The Workforce Information Council helps guide the development and improvement of the nationwide workforce and labor market information system. This system provides 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 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.
Workforce Information Council Meets October 22-23 in Boise, Idaho
The Workforce Information Council (WIC) federal and state members met in Boise, ID on October 22-23, 2014. WIC Co-Chairs Rebecca Rust/FL and Michael Horrigan/BLS led the WIC agenda for the two day meeting.
The WIC has had a couple of changes in the membership since their meeting in July at St. Paul, MN. Michael Horrigan of the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the new federal WIC Co-Chair. On the state front, we say goodbye to Todd Younkin of Montana who has taken a new job within the agency. We also will lose our state WIC Co-Chair, Rebecca who will retire from the Florida agency and begin in December a new career with the federal government in BLS. She has been the state Co-Chair for the past two years and will be missed. She will stay close to the WIC as she will be a federal member in her new BLS role. One of the original WIC State members, Phil Baker of Nebraska, has been elected to be the new WIC state Co-Chair when Rebecca leaves the state of Florida.
An assortment of topics was on the agenda. A particular item of importance is the new Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which replaces the Workforce Investment Act (the 1999 legislation creating the WIC). A new Workforce Information Advisory Council with broader representation will be discussed as the Secretary of Labor establishes this new group in July 2015.
The council discussed actions by the various policy councils from the BLS State Cooperative programs. Other topics on the agenda for the late October meeting included: Discussing BLS Program Policy Council activities for QCEW, CES, OES, & LAUS; Updating the Workforce Information System Plan; WIC Study Group Reports from the High Tech Taxonomy, and, Administrative Wage Records Enhancement (the Customer Consultation group will discuss a new Skills Framework initiative for WIC project consideration); and, reports from key system partners (BLS, ETA, NAWB, NASWA, C2ER, and Census/LED).
What is the LMI Infrastructure?
Those labor market statistics, numbers, charts, and graphs don't magically appear. Much work goes on behind the scene by state and federal staff to get the information out in a timely fashion with a level of quality. Trained employees work with various support groups to help produce the best data possible given the available resources. The next few groups help provide the necessary framework for producing occupational projections (a separate system is used to produce substate data needed for employment/training programs and other local needs) and having the data in a format for use in web sites.
Analyst Resource Center/ARC - The ARC's purpose is to serve as a key component of the LMI Infrastructure, this entity is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the states to enhance information delivery to workforce customers in the employment, education and economic development sectors. While the ongoing design, development, and maintenance of the Workforce Information Database are of primary concern to the Analyst Resource Center (ARC), the Center provides a range of additional products and services. These resources are designed to enhance information delivery to workforce customers in the employment, education and economic development sectors. ARC?s services also include training of state database administrators, operation of the ARC website, operation of the National Crosswalk Service Center (NCSC), and implementation of the Employer Database Master Agreement (currently through the State of Iowa).
Estimates Delivery System/EDS - EDS helps to address the employment/training program's need for local occupational information by providing the capability of generating customized local area employment and wage estimates for geographies not available in the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. These local estimates are of value in their own right, but also as necessary inputs into the production of local employment projections. The past year a charter has been established and the ARC has initiated the effort to better document the EDS program software and look into an updated software platform, along with training. The group has made good progress and with the help of the states, ETA, and BLS are on the road to sustainability.
Projections Managing Partnership/PMP - The PMP operates an integrated, nationwide program of state and local projections. This program is driven by our customers' need to make informed decisions based on the most reliable and relevant occupational and industry outlook information. The Partnership's goals include: Operating an integrated long and short-term projections program; Gaining further understanding of customer needs; Responding to customer needs in a demand driven system; Refining operating processes to improve product quality and time to market; Deploying integrated staff training; and, Improving projections analysis and presentation. The PMP operates under a Board of Directors coordinated by the LMI Institute and supported financially by DOL ETA.
Here is the link to a schematic showing the various systems and entities that assist in producing these LMI data by clicking Here.
Minnesota's STEM Workforce
The September 2014 issue of Minnesota Economic Trends contains an excellent article titled Minnesota's Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) Workforce. The article summarizes that STEM jobs are growing faster than jobs overall in Minnesota and offer salaries that are much higher than the average for all industries in the state.
The high technology sector is being targeted by economic developers and local leaders for growth and workforce planning. But with no official industrial definition in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), developing a standardized, research-based definition for high-tech is important for analysts and decision makers across the country.
The most influential research and analysis on developing a high technology industrial taxonomy was published in the July 2005 Monthly Labor Review by Daniel Hecker of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, titled ?High-Technology Employment: a NAICS-Based Update.?
A WIC High Tech Taxonomy Study Group developed the new national high technology industry taxonomy to help identify industries and occupations linked to high technology.
National Association of Workforce Boards Forum
The theme of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) 2015 Forum is ?Dialogue for Workforce Excellence.? The Forum will be held March 28-31 at the Washington Hilton in Northwest Washington, DC. Featured speakers include: a keynote by Arianna Huffington, Chair, President, & Editor-In-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group on Sunday; a Monday morning keynote from Governor Mary Fallin, State of Oklahoma; and, a luncheon address Monday afternoon by Elizabeth H. Shuler, Secretary/Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the AFL-CIO.
A new feature of the NAWB organization is a web subsection titled Workforce Investment Works, see www.workforceinvestmentworks.com. The site includes information on: Why Workforce Investment; Find Workforce Experts; Policy Makers; Workforce Partners Support WIOA; and Labor Market Data & Trends.
The Workforce Information Council maintains a directory of all State Directors for Labor Market Information. In addition, WIC provides updates to state comparative data for use by workforce development organizations.
Find your state LMI representative and access products and services specific to your state.
View WIA Performance Dashboards for Regional, State and Workforce Board level analysis based on most recent national quarterly WIA data.
Download the paper titled Non Farm Payroll Employment Developments among States during the Great Recession and Jobless Recovery.
View data that accompanies the Paul Harrington report.
Highlighted sessions of the NAWB Forum include: preconference sessions, workshops, exhibits, issue spotlight, quickshops, what's next sessions, networking, awards, Workforce Central Radio, and the Partners? Exchange. For registration and more details, go to their web site, www.nawb.org/forum/.
WIC Study Group Activities
The WIC's Study Groups have been real active over the past year. Below is a summary of their work - purpose, accomplishments, and next steps.
Customer Consultation Study Group -
Purpose: assist the WIC and state LMI departments in developing and implementing methods for retrieving feedback from customers regarding the relevance, adequacy, and usability of available labor market information and the methods of delivering that information.
Accomplishments: This past fiscal year the group analyzed the results of various customer focus groups and discussed various customer feedback with the LMI directors at the Dallas May 2014 Town Hall meeting.
Next Steps: The next year it is proposed to concentrate on the development of a new skills framework to aid in the skills mismatch discussion and help state LMI department better determine employer skill needs.
High Tech Taxonomy Study Group -
High-tech industries span most NAICS sectors requiring subjective and anecdotal aggregation for comparative research at the industry cluster level. This study group will replicate the BLS 2006 Hecker approach using occupational high technology definitions developed by the National Science Foundation; the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) definition; and other relevant taxonomies to study concentration levels in the economy's industries.
Purpose: A formal high-tech taxonomy establishes a standard definition of the industry cluster based on a robust research protocol using existing labor market information. The taxonomy creates a common supported standard that allows for interstate and other geographic comparison of the high-tech industry.
Accomplishments: In spring 2014 the publication ?Exploring the High-Tech Industry? was published and discussed at the BLS National LMI Conference in May 2014 (see earlier link to the pdf file). The report included a STEM-driven high-tech Industry taxonomy, national/state comparisons of the high-tech industrial and occupational cluster, a Pacific Northwest comparison and a how-to guide for creating a state-specific high-tech industry taxonomy.
Next Steps: This winter, STEM concentration levels will be updated based on the latest industry/occupational matrix and presented to the WIC. This approach will assign tiered levels of high-tech to various four-digit industries and assign an ?extreme? high-tech metric, which is defined as STEM concentrations of at least five times the national average. This effort will conclude with a final economic analysis of the high-tech sector in the United States and how individual states and territories compare in employment, wages and associated demographics.
UI Wage Record Enhancement Study Group -
Purpose: Examine the feasibility of improving local and state Labor Market Information by adding data elements to the quarterly wage record reports that employers submit to all states as part of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program.
Accomplishments: During the first year, the WIC's Administrative Wage Record Enhancement Study Group:
Next Steps: During next year, the study group will survey the state-specific employers and conduct at least one employer focus group to study their data collection procedures and any challenges they would face if the reports were modified to add additional data items. The study group will also do an in-depth study of selected states to document some of the best practices used by states in collecting and utilizing the additional information and the steps they followed to enhance the wage records
Big Data - National Science Foundation Looks for Comments
The Federal Register of Wednesday, September 3, 2014 contained an invite for comments on ?Accelerating the Big Data Innovation Ecosystem.? Comments were due by November 1, 2014 and were sent to BIGDATA@nsf.gov.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking input from stakeholders across academia, state & local government, industry, non-profits and others across all parts of the Big Data innovation ecosystem on the formation of new Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs. NSF is exploring the establishment of a national network of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs.
These Hubs would help to continue and scale up the kinds of activities and partnerships established by National Big Data R&D Initiative over the past 3 years as well as stimulate, track, and help sustain new regional and grassroots partnerships around Big Data.
See the Federal Register (Volume #79, Number 170) for more details and a summary of the comments in a future issue.
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.