Reimagining Labor Market Information: A National Collaborative For Local Workforce Information

Julia Lane

Profound changes in technology and climate, com­bined with the COVID-19 pandemic shock, have fundamentally changed the nature of work for firms and employees. And, because most labor markets are local, that change requires rethinking how data and evidence can be generated in a timely and actionable way to inform local decisions.

The emergence of new types of local data, new cloud-based platforms allowing state and local agen­cies to securely share de-identified confidential data, and new training programs to build state workforce capacity means that there is new potential for pro­grams that are designed and shaped at the local level. A new workforce information system—a National Collaborative for Local Workforce Information (NCLWI)—can be designed that is driven by local needs and that is timely, actionable, and responsive.

This report describes why and how such a system should be constructed. The approach, inspired by the successful National Agricultural Extension Program, is fundamentally local in nature. It should be federally funded but driven by state and local needs, networks, and decision makers. It should build on the success of multistate data collaboratives in sharing data across agency and state lines and partnering with local uni­versities. The result will be bottom-up, locally gener­ated projects that can be tested, improved, and scaled to become products that can be put into practice across the country.

Wagner Faculty