In 2018, the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) will begin receiving individual-level data from the members of the Virginia Goodwill Network (VGN). VGN is a consortium of six regional Goodwill organizations, non-profit community-based organizations (CBO), providing collaborative workforce development programs and services to tens of thousands of Virginians each year, especially those with barriers to employment. The collaboration will enable VGN to better serve individuals and the state to better understand the full scope of workforce training activities within its borders.
A number of states, such as Washington and New Jersey, collect student-level information from CBOs and private institutions through state regulation, or the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) process. ETPL include all of the programs that are eligible to offer training to individuals receiving Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) aid. Virginia is one of the first states to collect this data outside of the ETPL process. If expanded to include other CBOs, this process could fill one of the most common gaps within state longitudinal data systems.
In order to share its data with VLDS, VGN will function like participating state agencies. As a federated data system, all data in VLDS is maintained within participating agencies and linked together pursuant to specific requests. In order to submit data to VLDS, Goodwill is planning to create its own database (at a total cost of approximately $20,000), containing individual-level information about program participants. VGN will occupy a seat on VLDS’s governing board, so that they can approve or deny requests to use their data.
Under the current agreement between Goodwill and VLDS, Goodwill will receive deidentified individual level information about participants’ outcomes, including whether they find employment within the state. Goodwill plans to partner with the University of Richmond to better analyze this data and utilize it for program improvement.
VLDS also will benefit from Goodwill’s data. The state plans to use the data to conduct comprehensive research about Virginia’s workforce education and training programs, and to better meet state and federal reporting requirements.
WDQC would like to congratulate VLDS and Goodwill on their innovative agreement. We hope that other states are soon able to do the same, so that all states can paint more complete pictures of their education and workforce systems.