Choices about education and job opportunities are among the most consequential decisions that individuals will make for their financial well-being. Yet, most people – especially low-income Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds – make these decisions with less data-driven insight than is the case when choosing a movie to watch at night. An estimated 13 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, in many cases because they don’t know where to go to get the information they need to navigate the labor market. Opportunities are out there, but workers are simply not able to find them or to get the training needed to obtain them. This not only hurts the neediest in our society—low-income Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds—but also hurts overall economic growth as productive jobs and skill needs go unfilled.
The Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative aims to support innovative efforts to expand access to education and career data through partnerships that might include both public and private agencies and organizations. The goal of the D4AD initiative is to help students and jobseekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through data-driven information, and especially to help low-income, lower-skilled, underemployed, and unemployed Americans access better jobs and education opportunities.
Colorado Workforce Development Council
Powered by a multi-agency, public-private data trust, My Colorado Journey will unite the existing fragmented ecosystem of data and allow for the creation of new datasets that connect services, programs, and education and employment opportunities.
Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget
Operating in partnership with Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, a regional workforce development system, and academic and research institutions, this project will focus on creating a suite of tools that will aid displace workers and unemployed or low-income individuals in making the transition to successful, sustainable employment.
Department of Labor
Targeted at customers of the state’s human services programs and other disadvantaged populations, New Jersey’s D4AD project will build an interactive website containing smart disclosure tools that will help jobseekers make informed decisions about training. Project partners include state agencies and organizations from the non-profit and private sectors and academia.
“Communicating with Vulnerable Workers About Resources, Training, and Improving Job Prospects” Brief Now Available This brief—developed by CommunicationWorks, LLC for the Data for the American Dream project—synthesizes existing research about how to communicate effectively with low-income, lower-skilled, unemployed, and underemployed workers. It reviews challenges and strategies about communicating with these workers and suggests the implications for workforce agencies in connecting with these workers.
WICHE brief now available! “Making Data Work for Low-Income, Lower-Skilled, Unemployed, and Underemployed Individuals” seeks to identify potentially successful approaches to help fulfill the transformational promise of big data in the education realm for these key populations. The accompanying one-pager distills this brief and recommendations for impacting target audiences.