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Census Bureau Online Training Courses

The U.S. Census Bureau routinely offers a wide variety of free online training sessions, including Webinars and 5-minute podcasts, on subjects including 

• Using Census Data for Grant Applications

• How to Navigate American FactFinder, including How Do I Locate Info About My Community 

• Income data from various Census Bureau surveys

• Population Estimates and Projections, and Population Finder Statistics 

• Obtaining Employment Data from Local Employment Dynamics’s “OnTheMap”

• County Business Patterns data 

• Educational Attainment data 

• Understanding Census Geography

• Customized Searching Through DataFerrett

To see the complete list, go to Census Bureau Educational Resources. Some of the courses are at the Census Bureau, but most (those listed as “Webinar” in the course description) are online.  All include an overview plus hands-on exercises, and many include supplementary written materials.

Important note:  advance registration is no longer necessary for the Bureau's online training; at some point in advance of the event attendance information will be posted at the above link. 

To access numerous helpful Census Bureau training courses at any time, click on “E-Tutorials” on the left side of the screen.  Once you arrive at the “Educational Resources” landing page, see the list of topics on the left, which includes employment, education, and many other topics -- or click on one of the broader listings in the center of the screen. 

Analysis of More Than 200 Employment and Training Evaluations

A new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper has reviewed the findings of 207 worldwide employment and training evaluations, finding generally long-term positive effects, especially for training and subsidized private sector employment.  The review pays careful attention to the type of intervention (job search assistance, training, private or public sector employment subsidy, or sanction/threat for failure to look for work); type of participant (age, gender, long-term unemployed, economically disadvantaged); length of impact studied (less than a year, 1-2 years, or longer than 2 years); and other factors.

The studies began as long ago as 1980, but most were conducted between the early 1990s and the early 2000s.  Only about one-eighth of the evaluations came from English-speaking countries (the number of U.S.-specific studies isn’t provided), and nearly half from European countries other than the UK (the rest came from primarily non-OECD nations).  Only a fifth of the studies used an experimental, random-assignment design, although the studies’ conclusions didn’t vary by whether an experimental or non- experimental approach was used.

Taking the 207 studies altogether, the average impact (generally speaking, most studied the impact on employment, unemployment, and/or earnings) was relatively small and not statistically significant within the first year after the conclusion of the program, but progressively grew to a highly statistically significant effect thereafter.  However, this overall average comprised contrasting trends for two different program types:  short-term interventions like job search assistance or sanctions had better short-term and less positive long-term effects, while training had a less positive short-term impact but a greater effect in the long term.  Despite the relatively large number of studies examined, the user should be cautioned that for some types of studies and participants, the sample size greatly diminished, especially among those studies that followed participants for a longer period (rendering some findings provisional rather than definitive). 

Job search assistance programs generally have a positive effect through the first two years after the program‘s end, with results falling off sharply thereafter.  By contrast, training (including on-the-job training ) programs had increasingly better impacts the longer that individuals were tracked.  Private sector subsidized employment showed the same pattern as training, but the impact after 2 years was even better and particularly large.  By contrast, publicly-subsidized jobs had little if any effect in the short- or long-term. 

 The best effects were found with programs for women and the disadvantaged, with lesser long-term impacts on youth and adults older than 24 (although the average impact for youth was relatively better than for other age groups in the short run).  The authors also found that employment programs had larger impacts in periods of slow economic growth and higher unemployment.

See What Works? A Meta Analysis of Recent Active Labor Market Program Evaluations.  For the detailed findings, see especially tables 1 (an overview of the studies); 3a and 3b (which examine the impacts of various types of studies); and 4 (which examines impact trends over time for individual studies, in contrast to 3a, and 3b, which includes all the studies — some of which did not track participants for longer periods).  The remaining tables attempt to statistically control for various elements.

New WIOA Map with SDA-Specific Performance and Unemployment Data

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research has produced a useful map of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s (WIOA) nearly 600 service delivery areas, which includes the most recent statistics on the employment outcomes and characteristics of WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth participants, along with each area’s unemployment rates.

See the National Workforce Investment Areas Map.

A brief explanation about the information and data behind the map is at Workforce Investment Board Data Notes.

To go directly to the map, go to Map only.

To use the map, hover over the area you wish to examine, then click.  The state’s name will appear first, followed by this information.

  • Name of the Workforce Investment Board
  • Unemployment rates for the most recently available quarters
  • Internet link to the area’s Web site
  • Data on participants and exiters for the Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs
  • Performance data on entered employment, employment retention, and earnings for the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs
  • Performance data on Youth placement rates for employment/education, and attainment of a degree/certificate

In the upper left corner of the map’s screen are buttons to zoom in or out, a “Home” button to return to the initial map screen.

In addition, another icon in the upper left corner of the map’s screen (it looks like a funnel or a wine glass) allows you to search for the top performers for each performance indicator, plus areas with an unemployment rate greater than the national average.  

High School Graduation and Coursework: Class of 2013

In its second follow-up of the 2009 class of ninth graders, the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that 89 percent graduated on time in 2013, and another 3 percent acquired a high school equivalency certificate. Some 4 percent had dropped out, and an identical percentage remained in high school, presumably due to repeating a grade.

This longitudinal study of about 20,000 9th graders is the latest in a series of cohort studies of the long-term educational and employment experiences of high school students, dating back to Project Talent’s study of high school students in 1960.  NCES expects to follow the current cohort through at least age 30.  The next follow-up survey is scheduled for 2016, three years after most of the cohort will have graduated from high school.  In this summary, page references to the study are shown in parentheses.

 Graduating or Dropping Out

High school graduation rates differed dramatically by socioeconomic status, with 97 percent in the highest group graduating vs. only 81 percent in the lowest group.  Dropout patterns mirrored graduation findings, with 7 percent from the lowest socioeconomic group dropping vs. only 1 percent from the highest group (11).  Socioeconomic status is a measure based on a combination of parental educational attainment and occupation, and family income (A-15). 


By 2013, the average youth had earned 24.8 credits (one credit means a full year course).  On average, private school students earned about 3 more credits than public school students, and students in the highest socioeconomic group earned about 3.5 more credits than those from the lowest socioeconomic group (12).  The study’s sample size was sufficient to report state-specific public school data for 10 states:  within these there was a fairly large variation in total credits, from 22 to 27 (15).

Nearly two-fifths (37 percent) of students had completed advanced credit courses, either from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses (18). The average student earned 3.0 credits in career and technical education, 1.3 credits in engineering or technology courses, and another 1.0 credits in computer or information science courses (12, 17).

 For historical trends in high school coursework, see High School Coursework Over 3 Decades.  However, these new data are not comparable with previous data, as the new data include all students, whereas the historical data are restricted to graduates only.

Future Plans

The study also showed widespread indecision among young people:  by the November following graduation, nearly a quarter (22.7 percent) were undecided as to whether they would take postsecondary classes or work.  In the lowest socioeconomic group, 30.7 percent were undecided and another 7.0 percent were neither working nor going to school.  In the highest group, the corresponding proportions were 19.3 and 2.3 percent, respectively (21).  Among high school completers, 73.4 were taking postsecondary classes.  The remaining 26.6 weren’t, comprised of 15.6 percent who didn’t apply, 2.7 percent who applied but weren’t accepted, and the remaining 8.3 percent who were accepted but didn’t attend (22).


Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents were working, at an average hourly wage of $9.10 and for 26.6 hours weekly.  Half (50.6 percent) worked full-time, and the remaining 14.4 percent worked part-time.  Only 26.7 percent of those from the lowest socioeconomic group didn’t work, compared with 40.8 percent from the highest group (25). 

This 80-page study is available at High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, 2013 Update and High School Transcript Study: A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders in 2013

Read It Here First:  Quick Access to Info Research, and Data

Tired of being the last to know?  One simple trick to staying on top of announcements, information, research and data is to make the news come to you, rather than trying to find it later.  Many organizations have instant, daily, weekly, and sometimes monthly updates — use the latter options if you want to reduce your e-mail, and can wait a bit to receive news.  We've assembled the links to key employment, education, and social policy-related sites that you can use to sign up for these alerts, presented by organizational type.

To see it, click Read It Here First:  Quick Access to Info, Research & Data.

The inclusion of private-sector and .com Web sites is for informational purposes only. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) implies or confers no endorsement on a company or on a specific product or service. Readers and information users should exercise an appropriate level of care and should be aware that the private-sector products and/or services may be copyrighted and may require a fee for service or a cost to access or use information products. This resource is not intended to be an exhaustive list of private sector Web sites, and DOL reserves the right to modify the list on an ongoing basis.

Are you interested in applying to the 2014 Sector Skills Academy? If so, join us for this informational webinar to learn more about the Academy and how you can apply to be one of our next Marano Fellows.


Register for the Webinar here:



This webinar, The Sector Skills Academy: Informational Webinar for Potential Applicants, is designed to share information about the 2014 Academy with prospective applicants. We'll talk about the purpose, structure and content of the Academy. Academy alumni will share their experiences in the Academy, including how it enhanced their leadership and sector work. And, there will be opportunities for you to ask questions about the Academy and the application process.


Thursday, December 5th, 2013

2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern

1:00-2:00 p.m. Central

12:00-1:00 p.m. Mountain

11:00-12:00 a.m. Pacific



The webinar will feature presentations and discussion with four Academy almuni:  

  • Sheknita Davis, Director, Middle GA Regional Commission Department of Workforce Development
  • Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, Executive Director of Workforce Development & Training, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College - Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development
  • Ron Modesty, Senior Employment Coordinator, Capital IDEA
  • Matt Houghton, Workforce Development Manager, Office of Economic Development, City of Seattle


In addition, Matt Helmer with the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative will also share some information on the structure of the origin and structure of the Academy, as well as the application process.


Where? To register for the webinar, please register here


More about the Sector Skills Academy

The Sector Skills Academy is a year-long fellowship program involving three 3-day workshops, webinars, peer support, and presentations by guest faculty designed to help grow and support leaders in sectoral workforce development field. The Academy is a project of the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative and is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

The Academy is designed for organizational leaders who hold direct responsibility for the development and implementation of sectoral strategies. Former Fellows work in a variety of settings and institutions, including community colleges, non-profit organizations, local WIBs, state government, labor-management partnerships, worker centers and more.


Additional information about the Academy is available at:


Applications for the Academy will open on Monday, December 2nd, 2013.

Questions about the application process or the Academy can be submitted to:



No Change in Poverty, Income or Earnings Between 2013 and 2014

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 income and poverty report shows no drop in the poverty rate for persons, and no growth in inflation-adjusted household income or earnings for full-time, year-round male or female workers.

 In 2013, the Bureau redesigned its income questions, causing a .3 percentage point increase in the poverty rate (using the old questions, the poverty rate would have been 14.5 percent for 2013 and 2014, compared to the 14.8 percent level under the new questions for both years).  The poverty rate had held steady for the three previous years (2010-12) at about 15 percent, the longest period of poverty at this level since the first half of the 1960s — testifying to the severity of the last recession.  The poverty rate has remained above 14 percent for six consecutive years, exceeding the five-year period at this level in the first half of the 1980s, and such sustained high poverty is also unmatched since the 1960s. 

Median earnings for full-time, year-round workers in 2014 were $50,383 for men and $39,621 for women — neither gender has experienced statistically-significant growth in inflation-adjusted earnings since 2009.  All dollar figures in the report have been converted to 2014 dollars.

One positive indicator was the increase in the proportion of workers who labored full-time, year-round, which rose between 2013 and 2014 for both men (73.0 to 73.9 percent) and women (59.6 to 61.1 percent) — these levels also rose between 2012 and 2013.

Median household income hit its pre-recession peak in 2007 (the recession began in December), and then steadily fell until 2011, where it has remained steady for four years, through 2014.  In 2014, median household income was $53,657, a slight but not statistically significant drop from 2013’s $54,462.  The 2013 question redesign effectively raised the median household income level by nearly $1,700 (it was $52,789 in 2013 using the old questions).

Income inequality had risen since 1999, but the Census Bureau’s analysis of five different measures of inequality showed no significant rise in inequality in the 2012-14 period.

The poverty rate rose for persons with disabilities aged 18-64, from 27.8 to 28.5 percent between 2013 and 2014 (the second year of rising poverty rates for this group), while remaining roughly stable for those without disabilities over 2012-14.   However, the survey margin of error is sufficiently high that the rise in poverty for persons with disabilities was not statistically significant.

See Income and Poverty in the United States.

The Eye on the Workforce Innovation Fund Stakeholder series, Innovating for Change, is designed to provide a national forum for the public workforce system to discuss the power and promise of innovation. The series will afford the Department of Labor the opportunity to engage nationally with its valued stakeholders and to learn about promising practices that can successfully help businesses thrive and Americans get good jobs.


The engagement series kicks off with a live stream plenary session at the 2014 National Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Grantee Meeting in Washington, D.C. The national broadcast will be hosted by ETA Acting Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow, with opening remarks from U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Kate McAdams, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Then join two of our WIF grantee panelists online as we turn the spotlight on their programs’ strategies for engaging businesses to help Americans get jobs.


This special event will not be hosted on Workforce3 One, but will require a separate registration at the link below. Once registered, you will receive a separate confirmation email with additional information, including the technical assistance point of contact for the event.


Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time: 2:15pm ET (1:15pm/Central, 12:15pm/Mountain, 11:15am/Pacific)


Panelists: The Honorable Thomas E. Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor

Kate McAdams Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

Vera Krofcheck, Executive Director, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (PA)

Jennifer Meek Eells, Executive Director, Workforce Initiative Association (OH)


Host(s): Eric Seleznow, Acting Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration

Quick-Lesson Workforce Data Podcast Series

The U.S. Employment and Training Administration has just issued a new series of podcast instruction guides to help you identify and use labor market and workforce statistics.  The presentations are written simply, and presume no previous subject matter or statistical knowledge.  They should prove helpful for a broad variety of audiences and purposes, including grant applications; targeting growing industries and occupations; pinpointing labor market hardship; state and regional planning; and assessing program effectiveness.


Each is comprised of  a podcast roughly 10 minutes long plus a transcript of 2-3 pages.  The podcast and transcript can be used either separately or together:  the links can't be accessed from the podcasts, but the podcasts include visuals not available in the transcripts.


Some provide an overview of a topic (like unemployment data), while others explain in a step-by-step manner how to obtain a specific type of data or to use a specific data tool.  Each topical presentation includes basic definitions, a brief historical background, links to the most important sources (especially for state and local data), and practical tips on how to interpret and use the data and avoid common mistakes.  The tool- and data-specific presentations are designed to enable you to obtain useful data by the end of the lesson.


ETA intends to produce more of these presentations, but these exist now.  You can also access all of them from our Quick-Lesson Podcast folder.



New 2013 Podcasts



  1. Unemployment data
  2. Dislocated worker data
  3. Employment projections
  4. Industry data
  5. Geographic data
  6. Economic data

 2011 Podcasts

  1. The Data Dozen: Key Workforce Data and Information Sites
  2. Using E-Tools to Identify Growing Industries
  3. Using E-Tools to Identify Industry Concentration Ratios
  4. Using E-Tools to Identify Occupations  

Unemployment Rates 1890-2012

2 Key Education Sources You Should Have

The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has just issued its two leading annual publications, the Digest of Education Statistics and the Condition of Education.

Both publications cover all levels of education, from preschool to postsecondary, and include a wealth of data and analyses on the educational attainment and skills of the U.S. workforce. The respective Web sites for the two reports allow the user to download either the entire report, or to browse it section by section. In some cases these reports include data and analyses available nowhere else. Both reports include national and state-specific data; international comparisons; and data on specific age groups, races and ethnic groups, gender, persons with disabilities, and English as a second language.

The Digest of Education Statistics, now nearly a thousand pages, includes sections on educational attainment trends spanning more than a century; high school dropouts; test score trends; coursetaking, grades, and homework; postsecondary enrollment; postsecondary degrees, by field of study; labor force status, occupation and earnings by educational attainment; and many other topics.

The Condition of Education, now more than 300 pages, has sections on employment, unemployment and earnings by educational attainment; school enrollment by age; U.S. and international test scores; the transition from secondary to postsecondary education; postsecondary educational attainment by socioeconomic status; disparities in educational outcomes among male youth; and many other topics.

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