All posts by Brendan Buff

State Data Sharing Initiative Reports Released!

We invite you to learn more about how to improve your economic and workforce development outcomes by using evidence to drive decision making.  The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) just released the report, “Advancing State Data Sharing for Better Economic and Workforce Development” and the tool “Legal Guide to Administrative Data Sharing for Economic and Workforce Development” that offer important lessons for states interested in enabling the responsible use of administrative records for program research and analysis.

Access to administrative records – wage records and corporate tax filings – can be invaluable for making evidence-based policy decisions.  Yet accessing those records can be difficult.  During the past 18 months CREC has been working with five states to determine solutions to data sharing challenges as part of its State Data Sharing Initiative.  The lessons learned are:

  1. States can “get to yes” by addressing cultural barriers to data sharing
  2. Clearly articulate the laws governing data sharing
  3. States need to dedicate resources to data sharing efforts
  4. Data sharing advocates must manage up and down to gain and sustain support
  5. Standardizing data sharing processes creates meaningful progress

The Legal Guide covers common issues when negotiating an agreement to securely share data and sets out guidance that facilitate the responsible use of administrative data for evidence-based policy making to the full extent of federal and state laws.

CREC has worked on the State Data Sharing Initiative over the past two years to inform more rigorous analysis of economic and workforce development programs by better understanding the barriers to accessing administrative records responsibly.  The project included research on the legislation guiding data sharing in all 50 states, assessments of improvements to evaluation efforts that fully respect taxpayer privacy, and technical assistance to five states that agreed to take significant action on their data sharing policies over an 18-month engagement.  All the research can be found on the website: www.statedatasharing.org.

In addition to these two papers, the State Data Sharing Initiative website also includes a variety of resources including:

  • A summary of key legislative language in all 50 states, plus companion federal legislation
  • A research report on the barriers to data sharing in the 50 states
  • A legal guide for preparing data sharing agreement based on frequently asked questions
  • A toolkit of case studies and examples of successes linked to data sharing
  • A list of relevant publications about a variety of data sharing and management issues
  • An executive highlights report summarizing lessons learned from the project

Check out this free resource, brought to you by CREC with funding support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

APDU Conference: Call for Proposals

The 2018 APDU Annual Conference (to be held on July 17-18, 2018 in Arlington, VA) invites APDU members and friends to submit proposals for presentations and panels related to our theme, “Shaping the Future:  The Promise of Public Data to Inform Public & Private Sector Decisions”. The Conference will bring together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations across a wide variety of data and statistical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Statistical policy
  • Data collection, production, and delivery
  • Emerging data issues
  • New data sources and tools
  • Relevant data dissemination technologies

We invite proposals on any topic relating to public data, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper.  In keeping with the theme of the conference, our interest is in how changes in public data, research techniques, and other advances will impact the way decisions are made in both the public and private sectors.  For the 2018 Conference, we are interested in presentations focused on:

Navigating the Public Data Landscape

  • Identifying the Data You Need
  • Preserving Data Privacy and Security
  • Responsibly Sharing and Disseminating Data

Realizing the Potential of Public Data

  • Linking Datasets
  • Selecting Sound Methods for Analysis
  • Developing Effective Data Visualizations
  • Leveraging Administrative Data

Deploying Data to Inform Decisions

  • Using Public Data in the Private Sector
  • Using Public Data in the State, Local, and Nonprofit Sector
  • Informing Evidence-Based Policymaking

Submissions may be for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). APDU may accept portions of a panel proposal to combine with other presenters. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of work, relevance to APDU Conference attendees, uniqueness of topic and presenter, and thematic fit.

Please submit the proposal document available at this link to Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net. Please submit proposals by Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Proposers will be notified of our decision by February 28, 2018.

IMPORTANT DATES

Deadline:
January 31, 2018
Notification Date:
February 28, 2018
Registration Opens:
March 1, 2018
APDU Annual Conference:
July 17-18, 2018

 

Create your own user feedback survey

Changes to the ACS

The Census Bureau has announced its intention to revise the American Community Survey for 2019. Click here to view the file, with relevant changes highlighted.

You can view the Federal Register notice summarizing the changes here. Please consider submitting a comment if you have any concerns.

APDU Election Candidate Statements

The APDU election is underway and two candidates are up for election for Secretary and At-Large positions on the Board of Directors: Sarah Burgoyne of Claritas and Ron Nakao of Stanford University. See below their candidate statements:

Sarah Burgoyne
Director of Data Science
Claritas

As the Director of Data Science at Claritas, I lead our demographic and cartographic team in the use of data from the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey to produce small area population estimates. Prior to working at Claritas, I received my Master’s Degree in Sociology with a specialization in Applied Demography from Bowling Green State University. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Sociology with a specialization in Family Demography, also at BGSU.

Being in the early stages of my career, I believe I bring a unique perspective to APDU, which allows me to work with other board members to form the next generation of public data users. As a member of the board, I will continue to represent the private sector as a champion for public data. Specifically related to the role of Secretary, I seek to continue serving APDU by providing minutes for meetings and helping chair sessions at the annual conference.

Ron Nakao
Economics, Data and Computational Social Science Librarian
Stanford Libraries

At Stanford, my duties include building the economics collection (data, books, journals, online resources), and consulting with faculty, research staff, and students on our collections and the use of statistical software. i serve as Stanford’s representative to ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research), the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and the DDI (Data Documentation Initiative) Alliance. I am a long-time member of IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information, Service, and Technology), and have previously served on the ICPSR Council and DDI Alliance Board.

APDU is a unique resource and advocate for federal statistical data. I was particularly impressed with the networking and cross-fertilization of ideas and work by attendees (including myself) at our last conference. I hope to bring my experience and connections in the academic/library world to the APDU Board and am particularly interested in helping to expand the connections and participation by the academic/library community with APDU.

APDU Annual Business Meeting

In a time of change in the federal statistical system and the federal government generally, APDU has been keeping you informed and prepared. Our Weekly Updates, annual conference, and webinars have kept us busy during 2017. Want to know what’s in store for 2018?

APDU is excited to announce our Annual Business Meeting on December 12, 2017, at 3 pm EST. The meeting will be convened by webinar and open to all APDU members.

The APDU Board of Directors will report on the state of the association, present this year’s accomplishments and goals for the coming year, and answer your questions. 

Agenda:

Call to Order & Welcome

Year in Review

  • Key Accomplishments
  • Annual Conference Report
  • Webinars
  • Advocacy Activities

APDU Administration

  • Bylaw Changes
  • Financial Report
  • Fall 2017 Election

Looking Ahead

  • Annual Conference
  • Upcoming Trainings and Webinars
  • Get Involved With APDU

Q&A

Trump Administration Indicates Support of 2020 Census

The Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on October 12 provided some reasons for optimism regarding the Trump Administration’s support of the Census Bureau. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified before the committee and voiced support for appropriate funding of the 2020 Census. Further, the Administration plans to hire a comparable number of enumerators to the 2010 Census, which will be much more efficient due to the use of technology.  If you’d like to learn more about planning for the 2020 Census, consider attending the 2020 Census Quarterly Program Management Review on October 27 at 12:30 pm.

TAKEAWAYS:
  • The Census Bureau must focus on modernizing data collection and delivering necessary IT infrastructure in the most cost-effective manner.
  • The Census Bureau must ensure delivery of critical IT systems for 2018 end-to-end testing. Delays for delivery of critical IT systems pose significant risk for the security and the success of the census.
  • Secretary Ross provided a new life-cycle cost estimate of $15.6 billion dollars, an increase of $3.3 billion from the 2015 cost estimate.
  • Increasing costs are a concern. The Committee will monitor the Census Bureau’s management of the 2020 Census.

APDU Elections Committee Asks for Nominations

The Elections Committee is governed by the APDU By-Laws, Article 5.  The Committee is preparing a slate of candidates for Secretary  and an At-Large Board Member. Incumbent Secretary Sarah Burgoyne has decided to seek a 2nd term. Erin Holve, currently an At-Large Board Member, is not seeking a 2nd term.  The Elections Committee welcomes your suggestions as we prepare a slate of candidates. The deadline for suggestions to the Election Committee is October 31. Please send your nominations to Warren Brown at warren.brown@cornell.edu.

APDU Conference 2017: Exploring Data Resources for Addressing Policy Issues

By Elizabeth Nash, APDU Board Member

One of the many benefits of serving as the co-chair of this year’s APDU Conference was having the opportunity to review submissions for panels and presentations in our first-ever call for entries for the conference.  There were so many excellent submissions that it was very difficult to choose, but the conference committee did a wonderfully disciplined job of selecting the entries that aligned closely with our theme of communicating data around data innovation, integration and communication.  The conference committee had the enviable task of determining keynotes and assembling panels for the breakout sessions.  The breakout sessions are often one of the most useful aspects of the conference for me as the manager of data at PolicyMap, due to the fruitful discussions about using public data to understand public policy issues.

Which is why I chose to moderate and helped to design the breakout session, “Innovative Approaches to Understanding Our Most Pressing Public Policy Issues: Lessons in Education and Opportunity.”  The panel explored the use of public data in policy topics such as the opioid epidemic, homelessness and education and opportunity disparities.  Our panel consisted of three prominent professionals from progressive national think tanks and foundations. They discussed their research and recommendations for addressing issues faced by communities across the US.  They also discussed their methodologies that rely on publicly accessible data, as well as the materials produced by these initiatives that help policy practitioners, state and local governments, and advocates to address issues related to opportunity, well-being, education and public health.

 

Jennifer Thornton, Manager of Data as a Strategic Asset at Pew Charitable Trusts, discussed solving public policy problems with administrative data using five action steps that state governments can employ to address large-scale challenges. Jennifer explained that as states increasingly share their data across programs and agencies, and perform advanced analytics, they can attain a more accurate understanding of their resources, a more comprehensive picture of how services are used, and a greater understanding of the root cause of issues. Jennifer described the findings from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ 50-state study (forthcoming, will be available here) that focuses on the productive and creative ways states have used administrative data to address problems and inform decision-making. Jennifer shared compelling data success stories and data-driven strategies that a few states have used that others can adopt to solve public problems.

 

Laura Speer, Associate Director Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, discussed their perennially successful Kids Count Data Center and Data Book, and she described the annual media uptake of their resources around child well-being that her group packages and provides.  Laura talked about Annie E. Casey’s Race for Results project that focuses on children’s opportunity and success milestones across racial and ethnic groups.  Laura illuminated the necessity of public data in her work, as Kids Count relies on sources including the National Survey of Children’s Health, the National Vital Statistics System, the U.S. Census and the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey.

 

Courtney Brown, Vice President of Strategic Impact at Lumina Foundation, talked about Lumina Foundation’s dedication to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60% by 2025, their “Goal 2025.”  She explained that for Lumina Foundation to achieve this goal, they need to be able to understand the current education levels and certifications of Americans, and they need to track those data over time.  She discussed the pivotal role of the American Community Survey’s postsecondary attainment data in their new online data tool, A Stronger Nation.  She also discussed the challenge with finding data related to high-quality certificates and other credentials because those achievements are not included in the standard Census ACS categories.

The panel wrapped up with an engaging exchange around each of the panelists’ topic areas, as well as a conversation about the growing appetite for data and data visualization and packaging, as researchers increasingly rely on publicly available tools to address public policy issues.

This blog post also appears in the PolicyMap Mapchats blog.  Check out Mapchats for another view of the conference.

Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking Report Release

On Thursday, September 7, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking released their mandatory report. The report includes over 20 recommendations to facilitate the sharing of data across agencies and the evaluation of federal programs. Click here to read the report.

APDU is in the process of developing a response to the report’s release, and we would like your input. If you have any thoughts on how you’d like APDU to represent your interests as a data user, please contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net.