23 Sep 2022

Press Release

Experts Assessing the Real-Life Value of Training of Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers

Washington, D.C. – As global demand for scientists and engineers scales up, so are questions around the availability and value of U.S. training opportunities for foreign-born scientists and engineers to become part of the U.S. workforce.

To help answer some of those questions, the Coleridge Initiative, a non-profit organization that works with government agencies to ensure effective use of data in public decision-making, hosted a conference, Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers: Creating a New Data Infrastructure in the U.S.

The two-day conference, Sept. 21-22, served as the inaugural meeting of a team of researchers from the Coleridge Initiative, the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University, and the Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services, Division of Information Systems, ARData.

The conference is part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation through America’s DataHub to establish the foundations of a national data infrastructure to address gaps in knowledge about foreign-born scientists and engineers in the United States. The project seeks to establish the feasibility of creating a platform that would link state-level education data to individual and firm-level employment data.

“This project is an opportunity to test linking federal and state level data assets to establish the foundations of a national data infrastructure,” said Dr. Ahu Yildirmaz, president and chief executive officer of the Coleridge Initiative. “With this initiative, we will be able to address unanswered questions about foreign-born scientists and engineers in the United States. From this, we hope to demonstrate a new tool to help mold data-driven policy choices.” 

Participants in the conference expressed optimism moving forward:

“I am pleased to be here with our partners from the Coleridge Initiative and the states of Arkansas and Kentucky to watch my colleague Stephanie Walsh present our work on creating a data model for the Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers grant project,” said Sean Simone, Acting Executive Director & Director, Research and Evaluation for the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University

“This important work can serve as a model for federal and state data sharing partnerships to answer the difficult policy questions at the local and national levels,” Simone said

“The convening was an energizing and productive event bringing together a diverse group of experts for productive collaboration towards establishment of a national data infrastructure for secure research and evidence-based policy and practice,” said Robert McGough, Deputy Chief Data Officer for the State of Arkansas.  “The ARData team is humbled and appreciative to have the opportunity to contribute to this pivotal effort through research and development on highly scalable, privacy-preserving record linkage methods to address the specific challenges of supporting administrative data research on foreign born scientists and engineers.”

“The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) is excited to expand the work we began with the Multistate Postsecondary Workforce Dashboard and delve into building a linked data infrastructure to help us better understand education and workforce flows for foreign-born scientists and engineers with our partners the Coleridge Initiative, Arkansas and New Jersey,” said Dr. Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director, KYSTATS.

“This work will allow us to understand the current data landscape available to answer key questions and the available opportunities to improve it,” Dr. Nathan Barrett, Vice President of Programs and Development, Coleridge Initiative.

About the Coleridge Initiative

The Coleridge Initiative is a nonprofit organization working with governments to ensure that data are more effectively used for public decision-making. Coleridge works with government agencies to create value by providing public agencies with the opportunity to enhance their workforce data literacy in order to develop better policies for the public good. They facilitate the development of collaborations within and across states allowing for new technologies to be developed through the secure access to and sharing of confidential microdata. They do this by providing a platform to securely link confidential data within and across states and agencies, and by providing training classes to agency staff. Their platform is the Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF) which is a secure, FedRAMP-certified, cloud-based environment that enables government agencies to link their longitudinal data with other states and agencies. For more information about Coleridge, the ADRF, and their training program, visit: www.coleridgeinitiative.org