Montana's LMInformer Consortium
Montana Data Insights and Innovations Award Nomination: LMInformer Consortium
Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination
Nominator: Annette Miller
Email Address: email@example.com
Agency Name: Montana Department of Labor & Industry
Montana's LMInformer Consortium
Criteria: National Impact
The LMInformer Consortium members are Montana (consortium lead), Nevada, Michigan, Arkansas, Virginia, and Ohio. The Consortium was created for states who want a low-cost option to provide online labor market information that is customizable based on individual states' needs. With limited vendor choices and declining funds available, creating a consortium allows states to share costs and maintain total control over their own website design and delivery saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Virginia and Ohio joined in 2018, with Virginia successfully launching their new website January 2019. The impact this consortium has had nationally is that it allows states to use a semi-open source system built specifically for using the WID. Member states share anything they create with members of the consortium. This option of collaborative sharing is open to any state that wants to join. Montana provides technical support, documentation and training at no cost.
Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.
5 of the 6 member states (Ohio's will launch in the summer of 2019) have implemented the LMInformer as their workforce and labor market information websites. With the WID as the database for supplying data to the websites each state is in compliance with ETA WIG guidelines for the most updated version of the WID, information on the websites is easily kept current, and each state can design a website that meets the needs of their own state's needs. Customer feedback has been extremely positive and the stable environment has ensured the sites are fully functional all of the time. The system was built with a small pot of seed money ($20,000 from each state) and has saved each state on average $30,000/year for hosting and maintenance compared to a vendor system.
Comments from our consortium members: Ohio is new to the consortium and looking forward to having a more dynamic, user-friendly website. We joined the consortium because we like the look and feel of the website, but also because of the reasonable cost and comments from members on the ease of working with Montana folks. Our current website stores most of the WIDb core tables in nearly the exact format as the WIDb requirements, but its interface is quite old and uses dated web technologies. When we decided it was time to revamp our website, the costs associated with the consortium, the end product and the ease in working with members and IT support folks, made the consortium an easy choice. -Nick Wallace, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services "We are delighted with the site's clean look and easy navigation, and the ability to have control over the structure and to incorporate other states processes in the site were a key selling points for us. In the end, the fact that the programming was developed by LMI professionals for the LMI community is profound." Virginia Employment Commission, Division of Economic Information & Analytics
Because of the Consortium's constant support and technical expertise, we are able to better assist all of our customers and their labor market needs. This is all thanks to an intuitive interface and countless easy-to-use resources that allow us to be a more informative source of labor market information for the public." Jason Palmer, Michigan, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.
Other significant contributions
The design features of the LMInformer allows for state customization and use of Tableau data visualization software. With the move to the LMInformer platform, the number of customers calling us for help on finding data has been reduced significantly. Several of the data visualizations have been incorporated into the overall agency's website, knowing that by using our visualizations they will always have the most current data on their website and won't have to worry about maintaining the data. The product is attractive to users and makes it easier for people to find what they need and customize data reports. The system's backend is easy for database administrators to use making it easier for LMI staff to update the database on their own without having to necessarily enlist IT staff for that purpose. Also the capacity building provided by Montana's staff for technical support and training has helped LMI offices more effectively use staff resources in efficient ways by reducing the learning curve to train new staff on using the WID and developing/maintaining their websites.