Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System?

The New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System (NJEEDS) is New Jersey’s state centralized longitudinal data system, developed in 2012 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It brings together data from New Jersey’s P-12 system into a more comprehensive statewide system that maintains information for K-12 students from their exit from high school through entry into higher education and the workforce in New Jersey. NJEEDS provides valuable information and data to state and local policymakers, the public, as well as practitioners in K-12 schools, higher education institutions, workforce programs, and career and technical training schools to help calculate the outcomes of New Jersey students as they progress from pre-K through postsecondary education and training and as they enter the workforce.

Why has NJEEDS been developed?

NJEEDS has been developed to help the public as well as educators, workforce program operators, and other stakeholders make data-informed decisions to improve student learning and labor market outcomes. This includes facilitating research, providing statistical data, and publishing reports about student achievements, postsecondary outcomes, and workforce success made available on the system’s website (www.njed2earndata.org).

What is a longitudinal data system and where does the data come from?

A longitudinal data system is a state-level data system that maintains information about individuals over a period of time. NJEEDS links data from three partnering state government agencies: Education, Higher Education, and Labor and Workforce Development. It includes de-identified, individual-level K-12 student demographics, program participation, assessments, performance, financial aid, and interventions; postsecondary enrollment, remediation, degrees, certificates, and completion; and information about students’ future wages, industry, employment location, among other data elements.

What is NJEED’s vision and mission?

The vision of NJEEDS is to build a comprehensive perspective on the performance of education and training on student outcomes in New Jersey through comprehensive, integrated longitudinal data and objective analysis. The mission of the effort is to create a single place where state education, postsecondary education, employment, and workforce longitudinal data are securely stored and information made available to education and training stakeholders and the public for analysis in order to improve governance efforts, policymaking, and the performance of education and workforce initiatives.

What are the short-term and long-term goals of NJEEDS?

The goals of NJEEDS are to:

  • Integrate independently developed and collected P-12, postsecondary education, workforce education and training, and labor market data at the individual level into a comprehensive, strategic, and secure integrated data warehouse system;
  • Improve the quality of data maintained and provided by the state data sources, and improve the capacity of the state to sustain, support, and expand a robust and integrated P20W state longitudinal data system;
  • Better measure the success and effectiveness of the education-workforce pipeline and improve education and labor market outcomes for New Jersey’s students, businesses, industries, and taxpayers by identifying critical research and policy questions and developing a purposeful research agenda that creates reports, dashboards, and other informational products that provide relevant and accurate information of value to decision makers; and
  • Develop a sustainable governance structure with knowledgeable state agency leaders supported and guided by the involvement of key data stakeholders and end users from the education, higher education, and workforce communities, as well as researchers, public officials, and the public at large.
How is NJEEDS managed and the system governed?

NJEEDS is a collaboration between the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Department of Education, and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. NJEEDS functions under a multi-state agency governance structure through two standing governing bodies: the NJEEDS Data Advisory Council and the Data Stewards Work Group.

The NJEEDS Data Advisory Council is co-chaired by representatives from the three state agencies, with public members representing the P-12 community, higher education, and workforce development. The Data Advisory Council meets bi-monthly and provides overall guidance and strategic direction to the design, development, deployment, and maintenance of NJEEDS. The Data Advisory Council is also charged with developing an annual research agenda for the system and establishing and overseeing the system’s data access and use policies and practice.

NJEEDS activities are governed by an executive-level steering committee known as the NJEEDS Data Stewards Work Group, co-chaired by executive-level representatives from the three state agencies. Each state agency has four data stewards who represent different agency programs and/or technical areas of expertise. This work group, which meets monthly, is responsible for ensuring the quality, timeliness, and availability of the administrative data in the data warehouse.

NJEEDS is based at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and is managed by a cross-agency partnership under a multi-state agency governance structure.

What data are available in NJEEDS?

NJEEDS includes de-identified, individual-level data from the P-12 education system, New Jersey colleges and universities, and programs overseen by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. It includes data about individuals’ early childhood, education, and workforce experiences and performance. The data are collected and linked from these existing state agency data systems and include, for example, the kinds of services they receive, programs in which they participate, and their academic performance and program and degree completion. It also includes a myriad of demographic data such as gender, race, and age. Personally identifiable information, such as names, social security numbers, addresses, and other data that can identify a person will not be part of the shared data system.

Specifically, state data sources in the NJEEDS data warehouse include, at a minimum:

P-12 Education

  • K-12 (NJ SMART) Enrollment Data
  • K-12 (NJ SMART) Completion Data
  • Career and Technical Education (Carl Perkins Act) Enrollment and Completion Data

Higher Education

  • Student Unit Record (SURE) Enrollment Data
  • Student Unit Record (SURE) Completion Data

Labor and Workforce Development

  • Unemployment Insurance Wage Data
  • Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) Case Data
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program Case Data
  • Consumer Report Card Private Training Provider Data
Who can request NJEEDS data and how is it used?

Research conducted using NJEEDS data is primarily requested by New Jersey state agencies for federal and state reporting purposes, to evaluate the effectiveness of specific federal and state educational and workforce programs, and to compare and contrast student achievements at the state level as well as the district, postsecondary institution, and program levels. External researchers, who meet the authorized user criteria, may request aggregate-level reports and may access de-identified, individual-level data residing in NJEEDS through a formal data request process and an online application established by the Data Stewards Work Group and Data Advisory Council.

How does NJEEDS work?

NJEEDS is designed to bring together data from three state agency sources, match the data to the right individuals, and then eliminate any personally identifying information before an analysis is completed. However, like many states, New Jersey’s state agencies do not have a shared identifier for individuals in its K-12, postsecondary, and workforce data systems. Although the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development use the social security number (SSN) as the unique identifier, the New Jersey Department of Education’s Administrative Code prohibits schools from collecting student social security numbers. The New Jersey Department of Education’s NJ SMART system, therefore, uses its own unique identifier, the NJ SMART SID. Without a shared identifier (such as a social security number or NJ SMART SID), the data cannot be linked across all three agencies. Therefore, it became necessary for New Jersey to develop a data linkage strategy using data from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC). Under this strategy, the Heldrich Center research team assembled a list of individuals who had either worked in New Jersey or attended an institution of higher education in the state and securely transferred that list, along with a random digit identifier to NJMVC. NJMVC matched that list against its database and returned to the Heldrich Center the random digit identifier and the names and dates of births of the driver’s license and state identification card holder in the state for the matched individuals. Heldrich Center researchers then applied a series of algorithms developed by the U.S. Census to match the data it received from NJMVC with the K-12 exiter data (on individuals 18 or older) by name and birth date. Using these methods, Heldrich Center researchers matched 82% of all exiters from the classes of 2011 through 2015 to the NJMVC data, allowing for the construction of a robust longitudinal data system.

What checks and balances are in place to ensure the security and privacy of the NJEEDS data?

NJEEDS contains many data governance, privacy, and security-related checks and balances. Strict protocols regarding human subject research, confidentiality, and privacy of the data have been established and must be followed to request and conduct longitudinal research and data analysis using the NJEEDS data. There are also multiple levels of review and approval that define the approval of all data research requested and ultimately conducted. This includes a formal process for a requester to ask for data for research purposes, guidance on research priorities, as well as multiple review and decision points throughout the request process where state agency data owners can request more information from requesters. This also involves reviews by all state agency data owners that are necessary to determine if the purpose of the data analysis and research meets the criteria for an acceptable use of the data. In addition, it also includes the necessary controls and protocols that ensure requesters are in compliance with data security and privacy provisions, and whether they have in place adequate controls within their environment to safely manage and protect the NJEEDS data.

New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

New Jersey OfficeDepartmentof Education

New Jersey Department of Labor and WorkforceDevelopment

© 2020 New Jersey’s Education to Earnings Data System

New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

New Jersey Department of Education

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority

© 2021 New Jersey’s Education to Earnings Data System