Coleridge Initiative

National Convening: Jobs Data for Evidence-based Policy

Building a sustainable, locally-driven, national data infrastructure

March 3 - 5, 2021

Virtual Convening

Join leaders from across the country, representing state and federal governments, as well as philanthropic foundations and professional associations, for a dynamic two-day convening celebrating success and mapping a strategy to grow data access, stewardship, and analysis for evidence-based policymaking.

LEARN how states have worked together to develop regional collaboratives around a framework of training, shared products, data standards and governance.

SHARE your expertise and insights to the development of a national agenda and a sustainable, locally driven, national data infrastructure.

GROW the community of data-oriented, evidence-based policymakers and program administrators. 

ACCELERATE data-driven research and policies supporting program management, policy development, and scholarly research.


March 3 – Plenary March 4 – Working Groups March 5 – Regional Collaboratives
11:30 am – 12:30 pm EST
Welcome and Setting the Stage led by Coretta Pettway, State of Ohio, Scott Sanders, NASWA, and Julia Lane, the Coleridge Initiative
11:00 – 12:15 pm EST
Unemployment to Reemployment Portal, collaborative discussion led by George Putnam, Illinois Department of Employment Security and Diana Barrett, Indiana Department of Workforce Development
11:00 – 12:15 pm EST
MidWest Collaborative Governance, led by Josh Hawley, Ohio State University, Jason Owen Smith, University of Michigan
12:45 – 1:45 pm EST
Panel: Addressing the jobs crisis with evidence and data led by Nancy Potok, former Chief Statistician of the United States, and Anna Hui, Director of Labor, State of Missouri
12:30 – 1:45 pm EST
Education and cross-state workforce flows, collaborative discussion led by Jessica Cunningham, Kentucky Stats and Lesley Hirsch, New Jersey Department of Labor
 12:30 — 1:45 pm EST
Regional Collaboratives, led by Adam Leonard, Texas Workforce Commission, Alex Hall Bovee, Colorado Department of Labor, and Sean Simone (NJ)
2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Panel: Collaborative Achievements: Training, Data Products and Data Models led by George Putnam, State of Illinois, Jessica Cunningham, State of Kentucky, and Pam Gerassimides, NASWA
2:00 – 3:15 pm EST
Training and Curriculum, collaborative discussion led by Pam Gerassimides, NASWA and Frauke Kreuter, University of Maryland and the Coleridge Initiative
3:15 – 4:15 pm EST
View from the Philanthropic Sector
 3:30 — 4:30 pm EST
Report back and next steps


About The Convening

The convening will highlight the demonstrated success of a collaboration of state workforce agencies and universities across the country. 

Why Now?
The current COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting employment crisis have made it clear:  state and local data are key to understanding and responding to local social and economic challenges.

While state data systems end at state borders, there is massive potential to develop the cross-state infrastructure needed to collect, mine and use administrative data; share evidence-based practices; and establish common measures and research tools.  

To build sustainable state data infrastructure through partnerships and national support

Highlight tangible evidence about the value of state and federal data

About The Midwest Collaborative

The Midwest Collaborative is a coalition of state workforce and education agencies working in partnership with the Coleridge Initiative and regional university partners to design a system that enables individual states to answer critical questions that are relevant to society. State partners set the priorities, contribute data and establish the agenda for research and data products.

Founding states include: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee


The convening will emphasize three themes: Training, Data Products and Data Governance.

  Training Classes


The Coleridge Initiative offers training programs in Applied Data Analytics for public sector researchers and program practitioners. During the training, state teams use real-world data and a secure data environment to answer critical questions their agencies have identified. The curriculum improves participants’ skills in data management, data analysis, and privacy protections. To date, over 500 professionals from federal, state, and local government have participated in the Applied Data Analytics training programs, leading to an extensive array of practical data science results for government.

The training programs respond directly to state staff requests for greater capacity to employ cutting-edge analytical skills, with a goal of supporting policy and program development, and better data tools and products for customers.

Click here to view the types of in-demand questions projects have addressed
Click here to view sample class posters on research projects on IndianaOhio, and Missouri.

Click here to view additional training information

  Featured Data Products

(Draft. More materials will be added in the coming months.)

UI Claims Dashboard

States in the Midwest Collaborative are working across state borders to create real-time labor market information that is critical for local pandemic response. This interactive tool draws in the latest de-identified UI claims data, processed through the secure ADRF environment. Through visualizations, state staff can

  • Easily identify which local labor markets and categories of workers are being hit hardest,
  • Estimate the economic impacts of job loss, and
  • Understand the composition of the UI claimants themselves, by demographic, education, industry, and occupational characteristics.

Click here to view a presentation by Illinois Labor Market Information Director, Dr. George Putnam, and Indiana Assistant Director of Research and Analysis, Diana Barrett, showcasing how they have worked across state lines to identify which local labor markets were hit the hardest by COVID-19 induced layoffs, analyze the impact on those economies, and start to build a sense of composition of the claimants themselves, by analyzing demographic, industry, and occupation data.

KY Higher Ed Dashboard

The Multi-State Post-Secondary Feedback Report (PSFR) dashboard will empower States to better understand the employment outcomes of individuals who participated in their State’s education programs. The information presented in the Multi-State PSFR will inform State decision-making in education and workforce policy by providing employment outcome measures from multiple States’ workforce data.

The two primary goals of the prototype Multi-State PSFR dashboard are to demonstrate the value of: (1) combining administrative data from multiple States as introduced above, and (2) standardized data models in reproducing analyses across State lines.

Link to dashboard.

  Data Governance


This part of the workshop will feature presentation, discussion and ratification of a framework governance charter that addresses priorities established by MWC members in meetings held in March and November 2020. Collaborative charter development is taking place through a community-led effort anchored on a volunteer MWC working group facilitated by Josh Hawley (OH) and Jason Owen-Smith (MI). Current working group members include:

  • Alex Hall (CO)
  • Anna Hui (MO)
  • Coretta Pettaway (OH)
  • George Putnam (IL)
  • Scott Sanders (NASWA)
  • Sean Simone (NJ)

The group is exploring existing governance models and developing specific governance mechanisms. The charter is the first step toward development of appropriate formal bylaws, MOUs and other institutional arrangements and is intended to address three major sets of community needs:

  1. Protect key constituencies, activities and goals while maintaining state autonomy without “data protectionism.”
  2. Empower participants to accomplish valuable collective work that would be difficult or impossible without effective governance. The Unemployment Claims (IL) and Education to Workforce (KY/OH) dashboards developed by MWC participants offer concrete examples of the kinds of projects appropriate, community-driven governance models can enable.
  3. Optimize data stewardship to maintain state autonomy and control over data while responsibly streamlining data access and disclosure processes.

The goal is to ensure that the collaborative can support a sustainable state data infrastructure through partnerships and national support while producing products of concrete and immediate value to participating states and agencies.


This event is sponsored by Amazon, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NASWA.