Labor Awards $11 Million to Help States Leverage Data to Bolster Their Workforce

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The department aims to improve the effectiveness of its workforce and the data systems that inform it.

The Labor Department awarded more than $11 million in grants to agencies across ten states to bolster their workforce data systems, the agency announced this week.

The grants are part of Labor’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to fund the development of workforce longitudinal administrative databases. Such databases offer employees information around training and employment service programs and enable officials to track participants at various points in time. The systems connect with education data and are linked “longitudinally at the individual level” to boost program evaluations and provide more detailed information for customers and stakeholders of the workforce system. 

The databases also generate information about workforce training providers’ performance and outcomes in a format that’s easy to navigate and enables customers to select the programs that best suit their needs.

“[WDQI grants are] designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state workforce data systems, and ultimately, the workforce programs in these states,” the agency said. “Grantees will use these longitudinal databases to conduct research and analysis aimed at determining the effectiveness of workforce and educational programs.”

Labor awarded nine grants for about $1 million a piece to state workforce agencies in Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Idaho, Michigan, North Carolina, California, Maine and Wisconsin to support their efforts in developing or enhancing longitudinal administrative databases. The department also awarded the Texas Workforce Commission $2.1 million to integrate the state’s case management, performance reporting, and fiscal reporting systems with its longitudinal databases.

The grant period runs for three years and the department said it expects grantees to accomplish multiple goals including connecting workforce and education data, leveraging data to provide useful information about program operations and offering consumers user-friendly information that will help them find the training programs that are right for them.