States Receive Data Grants

by Rachel Zinn
June 16, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded $6 million in grants to support state longitudinal data systems in the fourth round of its Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI). The grants were awarded to six states: Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska and New Jersey.

The grantees plan to use funds to expand their state longitudinal data systems to include linkages to more programs, such as adult education, vocational rehabilitation and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Funding also will support the use of data systems to create program “scorecards” and conduct research that identifies effective workforce development strategies. Proposed projects include:

Connecticut - Examine the costs and benefits of adding “hours worked” and “occupation” fields to the state’s Unemployment Insurance wage records, which could enable better assessment of workforce program results.

Kentucky - Analyze the alignment between education and training programs and labor market demand.

Mississippi - Research pathways to middle-skill jobs and develop tools to help workers pursue those pathways.

WDQI grants began in 2010. To date, about $36 million has been awarded to 33 states. Nebraska and New Jersey received WDQI grants two years ago, but this is the first award for the other fourth round states.

The WDQI grants supplement the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) grants from the U.S. Department of Education, which has awarded more than $600 million to states since 2005.