The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education has announced that applications for 2019 Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants will open on June 26, 2019. SLDS are secure data systems that bring together data from across education and training programs, so that stakeholders can better understand education and training pathways. By providing information about how individuals move through education and training and into the workforce – policymakers, students, program managers and others can make more informed decisions about education and training.
State education agencies can use the fiscal year 2019 (FY 19) SLDS grants to develop or improve data infrastructure; support educational choice (as that term is defined by states); and to produce information that can help make student outcomes more equitable. IES plans to award thirty $3.25 million grants.
The SLDS grant program is the primary method by which states have been able to build their data infrastructure and link data about education and training programs with data about employment outcomes and social services. For this reason, National Skills Coalition (NSC), through the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW), and through the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, have called on the Administration and Congress to ensure at least level funding for these grants.
In years past, SLDS grants have focused primarily on building and improving data infrastructure. Therefore, it is notable that the FY 19 SLDS grants focus on promoting equity. This acknowledges that states have made significant progress in building functional data systems, as well as the importance of equity in education outcomes.
States can supplement these grants with Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants, set to be awarded by the Department of Labor later this year. These grants allow states to invest specifically in workforce data systems, that connect education and workforce data, and provide information that can help students make informed decisions about their education and training options.
The deadline for state education agencies to apply for SLDS grants is September 17, 2019.