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United States

Access to Workforce Data (US0061)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The general Services Administration

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The U.S. government spends billions of dollars each year to support many different groups in finding pathways to employment — from veterans to disconnected youth to the unemployed. Until now, however, there has been no easy way for American job seekers, employers, and Federal agencies to get a full picture of the workforce ecosystem to understand challenges and opportunities for these initiatives, as well as to create more effective programs. Through the Workforce Data Initiative, the Administration will increase interoperability of and access
to the workforce data ecosystem, establishing a new baseline from which a new generation of workforce innovation can develop. To achieve this, the United States will focus on improving the Occupational Information Network by defining a schema that establishes interoperability among training, skill, job, and wage listings across the Internet and working with search providers and aggregators to build application programming interfaces to index and make available that same data.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 9. Increase Access to Workforce Data

Commitment Text:

Increase Access to Workforce Data to Promote Employment

The U.S. government spends billions of dollars each year to support many different groups in finding pathways to employment — from veterans to disconnected youth to the unemployed. Until now, however, there has been no easy way for American job seekers, employers, and Federal agencies to get a full picture of the workforce ecosystem to understand challenges and opportunities for these initiatives, as well as to create more effective programs. Through the Workforce Data Initiative, the Administration will increase interoperability of and access to the workforce data ecosystem, establishing a new baseline from which a new generation of workforce innovation can develop. To achieve this, the United States will focus on improving the Occupational Information Network by defining a schema that establishes interoperability among training, skill, job, and wage listings across the Internet and working with search providers and aggregators to build application programming interfaces to index and make available that same data.

Responsible Institutions: Department of Labor, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Supporting Institutions: Academia, industry, and other private organizations

Start Date: Not Specified ....... End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

With this commitment, the government aimed to improve the Occupational Information Network by developing an internet-wide inter-operability schema covering training, skills, job, and wage listings. It also aimed to work with search providers and aggregators to develop application programming interfaces that provide access to and index this data.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The government had made limited progress on this commitment at the midterm. Progress on this initiative pertains to the development of the DataAtWork website. The website’s Open Skills Project [112] constitutes part of the Workforce Data Initiative described in the progress report (see the Context and Objectives section under this commitment). As described on its website, the Open Skills Projects “is a public-private partnership . . . focused on providing a dynamic, up-to-date, locally-relevant, and normalized taxonomy of skills and jobs.” Its goal includes reducing “frictions in the workforce data ecosystem by enabling a more granular common language of skills among industry, academia, government, and nonprofit organizations.” [113] By the close of the midterm reporting period, however, neither the inter-operability scheme nor the related application programming interfaces were publicly available via the Open Skills Project. Progress on this commitment was coded as limited at the midterm, in light of the preliminary establishment of the DataAtWork website. [114]

End of Term: Substantial

Progress on this commitment was substantial at the end of term. The Open Skills Project released a taxonomy of skills and jobs that builds upon existing work by O*Net, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the National Skills Coalition. [115] Data is also accessible via the Open Skills application programming interface (API). [116] As described on the Open Skills API landing page, available data includes job titles and descriptions, and skills associated with a job. Per the Tools and Integrations section of the DataAtWork website, the Open Skills Project has also begun to collect and publish data on wage and employment outcomes by both educational attainment and training. [117] By the close of the end-of-term reporting period, the IRM researcher was unable to document evidence of government engagement with internet search providers and aggregators. In light of unclear progress on this aspect of the commitment, while close to complete, progress on this commitment is considered by the IRM researcher to be substantial at the end of term.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

This commitment marginally opened government with respect to access to information. As described on the DataAtWork website, “various people working with labor market data, including many of us here at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, have been working on similar projects for quite some time, and there are already many parts of the solution to a fragmented workforce data ecosystem out there.” [118] The main advancement brought by the Open Skills Project lies in the project bringing “these data sets and ideas together in an effort to increase interoperability and accelorate [sic] innovation, transparency, and opportunity.” Per this same source, the Open Skills Project also distinguishes itself on the basis of several key features. Notably, it stands out for its collaborative nature; transparency of methods, tools, and decision making; ultrasimplicity; web orientation; and focus on reuse of and integration with existing tools. Also distinguishing the project is the fact that the data is “distributed” and “not tied to a given tool or project.”

That said, the improvement in access to information caused by these changes remains difficult to ascertain. To offer one example, a case study appearing on the DataAtWork website describes how Pairin needed more granular data on soft skills than was otherwise available prior to the launch of the Open Skills Project data. [119] Pairin software matches job seekers and employers based on soft skills. The new data schemes established under this commitment made matching more feasible. Still, this example remains an isolated case, and a limited number of case studies (only two) were available on the DataAtWork website at the time of writing. [120] In the absence of clearer case studies for the data schema, and application programming interfaces created as part of the Open Skills Project, this commitment did not lead to a more substantial opening of government.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan.

This commitment is largely complete and does not need to be explicitly carried forward to a future action plan. However, the government should continue efforts to broaden the use of the Open Skills Project data to position its scheme as the leading taxonomy of workforce data. Doing so would improve its usefulness going forward.

[112] “Open Skills Project,” Data, DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/data/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[113] Ibid.

[114] United States of America, Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015-2017, September 2016, 11, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017.

[115] “Data,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/data/, consulted 9 October 2017. See also “FAQ,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/faq/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[116] “Open Skills API,” DataAtWork, http://api.dataatwork.org/v1/spec/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[117] “Tools and Integrations,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/tools/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[118] “FAQ,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/faq/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[119] Michael Simpson, “Case Studies: Pairin,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/case-studies/pairin/, consulted 9 October 2017.

[120] “Case Studies,” DataAtWork, http://dataatwork.org/case-studies/, consulted 9 October 2017.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership