DOL Announces 7th Round of Data Grants

By Jenna Leventoff, April 12, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) invites State Workforce Agencies to apply for a seventh round of Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants. State agencies can use these grants to create or enhance longitudinal data systems, which match data about individuals from different sources over time, enabling them to produce better information about education and training programs.

The WDQI grant program is a competitive grant program created in 2010, to help states develop or improve their state workforce longitudinal data systems (which contain information about workforce training programs and employment services). By providing information about whether completers are finding employment and earning good wages, these systems enable states to report on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs. They also allow states to conduct research that can guide workforce program improvement and help businesses fill skilled positions. States can use WDQI grants to supplement grants provided through the Department of Education’s Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants program, which also supports the linkage and use of data to promote better education and training outcomes for the nation’s students and workers.

A seventh round of WDQI grants comes despite President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget eliminating funding for the program. Congress’s budget rejected cuts to WDQI grants, in favor of level funding from FY 2018. National Skills Coalition (NSC), through the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW), has called on the administration to ensure level funding for SLDS and WDQI grants in FY 2020, so that states can demonstrate how WIOA strategies, such as sector partnerships and career pathways, are helping employers to meet their skilled workforce needs. Furthermore, the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC), has and will continue to advocate for funding of grants that enable states to provide information about education and workforce programs to stakeholders.

In round seven of the WDQI grants, ETA plans to award a total of $11.5 million dollars to eight states. This funding includes five grants of up to $1 million each for states to use over a three-year period. State Workforce Agencies may use these funds to develop or improve workforce longitudinal data systems, connect workforce data with education data, and provide user-friendly information to help students make informed decisions about their education and training options. In addition, ETA plans to award three grants of up to $2.18 million for states to use over a three-year period. States who receive these grants may use the funds to integrate operational databases, such as a state’s case management, performance reporting and/or fiscal reporting systems, with their longitudinal data bases.

The deadline for applications is April 24, 2019 at 4:00 PM. Round six WDQI grantee states are not eligible to apply.