About the Initiative

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) aims to expand access to labor market information (LMI) for data-driven decision-making in collaboration with organizations guiding students through high school, college, and career.

The Building Equitable Pathways-Communities of Practice (BEP-CoP) … promote paths from secondary school to college or career while intentionally supporting Black, Latinx, and low-income youth.

CREC is working closely with the Building Equitable Pathways-Community of Practice (BEP-CoP) hosted by Jobs for the Future. The BEP-CoP is a group of organizations working together to improve and promote paths from secondary school to college or career while intentionally supporting Black, Latinx, and low-income youth.

What is LMI? Labor Market Information (LMI) is any information about the labor market. The most commonly recognized LMI metrics are regarding employment and wages, but important LMI includes a variety of data points that describe employees, job seekers, jobs, and industries, especially for economic regions.

How is LMI being used? With the support of CREC, the BEP-CoP is identifying and using LMI data that can be helpful when they are making decisions about their educational programs to support Black, Latinx, and low-income youth in their education pathways.

What is data-driven decision-making? Data-driven decision-making entails using quality information to support decisions instead of relying on intuition, observation, or guesswork. Information sources can be qualitative or quantitative from employers, students, program participation records, or statistical surveys. It is how the information comes together that ensures its quality.

Who are the participants in BEP-CoP? The organizations participating in BEP-CoP include non-profits and government agencies. They each seek to improve education and employment outcomes for Black, Latinx, and low-income youth through advocacy, increasing program access, and implementing post-secondary training programs. Key information includes employment projections, skill requirements for jobs leading to living wages, student demographics in training program participation and persistence, wages, and employment.

What is CREC’s role? CREC’s role is to provide Technical Assistance to facilitate enhanced data-driven competencies related to building more equitable pathways. Technical Assistance includes:

  • Data management: the collection, processing, analysis, and securing of data.
  • Data governance: identifying and enforcing priorities for managing and using data as a strategic asset.
  • Data analysis and interpretation: examining data, measuring outcomes, and communicating findings.

What is Technical Assistance? CREC’s Technical Assistance involves direct support for data-related issues through facilitation, advising, connecting, providing resources and information, and capacity-building for sustainable data practices.

  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)-led workshops – Regional, local, state, and academic leaders share best practices and lessons learned, providing insight for BEP-CoP participants to move toward their own data-driven goals for equitable programming.
  • Peer group learning sessions – Once monthly, the CoP meets in two groups to share, collaborate, and discuss potential strategies and solutions to reach their individual data goals.
  • 1-on-1 tailored learning sessions –  These sessions are available for organizations to work on a problem set and focus on their specific needs. In July 2022, participants met one-on-one with an SME to work on constructing measurable research questions and designing databases for their specific research projects.
  • Resource Bank -This online repository stores templates, checklists, relevant case studies, and best practice models covering a wide range of data management, data sharing, data governance, and data analysis and interpretation topics. These documents serve as points of reference as organizations develop their data practices.
  • Case Studies – These cases showcase independent organizations and public offices that make high-quality LMI data accessible to collaborating partners and the general public and support data-informed decision-making for various stakeholders. Case studies are useful tools for BEP participants to understand how other organizations put data tools and strategies into practice with positive results.