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Using Labor Market Information

Labor market information (LMI) can provide great insight into the economic landscape of a region, and be used in so many ways that it is sometimes hard to know where to get started. To help the Newark Workforce Investment Board (WIB) analyze how to best use LMI within their increasingly data-driven decision making processes—a goal of their Workforce Innovation Fund project “Managing for Success,” a technical assistance subject matter expert, Lois Joy from Jobs for the Future, demonstrated how to use both traditional and real-time LMI to guide the WIB’s investments and increase accountability of the training programs they support. This blog and more information is also available on the Workforce Innovation Fund website.

While every WIB has its own needs, Newark’s efforts highlight a good starting point for any WIB interested in using LMI to deepen their analysis of the effectiveness training programs to prepare clients for good jobs and careers. The five-step process starts with traditional LMI but also includes real-time analysis:

  1. Identify the major industries in the area. Some basic information to guide your search is to check for both what is already big and what sectors are growing to create new opportunities.
    (Use traditional LMI tool like EMSI - Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.)
  2. Find out which occupations serve those industries. Training programs don’t train for a whole sector—they focus on key occupations and skills. This step will help define a universe of occupations to structure your analysis.
    (Use traditional LMI tool like EMSI - Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.)
  3. Delve into the details of those occupations. Learn about the occupations that could best serve your clients. Which occupations are growing? Which have higher wages? Which can clients train for in the short-term versus long-term.
    (Use traditional LMI tool like EMSI - Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.)
  4. Learn about the employers. Use real-time LMI tools to get a different cut at the occupations identified above. Who is hiring for these occupations? What are the current and historical regional hiring trends?
    (Use real-time LMI like Labor/Insight™)
  5. Hone in on the most relevant skills and credentials. Look up which skills and credentials are most commonly required among those who are hiring in your target populations. You can also filter your information to make it most relevant to your target your population. For example, you might want to restrict your search to occupations that do not require a Bachelor's, and see how that impacts the top skills and credentials.
    (Use real-time LMI like Labor/Insight™)

This quick LMI introduction to the industries, occupations, skills, and credentials targeted by WIBs or training providers can provide powerful insights. The information revealed in these five steps can help identify surprising aspects of a regional workforce for additional inquiry. The findings can also be used with businesses as an informed starting point for discussions about what they need in new employees.

Moving forward, it will be exciting to see how traditional and real-time LMI are used in innovative ways at the Newark WIB throughout the life of their Workforce Innovation Fund grant and beyond!