State and National Data Experts Convene for WDQC’s Fourth Annual “Fly-In”

Jenna Leventoff
December 18, 2017

Last week, WDQC hosted its fourth annual Fly-In, “Energized for Evidence,” in Washington D.C. The two-day conference brought together two dozen state representatives, as well as national organizations and federal government representatives to discuss various topics related to data collection and use. 

The event featured discussions about the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, the College Transparency Act, updates from federal agencies, non-degree credential measurement, and how states can learn from each other. A couple of themes that emerged from the discussions included:

  • States Want a Greater Voice in Federal Policy: In sessions with federal policymakers and experts who had served with the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, state participants noted that their voices should be heard more often in federal policy conversations. State participants suggested that federal initiatives should learn lessons from state successes and challenges. They also suggested that new federal systems should work with state data systems, including state longitudinal data systems (SLDS), rather than replace them.
  • Measuring Credentials is a Priority for Most States: During a session on incorporating non-degree credential data into SLDS, most participants representing states said that their states are prioritizing credential attainment, and planning to take action in the next year.

On the second day of the Fly-In, in cooperation with Senator Orrin Hatch, WDQC hosted a congressional briefing, titled “Transparent Information on Postsecondary Programs: How Consumer Information Data Tools Can Help Students Make Informed Decisions for College and Career.”

At the briefing, state representatives discussed their consumer information data tools, and how the College Transparency Act can fill in the gaps left by these state tools. A student also discussed how consumer information tools benefit those trying to make informed decisions about college and careers.

The speakers were:

  • Jacqueline Keener, Assistant Secretary of Policy, Research & Strategy, North Carolina Department of Commerce, who discussed NC Tower;
  • Rachel Vilsack, Agency and Performance Manager, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, who discussed the Minnesota Graduate Employment Outcomes Tool; and,
  • Maxwell Hurst, Student at the University of Minnesota, and Director of Government & Legislative Affairs, Minnesota Student Association, who discussed how consumer information tools can help students decide what postsecondary institution to attend and what to study, as well as the value of a federal tool that would contain fifty-state data.

WDQC Director Bryan Wilson moderated the discussion and praised the states for stepping forward, while stressing the need for the College Transparency Act.   

You may also watch a Facebook recording of the briefing, courtesy of National Skills Coalition.

Workforce Data Quality Campaign is a project of National Skills Coalition.