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2016 Mastering the Blueprint: State Progress on Workforce Data

This report details the progress of all 50 states and the District of Columbia towards achieving the Workforce Data Quality Campaign’s (WDQC) 13-point State Blueprint for state data systems.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
Workforce Data Quality Campaign
Published: 
2016
Resource Type: 
Research
Number of Pages: 
36
Abstract: 

This report details the progress of all 50 states and the District of Columbia toward meeting the Workforce Data Quality Campaign’s (WDQC) 13-point State Blueprint of an inclusive, aligned, and market-relevant state data system. These data systems can provide useful information to policymakers, students, workers, business leaders, and educators, and enable U.S. industries to compete in a changing economy by aligning education with employer needs.

The Blueprint consists of 13 key features of an inclusive, aligned, and market-relevant state data system:

Including All Students and Pathways

  • Inclusive Cross-Agency Council
  • Count More Students
  • Metrics for Career Pathways

Counting Industry-Recognized Credentials

  • Capture Diverse Credentials
  • Industry Validation

Assessing Employment Outcomes

  • Know if Graduates Get Jobs
  • Cross-State Sharing of Employment Data

Expanding Use of Labor Market Information

  • LMI Capacity and Use
  • Industry Skills Gaps

Ensuring Data Access and Appropriate Use

  • Scorecards for Students and Workers
  • Feedback Reports to Programs and Institutions
  • Dashboards for Policymakers
  • State Funding

Case studies from states that have successfully met one of the Blueprint features are provided and the "Key Discoveries and Summary Tables" section provides a national perspective on progress made toward implementing the 13 features.

What the Experts Say: 

2016 Mastering the Blueprint: State Progress on Workforce Data is intended for states to learn from one another about common challenges, lessons learned, and promising practices in building, expanding, and utilizing data systems. The survey illustrates the full breadth of state progress toward comprehensive data systems that link early childhood, K-12, postsecondary, and workforce data to allow stakeholders to assess education and workforce policies. Adult educators can use the data in developing or reassessing their goals. Those not interested in the Blueprint data will still find it to be an interesting statewide comparison. 

This is a valuable resource for continuous program improvement. The 13-point Blueprint identifies key features of an inclusive, aligned, and market-relevant state data system, which is a crucial element for successfully reaching the goals of adult education programming, i.e., preparing students for the worlds of higher education and ultimately work. While the resource was developed with the state level in mind, local programs can use the Blueprint for ensuring the quality and focus of their data collection and analysis system. It is organized around five main areas of the labor market (students/pathways; credentials; assessing outcomes; use of market information; data access/use) with each area broken into the steps needed to reach the Blueprint features. The Blueprint is ready-made for use at the program level.

The resource provides several case studies from states that have successfully met one of the Blueprint features. These examples describe both models and tools that states have used to achieve their goals. The final section presents the latest survey results (2016) from each state, which is a great way to gauge how a state is progressing in meeting the features of the Blueprint. Programs can look at their state’s progress to determine where they might need to focus attention in terms of their own progress on the Blueprint.

It should be noted that the states self-assessed using an online tool and the researchers did minimal follow-up on reported results and mostly relied on the self-survey data.

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