New Report on State Progress

by Michelle Massie
October 21, 2014

WDQC released a report today, Mastering the Blueprint: State Progress on Workforce Data, which highlights state efforts to connect and use workforce data.

The inaugural report is based on a nationwide survey conducted by WDQC in which states rated their progress on a 13-point Blueprint for strong data systems. The report finds that of the 40 states plus the District of Columbia who participated in the survey, 37 are moving toward tracking whether education and workforce program participants move on to get employment with good earnings.

The report shows that states are making progress toward creating more effective state data systems—data that will help ensure that education and training programs are preparing people for in-demand jobs with good earnings, that students know which degrees and certificates will lead to high-paying professions, and that states can attract businesses that align with the talents of their workforce.

Several states are standouts for their achievements using data to support education and workforce development. Best practices include:

  • Utah has strong interagency governance of its data system. It reports the one-year and five-year wages of its public college graduates and shows which industries employ graduates with specific majors.

  • Maryland is a model for measuring how many of its citizens have completed education and training. State leaders have set goals for postsecondary education to make the Maryland workforce more competitive.

  • Florida was one of the earliest states that linked data to assess the progress of students from K-12 through college and into careers. The state uses data to attract employers with reports about local workforce skills.

  • North Carolina and Maine both released online tools in the past few months that show the later-in-life earnings of college graduates.

While many states have come a long way on their workforce data systems, some still cannot answer important questions about whether students and workforce program participants are earning valuable credentials and advancing in careers.

This report will serve as a baseline so that future WDQC surveys can measure how states are improving on different dimensions of the Blueprint, and continue to develop where there are areas for improvement.