California discusses data developments

By Bryan Wilson, July 13, 2016

On June 10, the California Edge Coalition held a briefing for the Legislative Workforce Policy Group on, “Data to Serve Policy, Programs, and People: Reinventing California’s Education and workforce Data Systems.”  Presenters were Bryan Wilson, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition (NSC); Dan Rounds, Deputy Director, California Workforce Development Board (CWDB); Kathy Booth, Senior Research Associate, WestEd; and Tessa de Roy, Executive Director, California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI).  Participants included legislative staff and agency officials.

As explained by Edge, states across the nation are developing data systems to answer critical policy questions, implement effective practices, and improve student and participant outcomes. California, however, lags behind most states in developing a data system that can serve these needs. The purpose of the briefing was to spur discussion and action on the next steps California should take.

Bryan discussed California’s progress compared to other states based on the Workforce Data Quality Campaign’s, Mastering the Blueprint. California, unlike most states, does not have a state longitudinal data system or a standing body to coordinate data sharing among agencies. National Skills Coalition is assisting California as part of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP).  SWEAP is helping California develop a dashboard, pathway evaluator, and supply and demand report in order to provide policymakers with cross program information they can use to better align programs with each other and with employer skill needs.

Dan explained that CWDB is leading a multi-stakeholder process to identify a data system that will meet the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s call for a cross-program data system that will support service delivery and reporting. Kathy talked about Launchboard. Sponsored by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Launchboard supplies institutions with aggregate information on the progress of career technical education students through their institutions and into the labor market. WestEd is also working on a public-facing pathway evaluator for SWEAP that will enable policymakers and others to view the information. Finally, Tessa spoke of CCGI’s development of an electronic transcript infrastructure and related information that assists K-12 students’ college and career planning and the college admission process. 

Participants at the briefing acknowledged that despite progress California has a substantial way to go to have a data system in place that can meet the needs of policymakers, administrators, and consumers. They expressed encouragement for the efforts underway and interest in supportive legislation as the efforts move forward.