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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

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. 

The White House released a Fact Sheet on January 31, 2014:

The President’s Call to Action to Give the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot

The Fact Sheet contains these major sections:

  • Further detail on executive actions the President is taking to give the long-term unemployed a fair shot
  • Continuing to work with Congress on the President’s Exiting Proposals to get the long-term unemployed to work.
  • New private commitments to expand models that help the long-term unemployed get back to work.

The Fact Sheet notes:

$150 Million for “Ready to Work” Partnerships to Support Innovative Public-Private Efforts to Help the Long-Term Unemployed Get a Fair Shot.

The President and Department of Labor are announcing $150 million in existing resources from the H-1B fund to support high performing partnerships between employers, non-profit organizations and America’s public workforce system that will help provide long-term unemployed individuals with the range of services, training, and access they need to fill middle and high-skill jobs. A solicitation for applications for these “ready to work” partnerships be available in February and awards will be made in mid-2014. In particular, these grants will reward partnerships with the following key features:

Focus on Reemploying Long-Term Unemployed Workers.
Programs will have to recruit long-term unemployed workers and employ strategies that are effective in getting them back to work in middle to high-skill occupations. These strategies could include assessments, job placement assistance, training, mentoring and supportive services such as financial counseling and behavioral health counseling.

Work-based Training That Enables Earning While Learning Through Models Such as On-the-Job Training (OJT), Paid Work Experience, Paid Internships and Registered Apprenticeships.
Incorporating work-based training into these projects will afford employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs.

Employer Engagement and Support in Program Design – Including Programs That Commit to Consider Hiring Qualified Participants.
Training programs funded by these grants must address the skills and competencies demanded by employers and high-growth industries, and ultimately lead to the employment of qualified participants. Preference will be given to applicants with employer partners that make a commitment to consider candidates who participate in these programs.

Also see:

White House Releases Fact Sheet – Opportunity for All: Empowering All Americans with the Skills Needed for In-Demand Jobs (January 30, 2014)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a nation-wide air traffic control specialist recruitment, outreach, and education program, extending the invitation for the workforce system to share this information with its program participants in advance of a public vacancy announcement expected on or about February 10, 2014. There are air traffic control positions available at FAA locations across the country, and the FAA encourages all interested individuals who are eligible to apply for these positions.

Some background:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has re-opened its Academy for training Air Traffic Controllers since it closed in the spring of 2013.  The FAA intends to hire around 3,000 people over the next year for these positions across the country.  The FAA anticipates that they will be hiring in significant numbers over the next several years, given the fact that that Air Traffic Controllers must retire by age 56.

Below are some key points of this new FAA hiring initiative:

  • FAA will post these positions on the USA Jobs website during the February 10 - February 21 period.
  • FAA will recruit nationwide.
  • The pay scale for Air Traffic Controllers ranges from GS-9  to GS-15 (depending on the local area).
  • Individuals must start the FAA Academy or be conditionally hired by their 31st birthday.
  • Individuals must have 3 years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor’s degree, or combination of education and work experience.
  • Individuals must meet medical and security requirements of being a government employee.
  • Veterans will receive Preference through the normal Federal Hiring process.

FAA is hosting a Virtual Career Fair on February 12.

Please visit for Employment FAQs, Air Traffic Controller Fact Sheets, and promotional videos.

FAA has also created ‘Digital Kits’ created for outreach and promotion, addressing eligibility for the position, application instructions, and other FAA positions in addition to the air traffic control jobs.  Please visit

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is launching a nation-wide air traffic control specialist (ATCS) recruitment, outreach, and education program in advance of a public vacancy announcement expected on or about February 10, 2014. There are ATCS positions available at FAA locations across the country, and the FAA encourages all interested individuals who are eligible to apply for these positions.


Because of your role in workforce development, career technical education, career counseling, career pathways or related activity, we would like to invite you to join us for an invitational call with the Federal Aviation Administration on January 23rd, 2014, at 1:00 PM to learn more about upcoming recruiting and outreach strategies in advance of a general public announcement for air traffic control specialists.


During this session, we will help you and your colleagues: 

  • Learn about the FAA’s recruitment strategy and actions;
  • Obtain information about the upcoming FAA Virtual Job Fair;
  • Learn more about eligibility requirements for interested applicants;
  • Understand how your organization can actively participate in our outreach & recruitment efforts.

Please RSVP to in advance of the call.  Call in details will be provided in advance of the session.


The FAA expects to accept applications for a short two-week period starting February 10, 2014. However, applicants should not wait for the vacancy to open in order to prepare application materials, and are highly encouraged to use the resume builder available on the USAJOBS website at In addition, the USAJOBS Resource Center at is a good resource to learn how to build a federal resume, as well as access tips and tutorials on how to apply and interview for federal jobs.



The O*NET Resource Center has passed along the following January 9, 2014 advisory:

Developers in the public workforce system can seamlessly display O*NET information and integrate O*NET Tools within their own website or web-enabled application using O*NET Web Services. Staff can take advantage of the occupation keyword search featured in My Next Move; valuable career report information including tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, and job outlook information; the military transition search from My Next Move for Veterans; and a full suite of Spanish language services from Mi Pr?ximo Paso. The O*NET Interest Profiler can be integrated using the REST web services API, or embedded in your site with a few lines of HTML.

The workforce community can explore and learn more at O*NET Web Services.



The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST MEP) has a new website where users can find a collection of reports and studies on manufacturing policy and practice.

The site is intended to serve as a resource for the manufacturing community and to fuel vibrant discussion and debate about the future of manufacturing in the United States. The posting of these works does not necessarily imply that NIST MEP endorses the views they express.

The new website offers reports and research organized by topic area, including:

?         Current State of Manufacturing                   

?         Education & Workforce

?         Innovation, R&D, and IP

?         Capital & Cost                                               

?         Global Competitiveness

?         Federal/Industrial Collaboration                  

?         Regulatory & Policy Recommendations       

?         Best Practices

?         Productivity                                                   

?         Sustainability

?         Supply Chain

The workforce community is encouraged to send suggestions for worthy reports that may have been overlooked as a link or an attachment along with a brief description to If the suggested work is appropriate, NIST MEP will include it on the website at


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Family Assistance has recently launched Career Pathways: Catalog of Toolkits, an online directory of free resources available for planning a Career Pathways initiative. Toolkits in this Catalog provide action steps for starting a Career Pathways initiative and help different sectors - education, workforce, human services, industry, and policy - learn to communicate with each other about resources and priorities.  ETA's Career Pathways Toolkit is also featured on the new website.


You’ll find additional information on the Catalog in the Career Pathways Community of Practice.



Stateline has offered a recent region-by-region appraisal of job growth in individual States in a recent article   The Pew/Stateline/Moody’s Analytics  interactive map (with volumes and percentages) is accessible at   

... After four years of a fragile and uneven recovery, the U.S. job machine is likely to kick into high gear in 2014. Even recession-battered states such as Arizona and Florida are expected to generate jobs at a healthier clip.

Overall, the U.S. economy is projected to generate 2.6 million jobs in 2014 year, up from 2.2 million last year, largely on the strength of the country’s booming health care, energy and high-tech sectors.

Nearly 572,000 of the new jobs will be added in just two states, Texas and California, according to Moody’s Analytics, a global economic forecasting company. Florida will add 176,000 jobs, while Arizona is expected to add 77,000, Moody’s estimates. 

“No question about it, the economy and creating jobs will be priority number one for states across the country in 2014,” said Sujit M. CanagaRetna, senior fiscal analyst at the Council of State Governments.

CanagaRetna said economic growth, particularly job creation, has been less robust than in other post-recessionary periods.  “There is enormous pressure on state policymakers – further complicated by the fact that 2014 is an election year – to create a suitable environment for sustained, solid job growth,” he said.

As an example, in more than a dozen states, elected officials from both parties scrambled with incentives to attract the production facility for Boeing’s new 777X jet, which is expected to employ as many as 8,000 workers. The competition ended when workers at Boeing recently approved the labor contract, ensuring Boeing will keep those jobs in Washington.

Even as the U.S. economy gathers steam, state lawmakers may be under increasing pressure to do more to help the nearly 11 million Americans who are still unemployed.  Republicans likely will continue to press for tax cuts as a way to create jobs, while Democrats will try to boost job training and education programs and push for increases in the minimum wage …