In Florida, the Agency for Workforce Innovation directly administers the state’s workforce development programmes, including the labour market information programme housed in the Labour Market Statistics Centre (LMS).
LMS is highly customer focused, providing information to a range of other organisation and individuals, including all of the state’s economic development agencies, teachers, career counsellors, the media and the general public. LMS prides itself on its customer service, and if a request is made for data that does not exist, it will work with the customer to understand what they want the data for and to suggest other data sets that could be used. More formal training in the form of workshops is also offered outlining how to access and use all the LMI produced.
The strong customer service of LMS, including the formal training offered, has led to the organisation being approached by a wide range of users asking for analytical help. As such, the data has been used in a multitude of ways. Large-scale projects include the use of LMS data by the Florida state to prepare for the planned closing of the nation’s space shuttle program in Brevard County. As well as providing existing data and analysis on growth occupations in the County, pay in these sectors and qualifications needed for these roles, LMS conducted a job vacancy survey to determine what jobs might be available in the County at the time of the closure. This involved determining the skills employees of the shuttle programme had that would be transferable to other jobs. LMS also constructed career ladders for the state by looking at the skills and qualifications needed for basic entry positions in different sectors and the experience and skills required to move into higher roles. This information was used by those providing employment support to effected workers, helping them identify job opening they were qualified for or training to undertake in order to be able to gain local employment.
LMS’ expertise has also been requested by the regional Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), whose main role is to direct federal, state and local funding to workforce development programs. The WIBs wanted to determine where to locate unemployment support centres. LMS provided the board with LMI pinpointing local hot spots of high levels of unemployment, skills mismatch and worklessness and recommended where to place support centres based on this, ensuring the centre were located near to those who have a high level of need for these services.
LMS data and analysis is also used directly by jobseekers. Previous state analysis has shown there to be a demand for nurses, yet individuals graduating from nursing schools reported difficulty in finding jobs. LMS was approached by sector representatives to provide a more detailed understanding of the demand for nursing in the state. To do this it used information from existing datasets and new interviews with the health sector, nursing students and training providers to map exactly where and how many job openings there are for this occupation and who the employers are. LMS made their analysis available on their website in the form of tables and maps and the resource is also promoted to nursing schools, helping qualified nurses to identify job openings.