The following is a guest post provided by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).

ETA and BLS Leaders Meet with NASWA Representatives

On March 31, 2012, NASWA representatives met with Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of USDOL’s Employment and Training Administration and Jack Galvin, Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics, to discuss ways to improve Labor Market Information.

LMI Committee Chair Jay Rowell (IL) led the effort via telephone with Executive Director Rich Hobbie assisting. LMI Committee members attending included Steve Saxton (CA), Sue Mukherjee (PA), Rebecca Rust (FL) and James Moore (DC) while Evilina Tainer-Loescher (IL) participated via telephone.

The meeting was the first among Assistant Secretary Oates, BLS Deputy Commissioner Galvin and the LMI Community to begin a discussion on the future of the federal-state partnership in the development and use of labor market information (LMI).

While there was acknowledgement that declining federal funds makes the process difficult, NASWA encouraged ETA Assistant Secretary Oates and BLS Deputy Commissioner Galvin to help foster an environment where ETA, BLS and the Workforce Information Council (WIC) are working in a cooperative fashion so products and services can easily be shared among all the federal partners and the states. (The Workforce Information Council, established by the Workforce Investment Act and funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, acts with other Federal agencies and State employment statistics agency representatives to plan, guide, and oversee the nationwide workforce information system.)

NASWA pointed out that Federal domestic discretionary spending has been cut recently and faces another cut under in January 2013 of nearly 10 percent. LMI programs are likely to be hit by this cut and other cuts as the federal government tries to reduce annual budget deficits and national debt. Funding for BLS and ETA has been declining already along with funding for their LMI programs. The BLS is coping with the declines in funding by paring programs and centralizing some operations, such as the current employment statistics (CES) program. ETA recognizes states are receiving less, but still expects the workforce system to be data-driven, a goal also shared by the States.

NASWA is hopeful this meeting will be the first among many for BLS, ETA and the States to work together and develop plans in the face of continuing budget cuts.

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