WASHINGTON — Building a better workforce system starts with having reliable data. With the passage of last year's Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to encourage greater coordination between workforce and education programs, states have made important strides to integrate their programs. To further the progress, the U.S. Department of Labor announces today that it is making approximately $10 million in grants available to help expand understanding in more states about how education and workforce development programs complement each other in the fifth round of the Workforce Data Quality Initiative.
"Good data helps us meet the needs of employers, workers and job seekers. It also increases accountability and gives consumers more information about which programs can help them achieve their goals," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.
This grant opportunity highlights the Obama administration's focus on access to high-quality data; it is a sister initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program. These databases are useful as they track the same type of information on the same subjects at multiple points in time. Both grants will help support the emphasis on accountability and transparency, a key feature of the recently enacted WIOA. They will also support the implementation of WIOA by connecting the data infrastructure across programs, enabling states to meet the act's performance accountability requirements.
Grantees will be expected to use these longitudinal databases to conduct research and analysis aimed at determining the effectiveness of workforce and education programs and to develop tools to better inform customers about the benefits of the publicly funded workforce system.
The Department of Labor's grants are open to State Workforce Agencies nationwide to improve the quality and availability of workforce data. Grantees will be expected to achieve multiple goals during the three-year grant period. These goals include:
- Developing or improving state workforce longitudinal databases with individual-level information;
- Enabling workforce data to be matched with education data to create longitudinal data systems;
- Improving the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems;
- Using longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations;
- Analyzing the performance of education and employment training programs; and
- Providing user-friendly information to consumers, in the form of scorecards or integrated digital platforms, to help them select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.
To find out more about the WDQI grantees, visit: http://www.doleta.gov/performance/workforcedatagrant09.cfm.