The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) have together received a $750,000 grant as a first-round winner of the Democratizing our Data Challenge.
The data challenge is a program from the Coleridge Initiative and is an opportunity to build on the progress made by state and federal governments to better connect education and workforce data systems and support more equitable outcomes.
The initiative will better serve the employers, students and parents, jobseekers, and people who want to change careers and develop a career pathway plan.
The challenge was created so that government agencies can collaborate, develop, and scale tools and practices—such as dashboards, reemployment portals, training programs, and data models—with the goal of improving access to timely, local, and useful data to inform education and workforce policy.
“This work to bring more transparency to employment data is important to job seekers and employers alike because data silos have been a major impediment for both education and workforce data, “said DWD Data Officer Diana Barrett. “Initiatives like Coleridge and Democratizing our Data can help eliminate those barriers. Our project in Indiana will also work to create transparency around credentials for workers in their industry.”
DWD’s, CHE’s, and IBRC’s “Indiana Credential Outcome Transparency” proposal was one of 10 awardees chosen from 21 government agencies and seven universities.
It creates a technical blueprint for mapping the Credential Engine schema to wage, employment, and training provider data, and a prototype “Return on Credential Investment” app that enables youth, unemployed, displaced, and transitioning workers to better understand high-demand career pathways.
The Return on Credential tool is anticipated to be available to the public sometime mid-2023.
“Credential transparency allows learners to make informed decisions regarding higher education,” said Ken Sauer, CHE’s Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Academic Officer. “The Coleridge Initiative will give Hoosiers the tools and information needed to obtain high-demand degrees and credentials needed for Indiana’s jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Carol Rogers, IBRC Director, said: “What makes this especially timely for Indiana is our focus on the transportation equipment industry—automakers and suppliers, EVs, batteries and advanced processes—and we will ask employers directly about the skills and credentials they need now and into the future, while making our work on filling that pipeline more visible to them.”
The winning proposal applies a mixed method research (qualitative and quantitative analyses with predictive analytics). Most states do not undertake quantitative analysis due to costs. Also, the proposal creates a blueprint (detailed methodology and steps) to share with other states so they can replicate the process.
The Coleridge Initiative is a not-for-profit originally established at New York University that is working with governments to ensure that data are more effectively used for public decision-making. It achieves this goal by working with government agencies to create value for the taxpayer from the careful use of data, by building new technologies to enable secure access to and sharing of confidential microdata, and by training agency staff to acquire modern data skills.