Roundtable: Linking Data Across Workforce, Education and Human Services Systems for Research and Evaluation
(Employment & Training)

Saturday, November 10, 2012: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Pratt A (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Matthew Stagner, University of Chicago
Speakers:  Elizabeth Weigensberg, University of Chicago, Lauren Eyster, Urban Institute, Demetra Smith Nightingale, U.S. Department of Labor and Anne DeCesaro, Committee on Ways and Means
Moderators:  Matthew Stagner, University of Chicago

As the amount of administrative data on workforce, education, and human services programs has increased in recent years, progress has been made towards improving researchers’ ability to use data to effectively inform policy. This roundtable will discuss linking data from multiple systems, across the federal, state, and local levels, to better serve individuals and to better track the outcomes of individuals participating in workforce, education, and human services programs. The roundtable participants, representing a range of research and policy experience, will demonstrate ways in which cross-systems data linking can occur, such as linking state and local data systems for education and workforce programs, developing common data elements and reporting mechanisms across programs, and linking federal administrative data for performance measurement and research. Beth Weigensberg, a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall, will discuss her involvement with CWICstats, a workforce research and data initiative that collects, links, and analyzes individual-level data on Chicago workforce development program participants. This effort integrates data from multiple public agencies and programs to provide policymakers and funders with reliable information on the workforce development system. Specifically, Chapin Hall matches individual-level administrative program data from partner agencies to wage data in order to understand individual residents’ employment outcomes before, during, and after participating in workforce programs. Lauren Eyster, a Research Associate in the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center, conducts research on workforce and welfare programs and has experience accessing and linking state administrative data, especially for education and training programs. She will discuss her work with states to link adult basic education, community college, and workforce administrative data to track participants in newly developed integrated college and career pathways programs, and to draw comparison groups from state administrative data for evaluation purposes. Demetra Smith Nightingale, Chief Evaluation Officer at the U.S. Department of Labor, is currently collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate and conduct evaluations and increase access to and the quality of administrative data for research and evaluation purposes. Recently, Dr. Nightingale has been involved with cross-agency initiatives that expand access to individual-level employment and earnings data, such as the National Directory of New Hires. The intent is to make it easier for government-funded researchers to use the data, and to save taxpayer dollars by reducing the costs involved in collecting data from state agencies or through surveys. Anne DeCesaro, a majority professional staff member for the Ways and Means Committee, will share her involvement with the Standard Data and Technology Advancement (DATA) Act, HR 3339, which establishes consistent requirements for the electronic content and format of data used in the administration of TANF, child care, child support, foster care and adoption, SSI, and unemployment insurance. Similar provisions were included in the 2011 Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-34) and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96). She is currently working on expanding efforts to standardize data requirements in other social service programs.

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