This report outlines education and training program alternatives explored in three states--Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio--focused on providing individuals with information to help them decide among program alternatives to enhance or augment their skills. These states have created websites (termed scorecards) that allow users to browse education and training opportunities and view the labor market outcomes of recent program completers.

American workers interested in enhancing or augmenting their skills often enroll in education and training programs that they expect to help them progress along a career path or find and keep good jobs. This resource describes the systems with information to help individuals choose among training and education program alternatives. Some states have created websites (termed scorecards) that allow users to browse education and training opportunities and view the labor market outcomes of recent program completers. Given the challenges states face in producing such systems, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was interested in considering potential alternative approaches, such as having DOL help facilitate the process of creating these systems.

This study focused on two questions:

  1. Is it feasible to use national databases of employment and earnings data for state education and training program scorecards?
  2. How different are employment- and earnings-related outcome measures for education and training programs when based on single-state unemployment insurance (UI) wage records versus data from a national database of earnings?

To answer these questions, the report explores the experiences of three states—Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio— each of which provided administrative data on training completers along with UI wage record data.

This report analyzes data between 2014-2016.


Major Findings & Recommendations

Key results highlighted in the report fall into two groups as follows:

1. Lessons Learned Regarding the Use of National Databases for Scorecards:

  • State agencies are reluctant to share individual-level postsecondary educational records for research.
  • It is easier to obtain state participant data from states where existing infrastructure can support making administrative data available to the public for research.
  • Making the legal arrangements necessary to obtain administrative data on employment and earnings maintained by federal agencies is sufficiently time-consuming that it effectively precludes using the data for time-sensitive purposes.
  • The alternatives are limited in terms of existing databases with national coverage that could be used to support a national approach to scorecards. Under current data sharing rules, neither SSA data nor the NDNH is a viable option for scorecard purposes.

2. Lessons Learned Regarding the Use of State versus National Data to Calculate Outcomes:

  • In states like Missouri and Ohio, scorecard measures based on single-state UI data are not meaningfully different than if they were based on national data.
  • In states like New Jersey, scorecard measures based on single-state UI data are underestimated due to missing data on trainees who work in other states.
  • Among trainees with out-of-state earnings, the out-of-state earnings are most likely to come from nearby states within the same region
  • Differences in outcome measures based on state versus national data are more common for more highly educated trainees and trainees in particular industries.