Policy Analyst Jenna Leventoff Testifies Before the D.C. Council

By Jenna Leventoff, September 27, 2017

On Tuesday, WDQC Policy Analyst Jenna Leventoff testified at the Council of the District of Columbia’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development hearing about B22-0401, the Workforce Development System Transparency Act of 2017. The bill would require the District’s Mayor to develop and annually update a spreadsheet outlining the District’s spending on workforce development programs, as well as the performance outcomes of those programs.

In her testimony, Jenna expressed support for the bill, noting that it could improve District residents’ abilities to find the training that meets their needs, achieve meaningful employment, and ensure that the District is making good investments with taxpayer money.

During her testimony, Jenna noted that this bill could help the District of Columbia keep pace with states that are already tracking the outcomes of their education and workforce programs and making that information available to help policymakers, students, and educators make decisions. In particular, Jenna discussed how information about program outcomes helped one college in California ensure that they were offering high-quality programs. LaunchBoard is an online tool that shows information on student progress through career and technical education courses and into the labor market. Using Launchboard, educators at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz California learned that only twenty-two percent of students who completed the school’s medical assistant program were finding jobs in the healthcare field. They spoke with local employers to find out why. When employers told them that the job requirements for medical assistants had changed substantially since the program’s inception, and now included strong math and language skills in addition to clinical expertise, faculty were able to restructure the program. It became so successful that employers have now asked for it to be replicated elsewhere.

In her written testimony, Jenna also provided several recommendations to make B22-0401 more effective in serving workforce data stakeholders. Suggested changes included:

  • using wage record matching as the primary means of obtaining participant employment outcomes to increase the accuracy of outcomes data and reduce reporting burdens for providers;
  • displaying outcomes information by funding stream, program, and participant demographics in order to ensure that all audiences can easily access the information they need; and
  • utilizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) common metrics in order to create better alignment between education and workforce development programs.

You can watch Jenna’s full testimony here and Jenna’s written testimony here. WDQC anticipates working with the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development to amend this bill. We will keep you updated as the process moves forward.