As the training dollar becomes increasingly dear and certainty about the labor market's future increasingly unclear, the search for tools to better understand the labor market and the consequences of consumer choice in that market have become increasingly important. In this environment, the U.S. Department of Labor made resources available to state Labor Market Information operations under America's Labor Market Information System to pilot program evaluation research. The report, "Tracking University of Wyoming Graduates Into the Wyoming Work-force", represents an attempt to expedite an approach to program evaluation.
While the aforementioned report has as its subject matter the measurement of labor market outcomes for graduates of the University of Wyoming, it employs an approach, and exposes the strengths and weaknesses of that approach, which can be adapted to Job Training Partnership Act, School to Work, Vocational Rehabilitation, or any other programmatic effort aimed at seeking positive intervention in the labor market. The evaluation research demonstrated in this report represents a relatively inexpensive and standardized means of measuring progress towards program objectives.
It is important for the reader to recognize that labor markets respect few domestic political boundaries. And certainly, all things being equal, the dominant assumption is that the higher the value of labor the larger the geographic scope of the labor market for that labor. Certainly this report demonstrates that higher valued labor competes in a greater time/travel segment of the labor market. Clearly, then, labor market information systems and evaluation mechanisms need to be designed to respond to this fact and recognize that some segments of the labor market are national in character.
Establishing realistic goals and direction in the labor market begins with the first data entry stroke and passes through the kind of analysis presented in the aforementioned report.
Finally, it is important to recognize the players in what I hope will become a stronger work relationship between Research & Planning and the University. Appreciation is extended to Dr. Garth Massey for his commitment as mentor and to Steve Butler for his dedication and creative insight which illuminates the final product. Special acknowledgment to Research & Planning Economist Wayne Gosar for his creative commitment in support of the project.
Manager, Research & Planning
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