RI Receives $2.7 Million to Improve Workforce and Education Data Collection
Federal funds will help develop and enhance state workforce databases
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that Rhode Island is receiving $2,700,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) better use data to enhance coordination between state-level workforce and education programs. The funding will help the programs take steps to better complement each other and will promote greater efficiency in the state’s workforce system.
The grant is part of the sixth round of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) to fund the development and enhancement of state workforce longitudinal administrative databases, totaling $11.4 million in federal funds.
For the first time, eligible State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) in Rhode Island and Mississippi are being awarded “super grants” of $2.7 million for the integration of their states’ case management, performance reporting, and/or fiscal reporting systems with their states’ databases.
Nationwide, DOL has also awarded six grants – each approximately $1 million – to eligible SWAs for the development or enhancement of states’ databases. These databases include information on programs that provide training and employment services, and are useful given that the databases track the same type of information on the same subjects at multiple points in time. Awardees include SWAs in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Missouri.
Grantees will be expected to use their longitudinal databases to conduct research and analysis aimed at determining the effectiveness of workforce and education programs and to develop tools to better inform customers about the benefits of the publicly funded workforce system.
WDQI databases will ultimately include information on programs that provide training and employment services, connect with education data, be linked at the individual level, and be capable of generating workforce training provider performance information and outcomes, including outcomes that are relevant to WIOA performance reporting, in a standardized format to help customers select the education and training programs that best suit their needs.
“Too often we hear frustrations about matching job seekers with employers. This federal money aims to fix that and streamline communications and coordination between the state’s workforce and education programs. That’s good news,” said Senator Jack Reed. “I will continue working to support the state’s workforce development mission and ensure they have the latest technology and fullest extent of available data tools.”
“I’m proud of Rhode Island for being one of only two states to win a ‘super grant’ in order to better align our state’s education programs and workforce development,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This federal funding will support improving the programs that equip Rhode Islanders with the skills they need to get good jobs and succeed at work.”
“We rely on workforce training programs to help strengthen our economy and close the skills gap in the state,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. “These federal funds will streamline data collection and improve data quality among the state's workforce and education programs to help improve outcomes and enhance the power of Rhode Island’s workforce.”
“Building an economy that allows all Rhode Islanders to get ahead must be our absolute top priority, and this grant will help to ensure folks are prepared for the good-paying jobs of the 21st Century,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “Our workforce development system must reflect the high-tech demands of our advanced economy, and this funding will enhance our ability to provide Rhode Islanders with the training and education that our employers actually need.”
Objectives the grantees will be expected to achieve include:
• Developing or improving state workforce longitudinal administrative databases;
• Connecting workforce data with education data;
• Improving the quality and breadth of the data in workforce longitudinal administrative databases;
• Using longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations;
• Evaluating the performance of education and employment training programs;
• Providing user-friendly information to consumers to help them select the education and training programs that best suit their needs; and
• Integrating performance, fiscal, and/or case management systems with the longitudinal administrative database.
More information on WDQI grants can be found here.
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