Project Overview

The workforce development sector plays an increasingly important role in creating pathways for economic opportunity and mobility for workers without four-year college degrees, who make up 60 percent of the US labor force. Yet little is known about the sector in aggregate, as it lacks a national data infrastructure to track providers of short-term workforce training, various program types, and their performance. The sector is also highly fragmented, dispersed across public, private, and nonprofit providers and funding streams.

Led by the Project on Workforce at Harvard University, this project aims to address this significant knowledge gap by combining information from state, federal, and private data sources to build a new and comprehensive public-use dataset on the workforce development sector. The project will produce descriptive analyses and data visualizations of the workforce development sector. The team will also develop a randomly stratified sample from the database to field a new survey of providers to generate evidence on target occupations, funding sources, service delivery models, data collection methods, employer relationships, and the demographics of program participants. Through its research products, the project aims to catalyze scholarship on the workforce development sector, contribute evidence to workforce policy debates, and inform program design and decisionmaking of workforce development service providers.


Skills and training Executive Summary April 03, 2023

Navigating Public Job Training

Right now, more than 75,000 Eligible Training Provider (ETP) job programs are eligible for funding under America’s primary federal workforce development law, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). How well do these public investments prepare workers for high-quality jobs? In this analysis, authors combine training provider and program data from the US Department of Labor with performance records and occupational data to study the types of providers receiving WIOA funding and the kinds of jobs for which they offer training. The report also reviews websites for all 50 states to understand how easily potential job trainees can access information on these programs.

David Deming, Alexis Gable, Rachel Lipson, Arkādijs Zvaigzne

Grantee Research

April 03, 2023