In the fall of 1994, the South Carolina Employment Security Commission’s Labor Market Information (LMI) Department submitted a proposal to establish a comprehensive national LMI training program. This program would be part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s America’s Labor Market Information System (ALMIS) initiative.
In 1995, South Carolina was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to develop such a program. The South Carolina Employment Security Commission became head of a consortium of states and federal agencies charged with developing the LMI Training Institute. The Institute was created to improve the technical and program management skills of state LMI agency staff as they meet their customers’ needs and foster communication within the LMI field.
The consortium composed the following vision statement for the Institute:
The Labor Market Information Training Institute will provide an infrastructure to advance the art and science of labor market information among all LMI professionals and the LMI customer community.
The Institute is currently administered by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), with Direction provided by Institute’s Board of Directors. Though the Institute began with ETA funding support, for nearly ten years it has operated using a cost-recovery model through financial investments made by member states. That model includes state membership dues, training registration income, and fees for customized training (and research) services to support the LMI system. Under the Institute’s current operating model, it has been able to build full-time staff capacity that it had not had for several years prior to 2009, and the demand continues to grow.
The Institute has played an active role in the LMI community during the past few years. Since 2012, the Institute has helped the Workforce Information Council through research on LMI customers and products; supported the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) by producing a series of web-based training courses and follow-up live webinar training and technical assistance sessions for projections analysts; implemented Basic Analyst and Applied Analyst training courses in Washington, DC, Charlotte, Portland (OR), Oklahoma City, and other locations; conducted specialized workshops targeted to data users in Alabama, Arizona, and at the National Association of Workforce Boards; conducted customized training on cluster analysis techniques in California and survey sampling methods in Oregon; and produced a series of webinars on economic and workforce development issues; hosted the annual LMI Forum in cooperation with the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER); and presented more than a half dozen other webinars. These efforts have served workforce system professionals from over 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. To reflect the holistic approach of providing support and technical assistance to the national LMI system in several ways beyond training services, in 2013 the Board of Directors voted unanimously to drop the word “Training” from the Institute’s name. Now simply the LMI Institute, the name change in no way changes the mission that the organization has built over the past several years.