By Amber Laxton, Senior Analyst
Last month, President Obama revealed his FY 2017 budget proposal. While it has little chance of becoming law this year, the proposal exposes weaknesses in existing workforce data and reveals that better data is needed for continued economic growth. It proposes a $500 million investment in the Workforce Data Science and Innovation Fund with the goal of gaining a clearer, more comprehensive understanding of the current landscape of knowledge and skills, educational and training outcomes, and jobs.
Obama’s proposal isn’t clear on what additional data should be collected, but a handful of organizations have outlined what is necessary to advance the workforce. For example, the Workforce Data Quality Campaign has advocated for the consolidation of our traditional education, public benefits, employment, and labor market data and has emphasized the need for workforce program data. We agree—standard, widely-reported data on workforce education programs is the missing link in understanding how we advance workers’ skills. This data should specifically include information on non-traditional students, non-credit and certificate programs, and career and technical training.