Information on postsecondary labor market outcomes is becoming increasingly important for students, educators, institution leaders, and policymakers in today’s rapidly changing economy. This paper assesses the current landscape of employment data, proposing technical enhancements to help agencies and institutions more effectively collect and share information. Recommendations on federal and state policies to better inform students and other key stakeholders about labor market outcomes are also provided. The paper is part of a series that also includes research about state data systems, student financial aid information, and privacy and security considerations.
The nation’s students, educators, and policymakers are increasingly calling for better information to demonstrate that postsecondary education provides people from all back- grounds with opportunities to join and remain in the middle class. Labor market outcomes are certainly not the only—or even most important—measure of the value of postsecond- ary education. However, information about postcollege labor market outcomes is critical to help the following:
- Students make wiser choices about their education and careers.
- Postsecondary institutions ensure and demonstrate that their o erings are e ectively preparing students to suc- ceed in the job market.
- Policymakers monitor the results of student aid and education programs.
- Promote socioeconomic equity and battle generational poverty.
1. Institutionalize a process for federal agencies to match student records with employment data and regularly publicize aggregate employment and earnings outcomes by program of study, ideally through legislation.
2.Amend FERPA to include the provisions currently in the federal regulations to allow an “authorized representative” to evaluate education programs, broadly de ned as includ- ing job training. The “authorized representative” clause is critical to allowing education and workforce data linkages at both the state and federal levels.
3. Use WIOA regulations to clarify permissible purposes and parties, including state education agencies and colleges, to access UI wage records. The nal regulations should enable education agencies and institutions to use UI wage records to assess labor market outcomes for a broad range of post- secondary programs.
4. Issue joint Department of Education/Department of Labor guidance to promote data linkages and uses, and clearly explain how state data systems may link education and wage data in compliance with FERPA and UI rules.
5.Congress should support federal funding for states to enhance their data systems, including linkages of education and wage data.
1. Enact state policies that promote transparency on employ- ment outcomes of postsecondary programs and the data systems required to calculate those outcomes.
2. Amend state laws and restrictive legal opinions that unnec- essarily inhibit wage data access.
3. Improve WRIS, WRIS2, and FEDES data sharing agree- ments to include all states and expand the terms of data usage to facilitate more comprehensive evaluation of post- secondary employment outcomes.
4. Create interagency data governance councils and detailed, transparent data sharing agreements and sta training protocols to build trust, ensure con dentiality and security, and develop a culture of data sharing and use.
5. Allocate state funds to maintain and improve employment data linkages and support the use of linked state data.
6. Pilot e orts to enhance UI wage records, including hours worked and occupational codes, to make the data more valuable for assessing labor market success.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Classroom to career: leveraging employment data to measure labor market outcomes