Full 2017 Budget Released

by Rachel Zinn
February 9, 2016

The Obama Administration today released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget, which builds on the more than $500 million announced last week for workforce data upgrades with additional funding increases to improve labor market and education information.

Funding proposals for data improvements include:

$500 million for a new Workforce Data Science and Innovation Fund. New mandatory funding (money not appropriated by Congress that must be paid for by budget cuts or additional revenue) would allow the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to develop open source data analysis tools and standard data exchange formats to facilitate the integration of fiscal, case management, and outcome data. The tools would be aimed to improve information on jobs, skills, and training outcomes at all levels of government. The Fund would also establish a Center of Excellence that employs data scientists, entrepreneurs, and engineers to assist workforce programs in more effectively using technology.

More than double support for state longitudinal data systems. The Budget requests $81 million for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to help build capacity for state longitudinal data systems (SLDS), including $35 million for a new grant competition, and $40 million for Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants overseen by DOL. Most of the increase for WDQI would help states improve data systems to facilitate reporting on workforce program performance, possibly through multistate collaboration to build technology solutions. The increase also includes $1 million to help states exchange wage data to track program outcomes for participants who move across state lines. 

• $15 million increase for new InformED initiative at Institute of Education Sciences. Funding would support "new infrastructure to manage the collection, quality, release, and analysis of data in innovative and effective ways," according to an ED blog post. For details on this initiative, which is mostly funded through the SLDS line item mentioned above, visit the Postsec Data blog.

$7.5 million increase for DOL's Workforce Information / E-Tools. Of this, $2.5 million will support new activities funded in the FY 2016 omnibus spending bill to research state occupational licensing requirements and promote license portability. The other $5 million is for modernization of O*NET data on occupations and skills, and creation of a technology platform that the nation's 2,500 American Job Centers could use to report and display customer satisfaction. 

$32 million increase for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including $3 million for a new survey on employer-provided training, currently a major gap in our knowledge of human capital development.

$10 million in new funding for the Census Bureau to build its capacity to link data from different sources and more effectively share data with researchers while protecting sensitive information.

 $60 million in new funding for state human service data systems. Mandatory funding would provide grants and technical assistance to states for statewide integrated data systems and analytical tools focused on managing longitudinal data from multiple health and human services programs. Funding would also support a Systems Innovation Center to help states improve human services data interoperability to help people enroll in multiple programs.

The Budget also calls for legislative changes that would increase access to the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), which contains nationwide wage records. There are seven access proposals, summarized below in a chart from a Budget chapter on effective government. Notably, one proposal would allow state agencies responsible for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) reporting to match with NDNH data to report on outcomes for programs, including Vocational Rehabilitation and Adult Education.

Also see the National Skills Coalition's Skills Blog for information on workforce education and training programs in the Administration's budget, and additional analysis from the Association of Public Data Users, the Association for Career and Technical Education, Advance CTE, and New America's EdCentral.