WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a Summer Data Challenge competition for emerging and established scholars to analyze how federal labor policies, protections and programs reach traditionally underserved communities.

Administered under contract by the department’s Chief Evaluation Office, the competition will award up to five awards of $10,000-$30,000 each to researchers to help the department better understand how to use publicly available data and other external data sources to analyze equity implications of department policies, protections and programs. The competition will also encourage labor-oriented researchers to focus on questions of equity in their ongoing work.

“Understanding how our programs reach underserved communities will help the department provide the best possible service,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Evaluation Alexander Hertel-Fernandez. “The Summer Data Challenge is a way to support this administration’s commitment to equity, and to encourage scholars – especially emerging scholars – to center equity issues in their research.”

Selected researchers will analyze existing data to help the department understand barriers to accessing benefits and services. The analyses may cover many topics, and may involve programs such as unemployment insurance, workforce training programs and enforcement protections. Populations of interest include those from communities traditionally underserved due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, income, geography, immigrant status, veteran status and disability status, among others. Analyses must use data to illuminate meaningful gaps in knowledge and, ideally, propose practical solutions to fill those gaps.

Learn more about the Summer Data Challenge. The deadline for applications is April 19, 2021.

The department’s Chief Evaluation Office sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by third-party contractors in keeping with department’s Evaluation Policy.

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