Workforce Information You Can Use!

The Workforce Information Council helped guide the development and improvement of the nationwide workforce and labor market information system. This system provided information on labor market trends and conditions, job outlook and wages, skill requirements of jobs, and a wide variety of other information that helps customers make decisions about their businesses, careers, training, and job search.

At this web site you can find information about the Council and its activities, about the intranet software workforce information system and about how to access workforce and labor market information for your local area, state, or the nation.

Information about the workforce, labor market, and careers in your local area, state, and the nation can be located by going to the workforce information portal.


>>>Update from the Workforce Information Council (WIC) June 2015

Workforce Information Council Ends a Long LMI Journey
Workforce Information Council Holds Final Meeting on May 22 in Indianapolis, IN
WIC State Reps Conduct LMI Town Hall Meeting on May 19
BLS National LMI Conference
Urban Institute New State Economic Monitor
LMI Institute Webinar on Competency Models Scheduled for July 14
Workforce Data Quality Campaign Fact Sheet
Workforce Information Portal

Workforce Information Council Ends a Long LMI Journey

June 30, 2015 marked the end of the Workforce Information Council (WIC). The WIC has played an important role in federal/state LMI activities from the first meeting in February 10-12, 1999 to the last meeting held May 22, 2015.

After many meetings and conference calls special projects and study groups, the WIC performed well and contributed to the efficiency of the national, state, and local labor market information (LMI) system.

Below is a snapshot of several accomplishments over the past 15+ years:

Policy Councils for the 4 BLS programs (QCEW, CES, OES, & LAUS), LMI Matters (Volumes 1-4 compendium of how state LMI projects helped with various policy/program operational and economic issues), and LMI System Technology Forum.

Another area of WIC endeavors included a number of recent Study Groups over the years -- Administrative Wage Record Enhancement, Customer Consultation, Green Jobs, High Technology Taxonomy, and Skills Initiative. Innovative approaches were taken to help understand these areas and assist BLS, ETA, and the states understand these aspects of the labor market.

In earlier years of the WIC (from 1999 to 2006) several Work Groups were created to better understand LMI -- Benefits Survey Users Group, Customer Satisfaction, Funding Allocation, Funding Agreements, Job Vacancy Statistics, Joint Council-NASWA Local Data Needs, Joint Council-NASWA Marketing, Plant Closings/Mass Layoff Statistics, State Employment Dynamics Partnership, and Wage Records Committee.

The theme of "Quality Information...Informed Choices" was adopted for the WIC and a compass logo used to denote the directions and movements that LMI for individuals, organizations, and governments can help identify pathways to follow.

Finally, the WIC provided a venue for valuable LMI Collaboration & Coordination, a forum for new LMI Directors' orientation, Emphasis on key LM I Infrastructure (Analyst Resource Center/ARC, National Crosswalk Center, Estimates Delivery System/EDS now LEWIS, and Projections Managing Partnership/PMP).

Over the years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics/BLS provided key support to assist the WIC in many areas - federal state co-chairs included Lois Orr, Jack Galvin, Tom Nardone, and Mike Horrigan. Part of the WIC functions will continue under the newly chartered BLS LMI Oversight Council/BLOC later this year so look for more details from BLS on their activities.

In early years, the Employment and Training Administration/ETA was lead by Jim Vollman/staff and in recent years Kimberly Vitelli and her staff have been participants in many LMI discussions related to the Workforce Information Grants and the LMI infrastructure needed to keep LMI products operational to meet customer demand. Some of the WIC's work may be incorporated into the operation of the new Workforce Information Advisory Council/WIAC created by WIA's replacement legislation WIOA (DOL is expected to release a Federal Register announcement with more WIAC details in the next month or two).

The WIC also played a role of working with some fine LMI partners over the years, including Analyst Resource Center/ARC, Census Local Employment Dynamics/LED,LMI Institute/& their parent organization C2ER, National Association of State Workforce Agencies/NASWA, National Association of Workforce Boards/NAWB, the Projections Managing Partnership/PMP, and the Workforce Data Quality Campaign/WDQC. Each of these organizations has been helpful over the years any time I had a question or needed assistance.

State co-chairs have been many over the years providing excellent leadership/advocacy and since 2006, the following state LMI directors have been active in overcoming many obstacles in the LMI arena and helping make LMI the best under some big roadblocks along the way (budgets, program reconstructs, etc.) - Roger Therrien/CT, Graham Slater/OR, Steve Saxton/CA, Greg Weeks/WA, Rebecca Rust/FL, and Phil Baker/NE.

Dixie Sommers (formerly with BLS and the Ohio LMI director) served as the first WIC Executive Director from late 1999 to October 2006, when Gary Crossley (workforce consultant from Charleston, SC) replaced Dixie. Several states provided invaluable administrative aspects for the WIC support contract from BLS to the states of Alaska, North Carolina, and Connecticut.

Workforce Information Council Holds Final Meeting on May 22 in Indianapolis, IN

The Workforce Information Council (WIC) federal and state members met in Indianapolis, IN on May 22, 2015, just after the 2015 National BLS LMI Conference. WIC Co-Chairs Michael Horrigan/BLS and Phil Baker/NE conducted the WIC half day meeting that Friday. This was the last meeting of the WIC as it sunsets with the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

An assortment of topics was on the agenda. A particular item of importance discussed was the new Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which replaces the Workforce Investment Act (WIA, the 1999 legislation creating the WIC). Discussion on the new Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC), a new group with broader representation, was held as the Secretary of Labor establishes this new group later this year and will seek nominations via a Federal Register notice (expected to meet in early 2016).

>>PLEASE NOTE: Any information on the former WIC and this web site which will be deactivated at the end of August 2015 can be obtained by contacting Tom Shaffer of BLS at 202/691-6163.

WIC State Reps Conduct LMI Town Hall Meeting on May 19

The WIC State Representatives held a State-only Town Hall style meeting on May 19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. A major goal of the session was for capacity building and networking among the state LMI directors discussing current LMI issues. States shared their views on various topics throughout the agenda.

Morning sessions centered on the WIOA's impact on the LMI infrastructure, WIC transition to the new WIAC and the new BLS Oversight Council, LMI strategies for WIOA state/local board implementation, and WIOA concerns/possible solutions.

The afternoon agenda focused on real time LMI and a leadership discussion (including sections on federal legislation, budgeting strategies, and LMI analyst capacity building/training).

BLS National LMI Conference

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) held a National Labor Market Information (LMI) Directors' conference on May 20-21 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This meeting gave participants an opportunity to learn about BLS program plans and to participate in discussions on topics of mutual interest. BLS Commissioner Groshen provided an update on BLS activities, priorities, and projects. The keynote presentation on May 20 was Mark Schweitzer, Senior Vice President of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

During the two day meeting on May 20-21, each of the four BLS programs (QCEW, CES, OES, and LAUS) were highlighted and discussed by the respective federal and state policy council co-chairs.

On Thursday, the morning started with state topics led by WIC State Co-Chair Phil Baker, discussing the Workforce Data Quality Initiative followed by reports from the WIC's three Study Groups: High-Technology Taxonomy; Skills Initiative; and Administrative Wage Record Enhancement.

The conference also included presentations on BLS research projects either underway or planned for the near future - autocoding, JOLTS, QUEST project, and replacement rates. These couple of days provided both federal and state labor market specialists/leaders an opportunity to have a dialogue about key federal, state, and local labor market dynamics.

Urban Institute New State Economic Monitor

The Urban Institute has developed a new State Economic Monitor tool. The State & Local Finance Initiative's State Economic Monitor tracks and analyzes economic and fiscal trends at the state level. Its interactive graphics highlight particular differences across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in employment, wages, housing, and taxes.

Each section is updated when new data are released. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics updates the "Employment" and "Wages" data monthly. The Federal Housing Finance Agency updates the "Housing" data quarterly, and the US Census Bureau updates the "Taxes" data quarterly.

Last Updated June 2015, go to their web site at http://datatools.urban.org/features/state-economic-monitor/.

LMI Institute Webinar on Competency Models Scheduled for July 14

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) provides data tools that allow a variety of customers, including educators, job seekers, businesses, and workforce and economic developers, to make strategic decisions and investments. As a compliment to its O*NET occupational information, ETA supports the development of Industry Competency Models that allow customers to access skills and competency information by occupation or industry. These models provide valuable information for sector strategy initiatives.

This webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, will introduce 25 competency models available on the Competency Model Clearinghouse website, as well as worksheets and interactive tools available to customize these models to address state and local skill needs through engagement among partners from the workforce system, business, and education.

The Presenters will be: Pamela Frugoli, O*NET/Competency Assessment Team Lead, Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor; and, Lauren Fairley, MPA, GCDF, Workforce Analyst, Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor. For more details and to register, go to http://www.c2er.org/events/webinarreg.asp?id=178.

Workforce Data Quality Campaign Fact Sheet

The Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) has released a fact sheet on Measuring Training-Related Employment. To access the full fact sheet, see: http://www.workforcedqc.org/sites/default/files/files/WDQC-TRemploymentFAQ_web.pdf.

Many education and training programs are designed to prepare people for specific careers. Sometimes the path is clear: a certificate or degree in welding technology leads to a few specialized occupations in that field. Other programs - like an associate's degree in business administration - have relevancy to many different occupations and career clusters.

Federal and state leaders often want to know whether publically-funded training is helping people find employment in careers related to their field of study or training.

How do we track whether people get jobs? There are two ways to figure out if program participants find employment: post-program surveys and data matching.

Can surveys measure training-related employment? Past experience shows that post-program surveys which adhere to statistical standards can be very helpful, but they require significant resources and planning. The U.S. Department of Labor currently asks for training-related employment data on job training programs funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). In many states, case managers contact former participants to get this information and it can be challenging to reestablish contact and get a proper sample of responses. In 2011, states could only report on training-related employment for half of adults and two-thirds of dislocated workers, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

What about data matching? Data matching puts together information already collected by federal and state agencies. Many education and training programs use wage records - collected quarterly by states from employers as part of Unemployment Insurance administration - to get information about employment and earnings. Tax records may also be used. Unique information on individuals, such as a social security number, is highly confidential, but extremely valuable in producing accurate and consistent data. For instance, data matching can show information about groups of students, such as the average earnings for last year's local community college graduates.

However, states usually have data about industry, but not occupation, so it's not ideal for measuring training-related employment. What's the difference between industry and occupation? Wage records generally use North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, which is the federal government's method of categorizing various industries. One level deeper, Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes are used to describe specific jobs under each of the broader NAICS categories. For example, the Residential Building Construction industry includes many occupations: carpenters, electricians, cost estimators, construction managers, office clerks, etc.

For more details on the WDQC, go to http://www.workforcedqc.org/.

Workforce Information Portal

The Workforce Information Portal is an on-line resource, providing customers with a one-stop access point to workforce information sources on the web. The portal provides quick access to state on-line workforce information and career information sites, as well as national resources. This one-stop access point is especially important to customers who want information from more than one state, or are not sure where to go to get information for their state or locality.

The portal gives the customer different avenues to web resources: by type of customer (individuals, businesses, and researchers), by geography, or by agency. The site is at www.workforceinformation.org.