Although no formal mission statement for O*NET with specific goals has been published, the DOL Strategic Plan for 2006-2011 includes this goal (U.S. Department of Labor, 2006, strategic goal 2):
Meet the competitive labor demands of the worldwide economy by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce development and regulatory systems that assist workers and employers in meeting the challenges of global competition.
This overarching goal includes a more specific one: “Build a demand-driven workforce system by increasing the accessibility of workforce information through the National Electronic Tools” (performance goal 2E). The strategic plan lists the web interface used to access the O*NET database, O*NET OnLine, as one of these electronic tools, stating that it is to be used for two main purposes:
To support individuals in making education and training decisions and investments, and
To support business and community needs for a prepared and globally competitive workforce.
Another indication of the O*NET mission is its funding source. DOL provides funding for O*NET under the Wagner-Peyser Act, as part of a stream of funding dedicated to employment services. This funding stream includes a budget earmarked for workforce information, which in turn includes a line item for O*NET.
These statements and the funding source suggest that a primary goal of O*NET is to help state workforce development offices carry out their dual mission of assisting individuals in gaining challenging, rewarding work (and any required education and training) and assisting employers in recruiting, hiring, and developing skilled workers. In addition, O*NET is intended to be useful to other audiences, including human resource managers, students planning their future education and career paths, community-based organizations, and colleges and technical schools (e.g., National Center for O*NET Development, 2009a).
DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) manages the O*NET program through an annual grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, which oversees the National Center for O*NET Development (the O*NET Center). The O*NET Center employs core staff