Minnesota WDQI’s Recent Accomplishments

March 14, 2016

I am proud to announce a series of accomplishments the Minnesota Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) team and its partners have made over the last four months. These accomplishments are:

  • Enhancements to our Graduate Employment Outcomes (GEO) tool: We have added data about 141 higher education institutions in the state to our Graduate Employment Outcomes (GEO) tool, which enables students to determine employment and wage outcomes for various programs of study. This allows users to make comparisons across specific schools, awards, and majors. Thanks to this upgrade, the GEO tool has become the primary feedback reporting mechanism for higher education institutions to access key information on training program performance, including: (1) hourly wages 1, 2, and 4 years after graduation; (2) industries of employment for graduates by school, degree, and major; (3) region of employment for graduates by school, degree, and major; (4) the share of graduates employed full time and year-round 2, 3, and 4 years after graduation; and (5) the share of graduates who re-enrolled in a post-secondary program after graduation. This week, we launched a series of web-based training sessions for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) staff to help them use the GEO tool for educational program planning and program improvement purposes.
  • WIOA ETPL Reporting and Forthcoming Tool: Minnesota is able to use its WDQI database to meet the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s (WIOA) reporting requirements for the Eligible Training Provider List. The database allows Minnesota to track employment outcomes for training participants, including participants who are not enrolled in WIOA programs. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Labor Market Information Office, in collaboration with the Workforce Development Division, and Information Technology division, are working on a project to display program outcomes for each employment provider through DEED’s Career Profile tool. Users will be able to search for ETPL-listed educational opportunities and find matching occupational opportunities, or search for occupational opportunities and find matching ETPL-listed educational opportunities. We expect the project to conclude the summer of 2016.
  • Data Linkage with Driver License Records: In December 2015, DEED finalized a data sharing agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services allowing DEED to acquire Driver License records, including driver’s date of birth, gender, and zip code. DEED has already successfully linked driver’s records to employment records, and plan to share this data with our partners at the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS), so that they may ultimately assess the employment outcomes of high school graduates who do not enroll in post-secondary institutions.
  • Dashboards for Policy Makers: Outcomes data from the GEO tool have been added to the Minnesota Dashboardfor use by policy makers to track progress in key areas. In addition to displaying the same aggregate outcomes available on the GEO tool, the dashboard displays graduate employment outcomes broken down by race and ethnicity. This new indicator is of particular interest to policy makers, as Minnesota is committed to close the well-documented racial gaps in income, education, and employment.
  • New Research: Minnesota has used data from our WDQI database to publish a number of new research studies, available here. Recent reports include: "Racial Disparities in Wage and Employment After Graduation," and "Making Sense of Labor Market Returns to Higher Education for Older Graduates."

Minnesota is proud that we are able to use our data to inform relevant stakeholders and promote evidence-based policy changes. 

Alessia Leibert is a Research Project Manager at Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and a WDQC advisor.