President's Budget Supports Data

by Rachel Zinn
March 4, 2014

State data systems would get continued federal support under the Obama Administration’s proposed budget for 2015.

Released today, the President’s budget requests $70 million for statewide data system grants at the Department of Education (DOEd), which is double the level of current funding. The budget proposes to maintain funding at $6 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative grants, administered by the Department of Labor (DOL).

WDQC supports federal funding for state longitudinal data systems that connect information across a range of education, training and social service programs. These systems show how people progress through education and career pathways, and can provide valuable information to students, workers, policymakers, educators and businesses.

DOEd has awarded over $600 million in grants since 2005. While the earlier rounds focused on K-12 data systems, more recent grants encouraged linkages with early childhood, postsecondary and workforce data. The 2015 budget continues this broader vision, and also proposes that the ED grants move from funding mostly system development to emphasizing data coordination and usage.

Since 2010, DOL has awarded $30 million to 31 states to develop longitudinal data systems that include workforce programs such as Unemployment Insurance, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services, Trade Adjustment Assistance and adult basic education. DOL recently issued a solicitation for its fourth round of grants, with applications due March 25.

In addition to supporting state data grants, the 2015 budget proposes a new $80 million incentive grant program for states with WIA programs that achieve good outcomes for people with barriers to employment, such as the long-term unemployed, disconnected youth, individuals with disabilities and veterans. High-quality data would be key to accurately assessing program performance and incentive grant eligibility.

The President’s budget is a recommendation for next year’s funding levels, but Congress has the final say. As Congress works on 2015 appropriations, WDQC will advocate for federal funding to enhance the alignment and use of education and workforce data.