Coleridge Initiative

National Convening:
Jobs Data for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

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.

View and Download the 2021 National Convening: Jobs Data for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice NASWA Report here


The convening will highlight the demonstrated success of a collaboration of state workforce agencies and universities across the country, as well as tangible evidence about the value of state and federal data, and build sustainable state data infrastructure through partnerships and national support.

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.

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


March 3 – Plenary

Use this link for all March 3rd sessions
March 4 – Working Groups

Find your meeting room link in the sessions below
March 5 – Regional Collaboratives
By Invitation Only
11:30 am – 12:30 pm EST
Welcome and Setting the Stage
Coretta Pettway, State of Ohio
Scott Sanders, NASWA
Julia Lane, Coleridge Initiative

Moderator: Erin Joyce, Ohio State University
11:00 am – 12:15 pm EST Unemployment to Reemployment Portal: Next Steps 
Group Discussion of Plenary Presentation

Moderators: George Putnam, State of Illinois                                                      Diana Barrett, State of Indiana

9:00 – 11:00 am EST
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) meeting

Moderator: Susan Lounsbury, SREB
12:45 – 1:45 pm EST
Addressing the Jobs Crisis with Evidence and Data
Nancy Potok, former Chief Statistician of the United States
Anna Hui, State of Missouri
Kim Vitelli, Department of Labor

Moderator: Deniece Thomas, State of Tennessee
12:30 – 1:45 pm EST
Education and Cross-State Workforce Flows: Next Steps
Group Discussion of Plenary Presentation

Moderators: Jessica Cunningham, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Lesley Hirsch, State of New Jersey

11:00 am – 12:15 pm EST
MidWest Collaborative Governance

Moderators: Josh Hawley, Ohio State University
Jason Owen Smith, University of Michigan
2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Collaborative Achievements: Training, Data Products and Data Models
George Putnam, State of Illinois
Jessica Cunningham, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Sean Simone, Rutgers University, State of New Jersey

Moderator: Pam Gerassimides, NASWA
2:00 – 3:15 pm EST
Training and Curriculum: Next Steps
Group Discussion of Plenary Presentation

Moderators: Pam Gerassimides, NASWA
Nathan Barrett, Coleridge Initiative

 12:30 — 1:45 pm EST
Regional Collaboratives: Possible Approaches

Moderators: Adam Leonard, Texas Workforce Commission
Alex Hall Bovee, Consultant
Sean Simone, Rutgers University, New Jersey
3:15 – 4:15 pm EST
View from the Philanthropic Sector
Jenn Engle, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Brian Granger, Jupyter
Jon Sotsky, Overdeck Family Foundation
Rebecca Villarreal, Ascendium Education Group
Stu Feldman, Schmidt Futures

Moderator: Julia Lane, Coleridge Initiative
3:30 — 4:30 pm EST
Report Back
Working Groups’ Findings and Recommendations

Moderators: George Putnam, State of Illinois
Jessica Cunningham, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Nathan Barrett, Coleridge Initiative

Training Classes


The Coleridge Initiative offers training programs in Applied Data Analytics for public sector researchers and program practitioners.

The training programs respond directly to the needs of state agencies to build greater capacity in data science in order to support policy and program development.

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.

The classes are designed to build data analytic networks across agency and state lines.

Team projects have addressed various types of in-demand questions in reemploying the unemployed, reducing recidivism with employment, and returns on investment in higher education and have produced class posters on research projects in IndianaOhio, and, Missouri.

Featured Data Products

Unemployment to Reemployment Portal

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Initial Unemployment Insurance 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 hardest hit,
  • Estimate the economic impacts of job loss, and
  • Describe the demographic, education, industry, and occupational characteristics of UI claimants.

Learn more by viewing a presentation that demonstrates the uses of the Unemployment to Reemployment Portal, with the Labor Market Information Director for the State of Illinois, Dr. George Putnam, and the Assistant Director of Research and Analysis for the State of Indiana, Diana Barrett.

Multi-State Post-Secondary Dashboard

The 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 dashboard will inform state decision-making in education and workforce policy by providing employment outcome measures from multiple states’ workforce data.

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Kentucky Postsecondary Graduate Outcomes by Credential Level: Five years post-graduation, includes all
Kentucky graduates that were employed within Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, or Tennessee from academic year 2013

The two primary goals of the prototype 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. A presentation showcasing the Multi-State Post-Secondary Dashboard, with Dr. Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director for the Kentucky Center for Statistics, Dr. Josh Hawley, Director of the Ohio Education Research Center, and Dr. Sean Simone, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Rutgers’ Heldrick Center for Workforce Development, provides additional information.

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 Pettway (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.

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