Big Brother is Watching

Member Group : From the Kitchen Table

Have you heard of the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI)?

It is a program of the United States Department of Labor.

According to the web site, its mission is to "support the development of, or enhancements to, longitudinal administrative databases that will integrate workforce data and create linkages to education data."

The long-term WDQI and SLDS goal for States is to use their longitudinal data systems to follow individuals through school and into and through their work life.

The web site explains the program as follows:

The WDQI is being implemented to support a collaborative partnership at the Federal level between the Departments of Labor and of Education. WQDI grant recipients are expected to demonstrate similarly established partnerships between state educational and workforce agencies.

What are the main objectives of the WDQI?

Develop or improve state workforce longitudinal data systems to include data from Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records, UI benefit claims, training and employment services (such as Workforce Investment Act; Wagner-Peyser; Trade Adjustment Assistance; Veterans; Adult Education and Literacy, and Disability programs) and other data sources like the Federal Employment Data Exchange System.

Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to ultimately create longitudinal data systems…

with individual-level information beginning with pre-kindergarten through post-secondary schooling all the way through entry and sustained participation in the workforce and employment services system.(emphasis added)

Improve the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems.

Use longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations and analyze the performance of education and employment and training programs.

Provide user-friendly information to consumers to help them select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.

What outcome or outputs are expected of the grantees?

Each WDQI grantee is expected to fully develop (or expand in the case where states have a database underway) their workforce longitudinal database in addition to using that database to conduct analysis of state workforce and education systems. Additionally, WQDI grantees are expected to use this data analysis to create materials on state workforce performance to share with workforce system stakeholders and the public.

As of October 14, 2014, there have been 4 rounds of funding to various states.

In Round One, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio received WQDI funds.

In Round Two, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Hawaii, Idaho and Washington were funded.

In Round Three, Virginia, North Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas, Ohio and Oregon received grants. Some of these states were being funded for the second time.

And in Round Four, Connecticut, New Jersey, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana and Nebraska were given grants. Again, some states received a second level of funding.

The web site can be found here:

Many parents have been assured that there is no federal database, and that information on their individual student is not being collected. It would appear that the U.S. Department of Labor did not get that memo.