Data for an Inclusive Economic Recovery

By Rachel Vilsack, Jeannine LaPrad, May 25, 2022

A truly inclusive economic recovery means that the workers and businesses who were most impacted by this pandemic, as well as workers who have been held back by structural barriers of discrimination or lack of opportunity, are empowered to equitably participate in and benefit from the economy’s expansion and restructuring. 

But we need data on how different workers and businesses are faring in the recovery, so 

we can hold policymakers accountable to equitable outcomes. Disparities and inequities in skills training programs can only be eliminated if there is high-quality information on program outcomes available to practitioners and policymakers to assess and address equity gaps. 

 Once we have the data – we can use it to drive the change we need! 

 Data for an Inclusive Economic Recovery provides recommendations on how to measure and report on what really matters to help diminish structural inequities and to shape implementation of federal recovery investments as well as new state and federal workforce investments.  

 NSC’s recommendations would allow us to 

  • Monitor outcomes by disaggregating data to close equity gaps and eliminate structural racism in skills policies; 
  • Measure what matters by establishing enhanced outcome metrics across skills investments and measure the impacts of our interventions and hold ourselves accountable;
  • Make visible who is better off by reporting the economic outcomes of skills policies including types of jobs, wages, credentials with labor market value, long term career progression, and
  • Move towards accountability. Better data can leads to better skills policies if we have public data and accountability regarding who is being included in this recovery. 


Recommendations Include: 

  • Requiring that all education and skills training programs include collection of self-reported demographic characteristics of workers and learners so outcomes can be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, English language proficiency, income, and geography ;
  • Ensuring participants of skills training programs know what demographic characteristics are being collected about them, who will have access to personally identifiable information, and how their data will be used; 
  • Establishing common outcomes metrics across federal skills training programs;
  • Expanding outcomes to include those that allow policymakers to assess the quality of skills training programs and measure economic mobility along a career pathway; 
  • Ensuring equitable access to administrative data; 
  • Mandating public reporting on skills training and workforce investment outcomes; and
  • Providing sufficient funding for linked education and workforce data systems.

In the next few months, NSC will continue to promote and discuss these recommendations through conversations with federal, state, and local policymakers, national partners, and coalition members.  We’ll also be exploring with state policy leaders and advocates further development of public data and accountability frameworks, tools, and practices that are aimed at closing racial and other equity gaps in workforce related investments.  And, we’ll continue to create opportunities for our network to shape federal, state, and local data policies that lead to better data and more equitable skills policies and investments.


This report was made possible by generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We thank them for their support and acknowledge that the findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in this report are those of National Skills Coalition alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.