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The U.S. Department of Labor today released its inaugural Enterprise Data Strategy, a three-year plan by the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy that will guide department efforts to improve its data collection, management and use and enhance its ability to share data to advance opportunity and equity for the nation’s workers.

Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su will announce the plan at today’s “Putting Data to Work on behalf of America’s Workers” event at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Without strong data, we cannot take wise action,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s data is powerful because of what we can do with it. Even more importantly, the data is powerful because of what others can do with it. When cutting edge data is put in the hands of advocates, unions, employers, researchers, workers and others, the nation’s economy benefits.”

The Enterprise Data Strategy includes four guiding principles and five goals that together can help the department develop more consistent and effective data governance and align agency planning to improve data management. The four guiding principles seek to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, also known as the FAIR principles.

The strategy’s five strategic goals are ensuring data are managed to be open by default, are comprehensible, are fit for purpose, are available in consistent and predictable ways, and that data is managed as an enterprise asset that incorporates stakeholder input, and as appropriate, made public in ways that provide real benefit to data users.

The Enterprise Data Strategy describes initial areas of focus and strategic goals to advance organizational and cultural change, strengthen governance, increase data talent, improve data documentation, modernize data infrastructure, integrate data management into existing systems, and expand data use to inform program administration.

In addition, the department today published its first Open Data Request for Information in the Federal Register to solicit comments, feedback and suggestions from the public for targeted improvements on data quality, availability and modes of access.  
Enterprise Data Strategy: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/Data-Governance/DOL-Enterprise-Data-Strategy-2022.pdf
News release: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20220615
Deputy Secretary blog post: https://blog.dol.gov/2022/06/28/delivering-for-americas-workers-through-data

2) RFI: The Department of Labor is seeking public input in support of its open data efforts to ensure that expanding public access to Federal data will best reflect public interests, serve public needs, and continue to be customer focused, while protecting the confidentiality of its data providers. Written comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal as described below on or before December 12, 2022.

The Department of Labor (Department) is committed to fostering a strong, open data policy that provides simple and meaningful public access to data, in formats that are most useful for public consumption and analyses of the data. The Department's open data policy must also comply with the law, including protecting personal and private information subject to the Privacy Act. The Department's open data policy is also consistent with Secretary's Order (SO) 02-2019, the Federal Data Strategy, and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act).

SO 02-2019 provides the Department's framework for building data capacity and includes the following requirements:

Identify the critical role that data play in informing and influencing how the Department carries out its mission, and acknowledge that these data need to be leveraged, housed, described and documented, formatted, and made public in an optimal manner;
Formalize the Data Board as the Department's data governance body, and as a forum to work across organizational lines to collaborate and coordinate effectively on data strategy, management, and policy issues, as well as data governance, stewardship, architecture, and utilization;
Provide Departmental programs with clear descriptions of the motivation, context, and values associated with data governance and data strategy by linking evidence-based policymaking with the need for modern data infrastructure and strengthened data capacity; and
Task the Data Board and the Chief Data Officer with serving the needs of the Department and its stakeholders to focus on the quality, consistency, and availability of data.

In addition, the Evidence Act and the recently published Federal Data Strategy have expanded the requirements for Federal agencies to build data capacity that benefits the public and to be transparent with their data assets. . . . Consistent with all of these requirements, the Department is building capacity for open data through the development of a new Application Programming Interface (API), and plans to provide open data through a data-as-a-service (DAAS) model. This model is expected to offer efficient, on-demand methods that enable users to create customized data extracts in a machine-readable format. The Department is also seeking to increase the quantity and types of data sets offered through DAAS, providing more standardized data documentation in electronic formats—including machine-readable—and designing a central portal for customers to find data, metadata, tools for ingesting data, and data-specific documentation.

The Department seeks public comment on specific approaches that could lead to wider and easier access, greater utility, and increased comprehensibility to data and associated documentation that the Department makes available. The Department also seeks comment on challenges with using existing Department data, including access mechanisms, so that the Data Board and various Departmental programs can work to make improvements. Respondents should note that this request for comments does not address data products designed, collected, and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Department seeks comments on the specific characteristics of data and supporting materials that would allow the public to better use and benefit from our open data. Examples may include:

1. Data content and format;
2. Data documentation, including metadata content, codebooks, and data dictionaries;
3. Data formats specific to certain analysis patterns (e.g., spatial analysis, machine learning, and program evaluation) including tagging, geocoding, and data encoding that reduce burdens and increase efficiency;
4. Data quality issues that diminish the benefit and utility of Departmental data and limit transparency and analyses; and
5. Challenges with data comparability including linking across program data, establishing common identifiers across data sets, and merging Departmental data with other Federal and non-Federal data sources.

The Department also solicits public comment on the following areas:

6. Identifying data sets that are currently useful and merit prioritization in forthcoming open data efforts;
7. Identifying data sets that are neither public nor available through restricted-use access programs that could provide value to the Department's stakeholders if made available;
8. The relative advantages and disadvantages of various machine-readable formats including JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and ASCII text files with or without comma-separated values (CSV) files;
9. The relative advantages and disadvantages of providing open data through DAAS vis-a-vis complexity, efficiency, convenience, automation, and user-friendliness;
10. Specific data sets and methodologies that would be useful in achieving the goals of President Biden's Executive Orders on Equity from January 2021 and on Customer Experience from November 2021; and relevant data and metadata standards that enhance interoperability, promote transparency, aid discovery, provide understanding, and facilitate integrating data from multiple sources.

Secretary's Order 02-2019-Chief Data Officer and DOL Data Board: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-05720
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-12510

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