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Rachel Zinn, WDQC Director, served as a panelist during a meeting of the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grantees last week in Washington, DC. She talked about ways to improve access to and alignment of K-12, higher education and workforce data systems, and also introduced WDQC’s policy agenda for reform to meeting participants. Rachel offered examples of how states are implementing elements of WDQC’s policy agenda, with a focus on using data to influence policy and program management.
The panel also featured Robert Sheets, Senior Director of Research at Business Innovation Services, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who addressed the need to redirect data reporting requirements to better support sector initiatives and state-level decision making.
WDQI grants, administered by U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), support states in the development of longitudinal databases that will integrate workforce data and create linkages to education data. The state-level workforce data sources include (but are not limited to) wage record data from employers reporting through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) payroll tax system; benefit and demographic data from claims processed through UI; data from the employment and training services authorized under the Workforce Investment Act and the Wagner-Peyser Act employment services; Trade Adjustment Assistance; and demographic data from the Federal Employment Data Exchange System.
DOL has awarded three rounds of WDQI grants to 31 states in various stages of workforce longitudinal database development. The grantee meeting was organized by Social Policy Research Associates, which provides technical assistance for the WDQI program.
WDQC works with several state data experts that also represent WDQI grantee states, and will continue to identify and publicize best practices for how these states are using federal funds to enhance their workforce data capacity.