California Ponders Data Upgrades

Bryan Wilson
June 15, 2016

The California Edge Coalition, a non-partisan advocacy group, held a workforce data briefing on June 10 for state legislative staff and agency officials. The event, called “Data to Serve Policy, Programs, and People: Reinventing California’s Education and Workforce Data Systems,” spurred discussion about the next steps California should take to effectively manage and use data.

Bryan Wilson, State Policy Director at National Skills Coalition, gave a presentation about California’s progress on WDQC's State Blueprint for data systems.

States across the nation are developing data systems to answer critical policy questions, implement effective practices, and improve student and participant outcomes. California, however, lags behind most states. It does not have a state longitudinal data system or a standing body to coordinate data sharing among agencies.

National Skills Coalition is assisting California as part of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP). The project is helping California develop a dashboard, pathway evaluator, and supply and demand report in order to provide policymakers with cross-program information they can use to better align programs with each other and with employer skill needs.

The briefing also included presentations by:

  • Dan Rounds, Deputy Director, California Workforce Development Board (CWDB). He explained that CWDB is leading a multi-stakeholder process to identify a data system that will meet the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s call for a cross-program data system that will support service delivery and reporting. 
  • Kathy Booth, Senior Research Associate, WestEd. She talked about Launchboard, a California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office tool that supplies institutions with aggregate information on the progress of students through career and technical education courses and into the labor market. WestEd also is working on a public-facing pathway evaluator for SWEAP that will enable policymakers and others to view the information.
  • Tessa de Roy, Executive Director, California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI). She spoke about CCGI’s development of an electronic transcript infrastructure and related information that assists with K-12 students’ college and career planning.

Participants at the briefing acknowledged that despite recent progress, California has a substantial way to go to have a data system in place that can meet the needs of policymakers, administrators, and consumers. They expressed encouragement for the efforts underway and interest in supportive legislation as the efforts move forward.

This blog is adapted from a post that originally appeared the website of National Skills Coalition. WDQC is a project of National Skills Coalition.