#FreetheData Bill Builds Momentum in the Pennsylvania Legislature 

Legislation Introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate 

House Cosponsor Memo Drops 

 #FreetheData Campaign Urges Legislature to Make Workforce Data Available Without a 24-Month Delay

Harrisburg, PA: Bipartisan momentum is building in the Pennsylvania legislature to #FreetheData and end the 24-month data lag for workforce development organizations and employers. Last week, Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) introduced legislation following her earlier cosponsor memo. In the House, Reps. Jennifer O’Mara (D-Delaware) and Kate Klunk (R-York) circulated a similar cosponsor memo. The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association is leading a coalition of business organizations, labor unions, and social service agencies. and campaign to pass legislation allowing better access to workforce data from the Commonwealth. 

“We’re encouraged by recent bipartisan legislative action to #FreetheData that will help ensure our workforce development system can implement policies that help Pennsylvania workers, employers, and our economy,” said Carrie Amann, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association. “Pennsylvania’s local workforce system serves a critical role to help employers find and keep skilled talent and connect students and job-seekers to quality jobs, but they cannot do that with outdated data and information. This simple fix will make it easier for our workforce leaders to design effective programs that will get Pennsylvanians into good jobs and help our businesses grow.”

Currently, local workforce boards and other stakeholders in Pennsylvania are experiencing a severe data lag that makes it difficult to evaluate and change workforce policies and programs effectively. Specifically, Unemployment Compensation and new hire data can take up to 24 months to access from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Two-year-old data does not provide enough information to redesign programs or processes that improve customer outcomes. In the last several years, we have seen how quickly economic and workforce conditions have changed. We need access to more real-time data that reflect the realities in the field for our workforce development system. 

Pennsylvania’s local workforce system spends millions of dollars and countless hours tracking down similar data that the state already holds. #FreetheData seeks to fix this costly and inefficient practice. Improved local data sharing and utilization will equip local workforce boards to engage job-seekers more timely and tailor services that meet the needs of both employers and workers.

The proposed legislation to #FreetheData has two primary components. 

First, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry should share unemployment claims, unemployment wages, and new hire database information with Pennsylvania’s local workforce development boards and other stakeholders for performance accountability, evaluation, and research. 

Second, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry should develop an accessible and usable dashboard platform that allows streamlined, user-friendly access to the data at any point in time.

The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association is leading a coalition of workforce and community development organizations, including Allies for Children, Builders Guild of Western PA and Pittsburgh Works Together, Keystone Development Partnership, Keystone Research Center, Manufacturers’ Association of South Central PA, National Federation of Independent Business PA, PA Chamber of Business and Industry, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, and the United Way of Pennsylvania. 

The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce development system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. Known for Pennsylvania’s premier annual workforce development gathering every spring, we provide development and capacity-building opportunities to workforce development professionals, local workforce development boards (WDBs), and other stakeholders while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system. Learn more by visiting 

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