The State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP) held launch meetings in Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento, California over the past month. SWEAP, an initiative of the National Skills Coalition (NSC), supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and USA Funds, is demonstrating how state policymakers can use information from cross-program data tools to better align workforce and education programs with one another and with employer skill needs.
In Columbus, Andy Van Kleunen, NSC CEO and Bryan Wilson, NSC State Policy Director and Director of SWEAP, spoke before a group of higher education and workforce leaders hosted by the Ohio Board of Regents. Andy and Bryan talked about the difficulties policymakers face in knowing how well workforce development programs perform as a system and how well low-skill individuals progress through the system and into higher levels of employment. Andy and Bryan explained three types of data tools—dashboards, pathway evaluators, and supply and demand reports – that can answer policymakers’ basic questions about system performance and guide the development of state policies.
Ohio, which already has one of the strongest state dashboards, is focusing on the development of supply and demand reports and pathway evaluators. As part of the launch, Bryan and SWEAP consultant, Richard Froeschle, discussed supply and demand reports with a cross-agency group of leading researchers and data analysts.
In Sacramento, Andy and Bryan spoke before the California Workforce Investment Board’s Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Implementation Work Group. The Work Group is chaired by Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor, Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges. SWEAP will be assisting California policymakers with the implementation of Assembly Bill 2148 (Mullin) that directs the Board to establish a state dashboard, and with Senate Bill 118 (Lieu) that authorizes supply and demand reports. SWEAP will also assist with the build-out of California’s Launchboard as a pathway evaluator tool. Bryan and SWEAP consultant Heath Prince, Director of the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas, also talked with California’s WIOA Data Workgroup about workforce dashboards.
In addition to Ohio and California, SWEAP is providing technical assistance in Mississippi and Rhode Island. The assistance will continues until the end of 2016, and will also include the sharing of lessons learned among the four states, and with others as well.