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Labor and Economic Opportunity

U.S. Department of Labor grant provides funds to assist residents with training and career path choices

Contact: Stepheni L. Willis
Cell:  517-243-7423

August 1, 2019

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) announced today a $998,028 Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant allows the state to expand upon the current Workforce Longitudinal Data System (WLDS).

“If we want to make Michigan a home for opportunity, we need to make sure that everyone has a pathway to a good-paying job,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “That’s why I set the state’s first goal to increase the number of people with a postsecondary degree to 60 percent by 2030. This grant will allow us to track our progress in achieving this goal as we make Michigan a great place to do business.”

A vast majority of Michigan jobs in 2020 will require some postsecondary education. In 2017, only 45 percent of Michigan workers had a postsecondary certificate or degree. Whitmer established a statewide goal of increasing Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment level from 45 to 60 percent by 2030. The enhancements this grant will make to the WLDS system will allow the state to track progress on that goal.

“We want to ensure that job seekers are provided the best information available to assist them with their career goals,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, acting director of the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan. “More detailed information for job seekers results in better-informed decisions when choosing their career paths.”

The data the WLDS system produces is used by the Talent Investment Agency for Pathfinder, its free online tool that allows the public (e.g. students, parents, school counselors and job seekers) to explore in-demand career fields, educational preparation, occupational outlooks, wages and current openings.  WLDS data is also used for Michigan Training Connect, a virtual marketplace connecting individuals across the state to education and training providers who offer in-demand training opportunities.

WLDS is vital to bridging Michigan’s data systems while creating new partnerships with agencies to optimize data. WLDS currently partners with the Michigan Department of Education; Center for Educational Performance and Information; Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (LMISI); Michigan Department of State; and Unemployment Insurance Agency to merge information from separate systems to produce powerful return-on-investment data to enhance consumer decision making regarding training and education options.

The WLDS system contains robust, powerful data. This grant allows the state to enhance data sets available for individuals reviewing occupations that require credential or licensure (i.e. accountants, barbers, realtors, and health professions such as counseling, dentistry, nursing, and optometry). WLDS will continue to seek out new partners and data that can further clarify the outcome of career choices.

This grant will allow access to a broader, and better defined, data set for TIA and other state agencies to collect key statistics and track the achievement of students, at each stop along their chosen career path, and workers through various training programs and into the workforce. Additionally, this data will be used by stakeholders to inform policy and programming decisions and by Michigan residents to assist them in making meaningful career path choices.
Learn more about the Michigan Workforce Longitudinal Data System on TIA’s Workforce Development Agency website.

About the Talent Investment Agency (TIA)
TIA is the agency that combines Michigan Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Development and is responsible for their activities. Businesses need a talented workforce. Workers need the right skills to compete for available jobs. TIA programs are focused on job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, employment assistance and unemployment insurance. Please visit our website to see all that we offer.