The Department of Labor announced today it will offer approximately $10 million in grants to state labor agencies looking to improve the quality and availability of their workforce data.
According to the department’s press release, the grants are intended to help states achieve the following goals:
- Develop or improve state workforce databases with individual-level information.
- Be able to match workforce data and education data.
- Improve the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems.
- Use data to provide useful information about program operations.
- Analyze education and employment training program performance.
- Provide user-friendly information to consumers via scorecards or integrated digital platforms to help them select the right programs for their needs.
The grant program is part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was passed last year to encourage workforce and education program alignment. It is a sister initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program, which aids in creating data systems that track the same type of information on the same subjects at multiple points in time.
"Good data helps us meet the needs of employers, workers and job seekers," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in the release. “It also increases accountability and gives consumers more information about which programs can help them achieve their goals.”
Anything that promotes better measurement is a step in the right direction, but the Department of Labor will only see true results if the data leads to development. As long as the numbers are used, not just collected, grants like these will be worth the $10 million.