September 27, 2023

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State unemployment compensation data systems should be enhanced and better integrated with postsecondary education and training data, Strada Education Foundation leaders urged Monday in a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Students often are unable to access programs that lead to good jobs and economic mobility, in part because policymakers lack supply-and-demand data that would highlight opportunity gaps, and employers too often base their hiring decisions on degrees rather than skills and experiences,” Strada CEO and President Stephen Moret and Chief Data Ecosystem Officer Jon Furr wrote in the letter to Brent Parton, acting assistant secretary at the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We firmly believe that enhancing unemployment compensation data systems and improving the integration of unemployment compensation and postsecondary education and training data are essential for expanding pathways to opportunities for individuals as well as better addressing the talent needs of employers,” the letter continued.

The letter was delivered in response to the department’s request for information regarding the disclosure of confidential wage records under the department’s regulations governing the confidentiality and disclosure of state unemployment compensation data. Strada also included specific recommendations for regulatory amendments.

The letter reiterated that Strada’s North Star is “to collaborate with learners, educators, employers, and policymakers across the U.S. to bring to life a postsecondary education and training ecosystem that provides equitable pathways to opportunity,” and called ​​the challenges addressed in the letter ”among the greatest barriers to advancing our North Star.”