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From AEAStat staff:
 
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) in the National Science Foundation (NSF) plans to request OMB approval for a new collection -- the National Training, Education, and Workforce Survey (NTEWS), to be cosponsored with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education. The NTEWS will measure (1) The education, training, and career pathways of skilled technical workers, and (2) the prevalence and interplay of education (postsecondary degrees and certificates), work credentials (certifications and licenses), and work experience programs among American workers. NCSES intends to release national estimates from the NTEWS collection.   

NCSES invites public comments by June 15, 2020.
Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/16/2020-08067/agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request
Slide presentation on NTEWS:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/618ckxmv6f1ipae/Finamore%20NTEWS.pdf?dl=0
Point of contact: John Finamore, Director, Human Resources Statistics Program, NCSES  jfinamor@nsf.gov  (703) 292-2258
NTEWS webinar presentation by John Finamore on June 2, 1 PM  ET -- open to AEA members https://www.dropbox.com/s/yumqheffvoi5ehh/6_2%20at%201pm%20EDT_%20NCRN%20Webinar%20with%20John%20Finamore.pdf?dl=0

The content of the 2021 NTEWS expands on a previous NCES survey, the 2016 Adult Training and Education Survey (ATES), which was sponsored by NCES. https://nces.ed.gov/nhes/ates.asp  The first administration of the ATES resulted in a response rate below 50 percent, which does not meet NCES statistical standards for dissemination. Furthermore, the low response rate for key population subgroups (e.g., low-income, low educational attainment) increased the potential for biased survey estimates. For this reason, NCES put the ATES component of the NHES on hold after 2016 to evaluate options for improving the response rate. A desirable and viable option for NCES to continue collecting collect data on the prevalence of non-degree credentials is its proposed cosponsorship of the NTEWS with NCSES.  

The NTEWS will provide a means to investigate education issues that are not adequately covered by the NCES’s institution-based data collection efforts. Although attaining a postsecondary credential has become increasingly important for securing high-return job opportunities in the United States in the 21st century, NCES has traditionally only collected data on postsecondary certificates and degrees awarded through credit-bearing instruction in institutions of higher education that participate in Title IV federal student aid programs. These comprise only a portion of the subbaccalaureate education and training that American adults seek to learn the skills they need for good-paying jobs. Given the myriad of private credential-awarding bodies, it is most efficient to collect these data by directly surveying adults about the credentials that they may hold. This approach also allows for the inclusion of adults who do not have a credential, providing a point of comparison.  

The goal of the NCSES-NCES collaboration is to modify the ATES to meet the needs of both agencies. The necessary modifications are (1) expanding the ATES survey content to capture more detailed information on adults’ labor force situation and (2) revising the sample design to enable oversampling of the skilled technical workforce (STW), while still maintaining a nationally representative sample of all adults, with an expanded age range of 16-75. The resulting survey, the NTEWS, will address the ATES’s lack of detailed information on skilled technical workers while avoiding the response rate shortcomings associated with the ATES’s sample design.
 
The NTEWS will include questionnaire sections on the following topics, all of which were included in the 2016 ATES:

• Employment characteristics
• Licenses
• Certifications
• Work experience programs
• Education characteristics (including current enrollment)
• Postsecondary certificates
• Demographic characteristics

Through the NTEWS data collection, NCSES and NCES aim to inform national policy by answering research questions such as the following:
 
• What are the demographic characteristics of the STW?
• How is education and/or credential attainment related to employment outcomes?
• What is the prevalence and role of education and/or credentials for the adult workforce and, specifically, the STW?
• Do education and/or credentials influence an individual’s ability to enter, maintain relevance, and seek advancement in the STW?
• What are the employment characteristics of the STW?
• What are the employment outcomes of the STW?
 
The proposed NTEWS sample design is similar to NCSES’s National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), which currently selects its college-educated sample from the American Community Survey (ACS). The NTEWS sample design will meet the needs of both NCSES and NCES by providing coverage of the workforce-eligible adult population and including an oversample of adults who are in skilled technical occupations. Initial NTEWS respondents will be drawn from respondents to the 2018 ACS, collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 40,000 adults, ages 16-75 and not enrolled in high school, will be selected for the first NTEWS sample. The sample selection for the NTEWS will use stratification variables formed using response information from the ACS. For the initial NTEWS survey cycle, NCSES plans to use stratification cells defined by a crosstabulation of the following ACS variables: educational attainment, sex, race, ethnicity, and occupation.
 
The initial NTEWS data collection effort will serve as the first cycle for a planned biennial, rotating panel design.  For the subsequent survey cycles, NCSES proposes to increase the sample size to approximately 120,000 cases, which will allow reliable estimation for the rare populations of interest to NCSES. To that end, the subsequent survey cycles propose to use a more detailed stratification scheme than used in the initial NTEWS.
 
Respondents will have the option to complete the survey by web, paper, or computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). NCSES plans to incorporate methodological experiments in the initial administration to examine response mode and incentive options. Results from those experiments will be used to determine a data collection methodology that maximizes data quality, minimizes respondent burden, and reduces data collection cost in future cycles.

NCSES will analyze the initial NTEWS data to inform and resolve any statistical, methodological, operational, and content issues before the subsequent NTEWS collection cycle in the planned biennial survey cycle design.

The U.S. Census Bureau will serve as the Federal data collection contractor on behalf of NCSES and NCES. The NTEWS data will be protected under the applicable Census Bureau confidentiality statutes.

NCSES and NCES intend to publish national estimates from the initial NTEWS, as well as use the results to inform the next survey cycle. It is anticipated that the NTEWS data will be used for the two congressionally mandated biennial reports authored by NCSES: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering and Science and Engineering Indicators. NCES plans to release a special-topic statistical report on the status of educational and professional credentials in the United States. In addition, a public release file of collected data, designed to protect respondent confidentiality, will be made available to policymakers, researchers, and the public on the internet.

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