Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to attend?
BLS international seminars are designed primarily for the staff of statistical offices and other organizations responsible for producing or analyzing national statistics. Typical participants include economists, statisticians, researchers, analysts, and managers. Participants should have an elementary knowledge of statistics and some experience in analyzing labor or social data.
What are the seminar objectives?
The objectives of the seminars offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are to strengthen the participants' ability to produce and analyze all types of labor statistics.
Planners, administrators, and policy makers need timely, accurate, and relevant labor statistics in order to plan, carry out, and evaluate programs designed to improve the well-being of the population in both rural and urban areas.
A strong capability to produce, analyze, and use labor statistics is necessary to provide: 1) an initial inventory of socioeconomic conditions; 2) the base against which performance and progress in the attainment of targeted social goals can be judged; and 3) an unbiased source of information that policy and decision makers can use to solve problems. Optimal use of statistics is often hampered by a lack of economists and statisticians experienced in analyzing and interpreting data in a manner best serving policymakers.
What is the training methodology?
Specialists from BLS will work with participants during each seminar. Seminars offer opportunities for problem solving, both individually and in group workshops. Participants also will have the opportunity to undertake supplementary customized programs, if desired.
BLS seminars emphasize highly specialized techniques not taught in university courses and, most importantly, the practical aspects of conducting labor statistics programs on a day-to-day basis. Seminars and customized training programs provide a forum for participants to hear firsthand from the BLS staff about their experiences in carrying out specific statistical programs, including problems encountered and solutions adopted. Workshops included in seminars offer a unique chance to exchange experiences and alternatives that have originated under diverse circumstances around the world.
The sharing of the practical experiences of the BLS staff, together with the experiences of the participants and their countries, extends to all aspects of a statistical program. These aspects include: conceptual framework, survey design, questionnaire design, data collection, data editing and processing, estimation, analysis, and presentation of results, with an emphasis on practical applications.
Are certificates awarded for training?
Each participant will receive a certificate upon the successful completion of a training program.
What training materials are provided?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will provide each participant with reference materials at the beginning of the seminar. As seminar materials are provided in English, a reading knowledge of English is desirable.
Because of the emphasis on applied analysis, participants are encouraged to bring with them the following materials: 1) methodologies on how data related to the seminar topic are collected in their home countries; 2) questionnaires used in their countries for obtaining those data; and 3) sample publications of those data.
Are simultaneous interpretation services available?
Each seminar is conducted in English. BLS has no interpreters on staff, but can assist participants with locating local interpretation services if needed. Non-English speaking participants must arrange for and finance simultaneous interpretation.
Please contact ITC staff in advance if interpretation is requested.
Can BLS subsidize the cost of training?
Individuals or organizations wishing to participate in BLS seminars must pay for the training or find a sponsor who will pay the cost of the training. Participants typically are sponsored by their own government, the United Nations or its affiliated agencies, other international or regional organizations such as the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), private foundations such as the Ford Foundation, or, in some cases, by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) country missions. BLS regrets that it cannot provide financial support or petition sponsors on behalf of participants.
Participants must complete the BLS Training Payment Agreement. Payment, in U.S. dollars, is due before the trainee's arrival at BLS. Payment may be made by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or credit card. BLS accepts MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover. Please contact ITCinfo@bls.gov for EFT information. BLS will only accept payment by check from a U.S. chartered bank payable to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in U.S. dollars. Payment must include the tuition fee only. Do not include money for participant's travel or medical insurance in tuition payments to BLS. Allowances for housing, meals, and local transportation should be paid directly to participants; a minimum of $250 per day is recommended.
Participants also should receive medical insurance allowances directly. All participants should be furnished round-trip tickets from home to Washington, DC.
Is medical insurance required?
Medical insurance is not required, but is strongly recommended because of the high cost of medical care in the United States. If desired, sponsors should arrange for medical coverage in advance. BLS can provide participants and sponsors with information about temporary medical insurance coverage.
When should I arrive in Washington, DC?
Participants should arrive in Washington 1 or 2 days before the seminar begins, in order to adjust to possible time or weather changes. An orientation session will be held on the first day of the seminar.
Where are the seminars held?
Seminars are conducted at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 2190, Postal Square Building, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. All seminar participants and international visitors must enter the Postal Square Building through the First Street, NE entrance (between Massachusetts Avenue and G Street, NE) across from Union Station. BLS employees are not allowed to escort visitors into the building at the Ceremonial Entrance (North Capitol Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NE).
Click here for directions to the BLS. The staff of the Division of International Technical Cooperation may be reached by telephone at (202) 691-5666 or by fax at (202) 691-7900.
What are BLS security procedures?
Everyone is required to show photo identification, such as a passport, to gain entry into the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After verification, visitors will be screened with x-ray and metal detection equipment.
Will I have Internet access during training?
The training center is equipped with computers with Internet access, for the exclusive use of seminar participants. These computers can be used to write reports, practice techniques learned in seminar workshops, use the Internet, and send and receive e-mail.
Last modified: November 21, 2012