In order to satisfy Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) reporting requirements, and better understand whether former participants and students of workforce training and education programs are finding jobs and earning good wages, states should participate in the new State Wage Interchange System (SWIS). SWIS is a data sharing tool jointly managed by the Department of Education and the Department of Labor that allows states to exchange employment and earnings data—wage data, for short– with other states. It may be used for WIOA and one-stop partner program mandated reporting, as well as for research and evaluation. We urge all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to sign the SWIS agreement and take full advantage of this new tool.
WIOA requires states to use unemployment insurance quarterly wage records to measure the preformance of WIOA’s six core programs: Title I programs for youth, adults, and dislocated workers; adult education; Wagner-Peyser; and vocational rehabilitation. However, states can have a difficult time getting employment and wage information about people who work in another state because they’ve moved after their program or commute to another state for work. SWIS solves this problem by enabling certain state agencies to exchange wage data with each other. States may use SWIS for measuring and reporting the performance of WIOA core programs, WIOA Eligible Training Providers, and one-stop partner programs to meet the requirements of a federal or state law or regulation. One-stop partner programs include secondary and postsecondary career and technical education, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). SWIS also enables state agencies to use the wage data for research and evaluation of WIOA’s core programs and one-stop partners if every state who shares wage data for the research or evaluation project consents.
SWIS only works if states voluntarily participate. If a state chooses not to participate, other states cannot receive employment information about their former participants or students working in that state. This could create huge gaps in the information available to other states. It could be particularly problematic for states with large percentages of their populations working in another state – for example Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. In order to ensure that SWIS is optimally effective, every state should do their part and sign on. Advocates can play an important role by urging their state to do so. WDQC will soon be releasing a brief providing more information about SWIS and how states can participate.
If you represent a state agency and your state wants to sign onto SWIS, please reach out to WDQC staff, who can share more information about how your state can participate.