of individuals and organizations relies on O*NET data to inform important activities in workforce development, economic development, career development, academic and policy research, and human resource management.

The panel’s other conclusions and recommendations fall into two broad categories, reflecting the two goals of O*NET: (1) developing and maintaining a high-quality database and (2) enhancing service to users. Primary conclusions and recommendations in each category are presented here; more detailed conclusions and recommendations appear in the individual chapters of the report. All recommendations are summarized and presented in order of importance in Chapter 10.


Conclusion: Over the past 10 years, DOL has achieved its initial goal of populating O*NET with information from job incumbents and occupational analysts, replacing earlier data based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. However, short-term policy agendas related to workforce development have at times reduced focus on the core activities of developing, maintaining, and updating a high-quality database.

Recommendation: The Department of Labor should focus O*NET resources on the core functions of collecting, maintaining, and publishing high-quality data, leaving development of most new applications and tools to the private sector, state and local governments, and educational institutions.

This focus on data quality will involve complex trade-offs between costs and benefits now and in the future. Maintaining continuity in the content model has supported the growing use of O*NET data for many valuable purposes. Nevertheless, weaknesses in the content model and other O*NET elements warrant targeted research investments that may lead to modifications with potential to reduce data collection costs, improve data quality, and enhance service to users.

Conclusion: The construct validity of the taxonomies of descriptors varies across the different domains included in the content model. In the abilities domain, the descriptors reflect a long history of psychological research on the nature and measurement of human abilities, but many of the descriptors in the skills domain lack such an extensive research base.

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