WDQC Report: Making Workforce Data Work.

January 27, 2014

Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) has released its signature report, Making Workforce Data Work: How Improved Education and Workforce Data Systems Could Help the U.S. Compete in the 21st Century Economy.

The report lays out the WDQC’s policy priorities and includes real-world examples of the ways that better data is helping to strengthen education, governance and business.

Case studies illustrate how workforce data can assist in making important decisions. For example:

  • California’s Salary Surfer tool shows average earnings for community college graduates to help students make choices about schools, programs and financial aid.
  • In order to attract new business to the state, Mississippi analyzes the skills of its present and future workers to ensure that regional labor markets can meet employer needs.
  • State legislators in Washington use return on investment estimates for workforce programs when they determine program funding levels.

These examples demonstrate that a variety of data is already available and being used in significant ways, but the report identifies lingering data gaps and explains how WDQC recommendations for state and federal policy could help to fill these holes.

WDQC recommends that the federal government make data expectations clear and consistent across programs, support the further development of state data systems, and promote cross-state data sharing.

For state policy, WDQC offers a State Blueprint with 13 elements of a strong data infrastructure, such as the capacity to analyze skills gaps and the ability to measure attainment of a range of credentials, including certificates, licenses and certifications.

“We hope that this report makes a compelling case for improving education and workforce data, and gives state and federal leaders actionable ideas to move forward,” WDQC Director Rachel Zinn said.