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?

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 decisionmakers 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.

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, and to demonstrate how such data can be used in policy and program development and decisionmaking.

What is the training methodology?

Specialists from BLS, other U.S. Government agencies, and international agencies 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 necessary texts and reference materials at the beginning of the seminar. Some optional materials may be recommended for purchase. 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 hire simultaneous interpretation services for many languages on a contractual basis. The average cost of hiring an interpreter is $600 per day (cost will vary depending on language required). Multiple participants requiring translation in the same language may share the cost of interpretation. Nominations for non-English speaking participants must be received by BLS at least 4 weeks before the seminar starts, so interpretation services may be obtained and sponsors notified of the cost they will be required to pay.

What are the program costs and financial arrangements?

TABLE: Training Program Costs

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 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 total tuition fee as well as the interpretation fee when a participant requires interpretation services. Allowances for housing and meals should be paid directly to participants; a minimum of $200 per day is recommended. Participants also should receive medical insurance allowances directly. Book allowances are optional.

A seminar may have a field trip. Transportation costs for field trips are included in tuition. However, participants will be responsible for their hotel and meal costs when on field trips. Most participants still have lodging costs in Washington while they travel because they are required to sign short-term housing leases for the duration of their training. BLS will inform participants of the exact cost of the field trip lodging when confirming enrollment in a training program.

All participants should be furnished round-trip tickets from home to Washington, DC. Do not include money for participants or medical insurance in tuition payments to BLS.

Is medical insurance required?

All participants must have medical insurance because of the high cost of medical care in the United States. Sponsors should arrange for medical coverage in advance. Otherwise, the participant will be required to purchase commercial coverage upon arrival at the BLS. The cost of commercial medical insurance depends upon the participant's age and length of program. For example, a standard plan for participants under the age of 70 years of age is available for $50 for trips up to 14 days or $89 per month. Additional coverage is available for persons 70-80 years of age.

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). 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.

A seminar may include a field trip to another city within the United States. See What are the program costs and financial arrangements?

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, gain knowledge of the Internet, and send and receive e-mail.


Last modified: October 12, 2006