Data is everywhere! Used to calculate the probability of our next Amazon purchase and to forecast the weather, data is helping us to make everyday decisions. This fall, students will rely on educators and advisors in their communities to make big and complex decisions about college, careers, and their future goals.
How is data being activated by students and their helpers? The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) has been working with 14 organizations helping students navigate college and career with a focus on evidence-based decision making and ensuring equity in access to promising training and career pathways. These participants in the Building Equitable Pathways – Community of Practice (BEP-CoP) are enhancing their own data literacy skills, strengthening their understanding of when data needs to be shared across organizations, and boosting their competencies around data management in order to better serve Black, Latinx, and low-income youth in their states and cities.
For example, in Central Indiana, EmployIndy provides residents, including youth, with workforce development services and trainings that prepare them for quality employment opportunities. EmployIndy staff are working to strategically consolidate more than 5 data sources for better insights into successful programming and challenges and for ongoing training and career pathway enhancements. An interactive data dashboard useful to youth advisors will illustrate the organization’s impact areas and will require data sharing partnerships with local educational institutions. Staff are seeking to connect information that will allow them to identify and act on gaps in student participation, completion, and outcomes by gender, race, and ethnicity.
In seeking to activate data for evidence-based decision making and more equitable pathways, EmployIndy and other BEP-CoP participants face procedural and political roadblocks preventing their access to information about the challenges that students are experiencing as they navigate college and career. Many BEP-CoP members state that government agency data is needed in combination with information from schools and training partners to more accurately assess if their programs improve student outcomes.
CREC provides tailored Technical Assistance, such as 1-on-1 sessions with data organization experts, to improve the activation of their data. The goal of these efforts is to enable these organizations to identify and improve promising career and educational pathways that equitably serve youth in their states and cities.
For more about the BEP-COP participants, visit Jobs for the Future: