Workforce Trainers’ Need for Real-Time Labor Market Information

Published apr. 17, 2012

Workforce training programs are making advances in their use of traditional labor market information, particularly at the initial program design phase. Our 20 GreenWays workforce partnerships selected their training occupations based on projections of labor market need in addition to conversations with local employers. We’re proud to work with partners that work hard to design programs that best serve their regional economies. 

Our partners are seeking help incorporating real-time data into their initial program proposals as well as more aspects of their program design and implementation. Real-time data can be particularly helpful in fine tuning curricula to dig deeper than just training for an occupation and instead matching the skill sets that are in the highest demand regionally. The Credentials that Work team at JFF has been instrumental in using these market products to evaluate new curriculum modules in Boston and DC. When occupations haven’t grown as anticipated, real-time data has helped local job developers place program graduates in jobs with different job titles but that use the same skills taught in their training program. For example, a focus on skill sets has helped our partners in Chicago and Philadelphia look beyond entry-level weatherization jobs and into openings in green building maintenance. These are also great tools for job developers. They have the power to connect the aggregated information about valuable skill sets to individual job postings that are strong matches for program graduates.

While these tools have huge value, it is difficult for many training programs to navigate the current market of products. Training programs don’t have the capacity to test all of the products and don’t know where to start. At our recent GreenWays to Good Jobs conference in Milwaukee, our local partners were excited to get the CTW team’s assistance on a number of questions about the products including:

  • How can you navigate these tools for specific industries, such as construction, that don’t always hire workers through traditional job postings?
  • Can funding collaboratives and workforce partnerships use these tools to assess the skills participants already have and what else they need to learn?
  • How much do these licenses cost, and how do you select one that works for you that’s not cost prohibitive?

I’m excited to share Credentials That Work's Vendor Product Review: A Consumer’s Guide to Real-Time Labor Market Information with our workforce partners. It’s a great introduction to real-time products for training programs around the country. It answers a lot of the questions that our partners have posed and helps training programs think about new options for understanding the regional labor market.