Coleridge Initiative

Democratizing our Data:
A Challenge to Invest in Data and Evidence-based Policy

For questions, email: [email protected]


This past year has yielded unprecedented changes in the economy and has underscored the need for timely, local, and useful data and evidence to inform education and workforce policy. Americans  of all backgrounds  need to know where to get the education, training, and skills for well-paying jobs with mobility and opportunity.

Over the past four years, the Coleridge Initiative has offered over 25 training classes to over 750 participants representing hundreds of federal, state, and local agencies. The goal was to create an innovation sandbox in which highly skilled agency staff could use data across state and agency lines to address important programmatic questions identified by agency leaders. Working in teams, participants in each class are trained to use the data and the tools to innovate and create evidence-driven approaches to answering these questions. 

Many innovative ideas have been generated as a result. Some have already generated new insights. In one example, as a result of a class project in Ohio, KYStats developed a new MultiState Postsecondary Report that is the first of its kind to eliminate understanding gaps or lack of knowledge in jobs and salary data. Many states are now working with Kentucky to reuse the code and approach in their own states. In another example, as a result of a series of classes, Illinois developed an Unemployment to Reemployment Portal for the use of the Governor’s office and workforce boards. The code and approach is also being reused and deployed in multiple states: a recent set of training classes funded by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration resulted in over 120 participants from almost 30 states learning how to apply the approach.

The Data Challenge is inspired by the potential of these ideas – and many others  to produce new measures, insights, and evaluation. The following links provide brief overviews of the approaches in previous classes in five main categories.

  1. Education to Workforce Transitions
  2. Unemployment to Reemployment Pathways
  3. Workforce Transitions for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
  4. Workforce Transitions for Social Benefit Recipients
  5. Measurement

The final projects were presented at the end of each training class and a full report has been delivered to the sponsor and the data providers. More information on each project is available upon request, and with the approval of the sponsor and data provider. Contact [email protected] with any questions.