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An organization that works with community colleges and industry to make sure people learn the "middle skills" they need to get good jobs will be working with four states to implement new data tools to inform decision-making for workforce policymakers. The National Skills Coalition is providing technical assistance and $180,000 for technology implementations to California, Mississippi, Ohio and Rhode Island under the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP).
SWEAP, which was started in spring 2014, brings data from multiple sources together in dashboards to help state leaders understand the effectiveness of various work programs, how well programs work together, and whether workers are being trained with the right skills.
"SWEAP will create better cross-program information that allows states to see how these programs can work together, and how individuals can advance through them over time in the pursuit of postsecondary credentials and higher-paying employment," said coalition CEO, Andy Van Kleunen, in a prepared statement.
The coalition's expectation is that as state officials have better access to data, those states will be able to offer career pathways with sequences of courses and support services that lead to industry-recognized credentials and better alignment of social services, adult education, job training, career and technical education and higher education policies.
SWEAP is being made available at the same time that states are responding to updates in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which become effective, for the most part, on July 1, 2015. This set of regulations, which governs federal workforce development and adult education policies, is seeking better alignment across policies in workforce development, adult basic education and career and technical education. SWEAP is intended to help states better address those changes in the law.