Comparing State and National Approaches to Education and Training Program Scorecards
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. To provide individuals with information to help them decide among 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. Because of the challenges states face in producing such systems, the Employment and Training Administration explored alternatives in three states to help in these efforts - Missouri, New Jersey and Ohio.
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? Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio each provided administrative data on training completers along with UI wage record data and agreed to allow matching of their data to the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), a national database of earnings. To understand how the employment- and earnings-related measures typically used in scorecards compare when based on either single-state wage record data or a national database of earnings, analysts calculated a series of outcome measures using both data sources.
The study found that: 1) there are limited alternatives in terms of existing databases with national coverage that could be used to support a national approach to scorecards; 2) in Missouri and Ohio, scorecard measures based on single-state UI data are not meaningfully different than if they were based on national data; and (3) in New Jersey, scorecard measures based on single-state UI data are underestimated due to substantial missing data on trainees who work in other states. Based on the findings, the report provides three recommendations: 1) streamline the process of accessing the NDNH or other suitable data; 2) encourage and/or help foster regional wage record data sharing among groups of states; and 3) identify ways to enable information sharing among states, so states without scorecards may learn from states that have created and maintained scorecards successfully.