Urges states to develop post-secondary data systems to identify effective programs that enhance education and training opportunities for low-income, low-skilled workers.
"This policy brief examines the issues associated with creating and improving state postsecondary, adult education and workforce development data systems. It examines possible barriers states may encounter, profiles effective state systems, and offers policy recommendations to help state advocates build or improve upon data system efforts" (p. 2). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

RECOMMENDED ACTION STEPS: • Identify your states existing data systems now. Cultivate state leadership that will work across multiple agencies to advance the creation and management of data systems that will help improve postsecondary and workforce program performance. • Build a strong policy case for how data can improve system performance and continue to build an appetite for data. Help leaders envision the possible and address political concerns. And where strong data systems already exist, effectively communicate findings and implications of analysis and research to persuade stakeholders to act. Identify your strategic goals for student performance improvement and encapsulate them in a storyline that succinctly conveys what you are trying to accomplish and why. • Develop a compelling message that can be delivered clearly and concisely. Focus leader’s attention on the importance of goals, purpose and core analytics: what do you want to know, for what purpose? • Identify research questions that if answered could help advance your strategic goals; involve key stakeholders such as college personnel, other state agency staff, and governors or legislative staff in defining and helping to prioritize the research questions. If there are efforts already underway in your state to strengthen data systems and capacities, become part of the process and a valued partner. • Identify a guiding coalition of leaders who can capture the states attention. • Help define the data sets that will be needed make sure that data about low-income workers is part of the system. • Find innovative ways to tackle the privacy and data sharing issues, and highlight states that have been successful. • Support the development of longitudinal data systems so individual progress and success can be tracked over time. • Promote incentives or rewards for improvement, thus necessitating that state workforce and postsecondary data systems can measure achievement similar to the Student Achievement Initiative in Washington state. • Engage stakeholders at the state and college levels in interpreting the findings and considering the implications for policy and practice; encourage colleges to conduct further research to diagnose the causes of the gaps in student achievement identified and formulate solutions based on that diagnosis. “(p. 10-11). (Abstractor: Author)