2016 Workforce Data Legislation

Jenna Leventoff
July 15, 2016

2016 has been a busy year for workforce data legislation. States have passed bills increasing access to unemployment insurance wage records, creating scorecards for students, and requiring supply/demand analysis. Below are some of the bills that passed in 2016, excerpted from National Skills Coalitions’ 2016 Legislative Round-Up.

Both Indiana and Louisiana passed legislation requiring supply/demand reports, which assess the alignment between education and workforce programs and labor market demand to ensure that individuals are prepared for jobs that require skilled workers.

· Indiana Senate Bill 301 requires Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to produce an occupational supply and demand report. The report will show Indiana’s expected workforce needs over the next decade, as well as the supply of education and training necessary to meet those needs. The occupational demand report will categorize workforce needs and training requirements by occupation, for both the state as a whole and designated regions. DWD will have to submit the report to relevant stakeholders by July 1, 2016. Once released, the report will be used to align secondary and postsecondary career, technical, and vocational education programs with employer needs.

· Louisiana Senate Bill 446 directs the Board of Regents, in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, to conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s need for postsecondary education and evaluate the state's postsecondary offerings (including credit and noncredit academic programs). The bill also requires a report to the Senate and House Committees on Education that includes current and forecasted demand and recommendations about how to close potential skills gaps.

Arizona and Massachusetts have both increased access to data from unemployment insurance wage records to support program evaluation or reporting.

· Arizona House Bill 2666 allows the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office (GEOO) to fulfill requests for unemployment insurance data from specified entities to support evaluation of the state’s workforce and education programs, as well as to develop labor market information. Entities eligible to receive the data include the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the Department of Education, universities, and community colleges. Requesting entities must prove that they can keep the data confidential, must have security safeguards in place, and cannot disclose information that might identify individuals or their employers.

· Massachusetts House Bill 4116 includes language that authorizes the state to share wage records in order to comply with WIOA reporting requirements.

North Carolina has enacted scorecard legislation to increase accountability and help people select career paths, majors, and postsecondary institutions.

· North Carolina Senate Bill 536 requires the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) to build a “Know Before You Go” webpage providing information on the state’s projected employment needs and outcomes for graduates of the state’s public and private postsecondary institutions. Specifically, the website will detail the state’s projected employment needs, the salary ranges of needed employment areas, the associated college majors, and the institutions offering those majors. NCSEAA’s website will contain outcomes information such as average and median loan debt, average and median salary, and the percentage of graduates employed within six months of graduation, broken down by major.

Michigan enacted legislation appropriating funds to improve its data infrastructure.

· Michigan House Bill 5294 appropriates $8,778,500 to the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development to replace the state’s current workforce reporting system with the Michigan Integrated Data System, in order to comply with new federal reporting requirements. The funds will also be used to enhance the state’s existing Workforce Longitudinal Data System, by increasing data sharing between state agencies in order to determine outcomes of state and federal workforce and education programs. The appropriation is a one-time appropriation.