 and 6 in Paris, France, WDQC Director Bryan Wilson participated in an “Expert Workshop on Strengthening the Governance of Skills Systems,” held by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  OECD is an international organization consisting of 35-member countries.  OECD asked Bryan to speak on “integrated information systems for skills,” and fully supported his participation.

OECD’s mission is, “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.” OECD conducts research, develops policy recommendations, and sometimes facilitates agreements between governments. One of OECD’s four areas of focus is skills, ensuring that, “people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow.”

The OECD Center for Skills has worked recently to advance skill strategies in more than ten countries. Through this experience, the Center has learned how nations struggle to develop a systemic approach to skill policies. Four main challenges are: poor coordination among government agencies and levels of government, lack of collaboration with stakeholders, inefficient financing mechanisms, and lack of effective data and information systems. OECD is now proceeding to identify good policy practices to address these four challenges.

The purpose of the Expert Workshop was to provide feedback to OECD regarding their draft document outlining good policy practices in these four “dimensions”.  Being aware of WDQC’s work, they invited Bryan to speak as one of two external experts on good practices around workforce data and information systems. In all, the meeting was attended by 10 external experts, 22 OECD staff, and a representative of the European Commission. 

Many of the draft document’s points about workforce data and information systems would be familiar to an American audience: the need for accessible data for decision-making, the usefulness of longitudinal information systems, the need for cross-program data and data that crosses levels of government, and information on skill supply and demand.  The document suggested that mechanisms to support information systems include: bodies for coordinating workforce information across agencies, results-based management and accountability, and regular evaluations and transparent reporting of results.

In his comments at the Workshop, Bryan appreciated that OECD included integrated workforce data and information systems as one of four “dimensions” to systemic skills policies. He offered some suggestions for additions to the draft document.

Information systems should enable better decision-making among three primary sets of actors: policymakers, institutions or providers, and consumers.  As briefly mentioned in the document, to create integrated information systems, governments should establish longitudinal data systems that collect administrative records on program participants, administrative records on employment and earnings, link the records together, and are capable of aggregating information on individuals over time. A robust system must be based on individual unit data.

Governments should establish data tools that take data from longitudinal information systems and present the information in ways that are actionable by policymakers, institutions, and consumers. There should be dashboards designed for policymakers that show the key characteristics (such as costs and participant demographics) and educational and labor market outcomes of programs, using consistent methods and metrics to make the results easier to understand and to facilitate coordination across programs.

There should be transparent reports for consumers that show key characteristics and outcomes of programs of study at local institutions or providers, again, using consistent methods and metrics so that information is comparable, and consumers can make more informed decisions. There should be institutional feedback reports that similarly provide information on characteristics and outcomes of institutions and their programs of study, so that they may make more informed decisions about program improvement. Finally, there should be supply and demand reports that compare the number of newly trained workers per year to the number of job openings per year by field of study and level of education or training.

To implement these things require addressing certain challenges (a somewhat different list than in the draft document):

  • Creating administrative record-based information systems that are inclusive of all types of providers of skills training and the different types of credentials they produce, and comprehensive records of employment and earnings;  
  • The use of consistent metrics, horizontally and vertically across programs;
  • Getting policy-makers to use the information to inform their investments in skills training and other decisions; and
  • Wide and effective dissemination of consumer information.

As OECD’s project continues, Bryan offered to connect OECD staff to examples of good practices from American states.

Posted In: Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Ohio Updates Dashboard

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,
Ohio Updates Dashboard

Ohio has recently completed its annual update of its Workforce Success Measures Dashboard, which evaluates the outcomes of the state’s largest workforce development programs. The tool was first built by the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) in 2014.

The tool is intended for use by policymakers to continually monitor progress across the state’s workforce development programs, as well as for program administrators to monitor their programs and compare them to similar programs across the state. It can help answer questions including:

  • Are participants finding and keeping employment?
  • How much do former participants earn? 
  • Are participants earning credentials?

The Workforce Success Measures Dashboard helps answer these questions about Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, adult education programs, post-secondary career and technical education funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, state-funded financial aid and scholarships for the state’s public colleges, and vocational rehabilitation programs. The tool measures completers, employment and wage outcomes, and credential information, applying common measures across programs. Users can view data by program, county, the state as a whole.

 Ohio Dashboard Chart

Ohio is one of four states that National Skills Coalition (NSC) has provided technical assistance to as part of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP). SWEAP is helping states develop cross-program data tools that policy makers can use to align programs with employer skill needs. SWEAP has helped Ohio build a Workforce Supply Tool which provides information about Ohio’s talent supply in key occupations.

Moving forward, Workforce Data Quality Campaign will be providing technical assistance to states looking to create data tools for policymakers. If your state is interested in implementing SWEAP tools, please contact us at info@workforcedqc.org.   

Posted In: Ohio, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Utah Bill Bolsters Workforce Data

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,
Utah Bill Bolsters Workforce Data

New legislation, UT SB 194, replaces Utah’s longitudinal data system, the Utah Data Alliance (UDA) with the Utah Data Research Center (UDRC). In doing so, this bill changes the system’s governance model, builds the state’s research capacity, institutionalizes inter-agency data sharing, and promotes data use.

SB 194 creates the Utah Data Research Center (UDRC) as a program within the Department of Workforce Services. Although Utah has long been a model for data governance, this bill shifts governance to a method that the Utah legislature believes will better suit its goals of unified decision making. The UDA was governed by a cross-agency council composed of individuals representing each agency contributing data. Under SB 194, however, UDRC will be governed by a director who can create a comprehensive vision and research agenda. The UDRC will still maintain a cross-agency advisory board, composed of representatives from K-12, postsecondary, career and technical education, workforce services, and health agencies.

In addition to implementing a new governance model, the bill increases the state’s research capacity by shifting research from individual agencies to the UDRC, and by allowing the UDRC to hire necessary staff. Previously, research was conducted by individual agencies, who had limited capacity to conduct research of interest to external stakeholders such as the legislature or the public.

Furthermore, SB 194 ensures the sustainability of the UDRC by mandating data submission from the State Board of Education, the State Board of Regents, the Utah College of Applied Technology, the Department of Workforce Services, and the Department of Health. Previously, these agencies contributed data voluntarily, and could pull out of the alliance for any reason.

Finally, this bill encourages greater data use by requiring the UDRC to create an “online data visualization portal” that will provide the public and others with access to linked, aggregated, and de-identified data. Users can query data, and view that data in a customizable way.

This law will go into effect on July 1, 2017. WDQC is pleased to see states institutionalizing strong data practices, and creating data governance policies that are best suited to their states. 

Posted In: Utah, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

KY Postsecondary Feedback Report Now Interactive

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,

For the first time, the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) has made their Postsecondary Feedback report interactive. The report shows what happens to students at Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions after they graduate. Previous versions of the report were published online, but static. With this change, students can more easily make informed decisions about their education options.

The Postsecondary Feedback Report provides information about graduate’s employment and wages, as well as information about further postsecondary education. Information can be broken down by institution and degree level. While the tool does not break down outcomes by major or program, it does break down outcomes by type of program, such as business, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and trades.

Kentucky Dashboard

The report utilizes data from the Kentucky Longitudinal Data System (KLDS). You can learn more about KLDS by visiting Kentucky’s state page.  

WDQC applauds Kentucky for making more information about education and training options available to students and their parents, as well as to educators and program managers, in an easy to understand format. Our staff is available to provide assistance to other states looking to create data tools. 

Posted In: Kentucky, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Georgia Releases New Scorecard and Earnings Report

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,

Students in Georgia now have an online tool from which they can learn more about potential educational options in the state. In early January 2017, Georgia's Governor's Office of Student Achievement released the Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings (GHLE) dashboard. The interactive tool allows users to see how much money graduates of Georgia’s universities and technical colleges are earning one and five years after graduation. Users can view this information by institution, degree type, or major.

 Georgia Dashboard

The state also released a companion report, Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings, analyzing graduates earnings information. The report found that wages tend to increase as students achieve higher levels of education – although earnings can vary significantly between programs of study and institutions.

The GHLE dashboard and companion report are populated with data from GA AWARDS, Georgia’s P20-W longitudinal data system. GA AWARDS contains data from the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Independent College Association, the National Student Clearinghouse, the Georgia Department of Labor, and the Georgia Student Finance Commission. You can learn more about GA AWARDS and Georgia’s data infrastructure by visiting Georgia’s state page.

WDQC applauds Georgia for making more information about education and training options available to students and their parents. Our staff is available to provide assistance to other states looking to create data tools. 

Posted In: Georgia, Workforce Data Quality Campaign
Workforce Data Explained: Using Data to Narrow California Skills Gaps

WDQC interviewed Jillian Leufgen, Program Analyst with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy, about the strides made toward understanding student success in California’s labor market.

California Community Colleges is the largest system of postsecondary education in the United States. The system uses LaunchBoard to link education data and wage records to provide community college employees with information about outcomes of career and technical education programs, and Salary Surfer provides similar information for the public.

Additional Resources:

  • AB 1417 (2004): legislation that led the Chancellor’s Office to design and implement a performance measurement system
  • Since the video was produced, a flurry of activity has happened in California. The state legislature passed SB 66 (2016) to allow sharing of data on licenses to track impact on employment and wages. California Community Colleges also aligned performance data with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Posted In: California, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

More States Release Data Tools

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,

More and more states are creating online tools to help students and programs get the information they need about higher education programs. This year, Connecticut and Indiana have each released tools that can help these audiences answer critical questions about how graduates fare in the labor market.

In June 2016, Connecticut's Preschool through 20 and Workforce Information Network (P20 WIN) released new chartsshowing outcomes information for those who earned a credential or degree at one of the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU). Outcomes information includes the percentage of individuals earning a credential, the percentage of individuals finding employment in Connecticut, and average wages both prior to and after program completion. Chart users can see the data broken down by degree type, institution, and program, as well as by demographics. The charts were populated by matching data about CSCU graduates with Unemployment Insurance data from the Connecticut State Department of Labor.

Connecticut Wage Graph

Similarly, in January 2016, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education built an online tool to allow students to consider the costs and benefits associated with their higher education options. The tool shows education costs and average debt levels for graduates of Indiana’s public colleges. The tool also shows graduates who find work in Indiana’s average salaries one, five, and ten years after graduation. Although education costs and debts are only listed per institution, outcomes data is broken down by degree level, institution, and program.

Indiana Colleges Employment Outcomes Chart

Both Connecticut and Indiana’s online tools use Tableau software to display their information.

Together, these tools will help students in Connecticut and Indiana make informed decisions about their education, and help educators evaluate and improve their programs. 

 

Posted In: Workforce Data Quality Campaign
VLDS to Create Dashboards Depicting Virginia's Rural and Urban Divide

Late last month the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) announced that it would partner with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) on the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI) to create data visualizations using longitudinal data.

The RVHI aims to narrow the significant disparity between educational attainment rates in Virginia’s rural communities (which look like a horseshoe on the map), and its urban areas. The divide is so significant that if these two regions of Virginia were considered states in a national ranking of educational attainment, Virginia’s urban areas would rank second, while its rural areas would be tied for 50th place. To narrow this divide, the RVHI places community college employees into high schools to serve as career coaches, and provides funding to help students obtain a postsecondary credential.

The VLDS will further this mission by publishing online a variety of dashboards intended to provide stakeholders with a clear visualization of the rural/urban divide in Virginia. Some of the images will be used for RVHI program accountability. These dashboards will depict the outcomes of students served by the RVHI (such as GED attainment, enrollment in postsecondary education, and certificate attainment) or will compare those outcomes with students who weren’t served. Other dashboards will simply compare rural and urban areas on metrics including unemployment rates, median income, and median employment rates.

The dashboards will be funded with money from the state’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor to enhance state workforce longitudinal databases. 

VLDS hopes to release the dashboards by June 2016. VLDS also plans to use its longitudinal data to create a handful of other dashboards, including one which would show the number of people in the state receiving workforce development services.

One of the key actions of WDQC’s policy agenda is to promote the development and use of dashboards in order to provide useful information to the public, program administrators, and policymakers. 

 

Posted In: Virginia, Workforce Data Quality Campaign