This week, the Department of Labor announced $6.4 million in Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants to 6 states to develop or improve their workforce data systems.
The grants awarded to Kansas, Oregon, North Carolina, and Wyoming will help those states develop new longitudinal data systems, while the awards obtained by Ohio and Virginia will help them improve their existing data systems. Statewide longitudinal workforce systems established or expanded through these grants should collect individual-level data from Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records, UI benefit claims, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Titles I and II, Wagner-Peyser Employment Services (ES), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), and other training and employment programs.
During the three year grant period, grantees are expected to:
- Develop and improve state workforce longitudinal data systems with individual-level information;
- Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to create longitudinal data systems;
- Improve the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems;
- Use longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations;
- Analyze the performance of education and employment training programs; and
- Provide user-friendly information to consumers to help them select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.
The WDQI grant program was created in 2010 to help states develop or improve their state workforce longitudinal data systems in an effort to make workforce education and training programs more effective. This is the third – and smallest – round of WDQI grants. The first two rounds disbursed a total of $24 million to 23 states. In his 2014 budget, President Obama requested just $6 million for WDQI grants.
National Skills Coalition, as a member of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign has called on Congress to ensure state longitudinal data systems are inclusive, aligned and market relevant so they may provide useful information to the public, to the private-sector, and to policymakers about the skills, employment, and earning outcomes of our students and workers, and about the ability of U.S. businesses to fill skilled positions with our education and training programs’ graduates.