Category Archives: Blog

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Expanding Training on Data and Technology to Improve Communities

Local government and nonprofit staff need data and technology skills to regularly monitor local conditions and design programs that achieve more effective outcomes. Tailored training is essential to help them gain the knowledge and confidence to leverage these indispensable tools. In Spring 2016, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and Microsoft’s Civic Technology Engagement Group partnered to explore how to expand community training on data and technology for government and nonprofit staff members.

Based on insights from the field, the authors offer four recommendations to assist government agencies, elected leaders, nonprofit executives, and local funders in empowering workers with the necessary training to use data and technology to benefit their communities.  Specifically, community stakeholders should collectively work to expand the training available to government and nonprofit staff; foster opportunities for sharing training materials and lessons; identify allies who can enhance and support local training efforts; and assess the local landscape of data and technology training.

The project offers a new set of resources to help promote the expansion of training to a variety of local actors.

  • Brief: A summary of the current training landscape and key action steps to ensure that local government and nonprofit staff have the data and technology skills needed for their civic missions.
  • Guide: A document for organizations interested in providing community data and technology training, including advice on how to assess local needs, develop training content, and fund these efforts.
  • Catalog: Example training descriptions and materials collected from various cities for local adaptation.
  • Fact sheet: A summary of results from a survey on current training content and practices.

2017 APDU Data Viz Awards

APDU Data Viz Awards: Call for Visualizations!

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is pleased to announce our second annual Data Viz Awards! APDU is once again soliciting creative and meaningful graphic designs that use publicly-available data (for example, data from the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics) to convey a compelling point or story.

About the Award

APDU started the Data Viz Awards in response to our members’ growing need to communicate their data and research to a variety of audiences using graphic technologies and cutting edge techniques. APDU hopes to engage data users and help them understand and share data for analysis and decision making.

The Data Viz Awards take pride in recognizing eye-catching and easy-to-comprehend images building on publicly-available data. Click here to view the award-winning visualizations from the 2016 APDU Data Viz Awards.

Winners will be invited to present at the  2017 APDU Annual Conference on September 14, 2017 in Arlington, VA. Winners in the “Researchers & Students” category will also receive a free APDU membership for 2018.

What We’re Looking For

APDU will select creative and compelling images, in four categories:

  1. State/Local Government;
  2. Federal Government;
  3. Private firms, which can include consultancies, advocacy groups, or any other private firms using public data; and
  4. Researchers & Students, which can include any visuals published or formally presented by researchers or students in higher education, think tanks, research organizations, or similar.

Submissions must have been made publicly available between June 2016 and May 2017. We are accepting submissions that appeared in a published research paper or article either in print or on the web, in a public presentation, as a stand-alone infographic, as a website feature, and/or as another official product.

Deadline: Friday, July 7, 2017

Help Protect Workplace Safety Data

Two former commissioners of the Bureau of Labor Statistics representing both political parties wrote to the leaders of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) opposing the repeal of the OSHA injury recordkeeping rule. This rule requires the collection of injury records of employers dating back five years. Please inform your networks about this important rule and tell them to contact the HELP committee to inform them about the value of this data.

Click here to read the letter.

President’s Budget Overview for Public Data

On Thursday, March 16th, the Trump Administration released its long awaited first budget proposal. What will this mean for researchers, businesses, and local, state, and federal agencies? APDU Executive Director CEO Ken Poole provides an overview of President Trump’s proposed budget changes related to economic development and federal statistical programs.

  • Provides $1.5 billion, an increase of more than $100 million, for the U.S. Census Bureau to continue preparations for the 2020 Decennial Census. This additional funding prioritizes fundamental investments in information technology and field infrastructure, which would allow the bureau to more effectively administer the 2020 Decennial Census.
  • Consolidates the mission, policy support, and administrative functions of the Economics and Statistics Administration within the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Department of Commerce’s Office of the Secretary.
  • Reduces funding for USDA’s statistical capabilities, while maintaining core Departmental analytical functions, such as the funding necessary to complete the Census of Agriculture.

Help Support Federal Data!

With a new Congress and Administration, it is important to reiterate to policymakers the importance of federal data programs. Click here to find a letter asking members of Congress to support and fund Federal statistics.

*Those signing as individuals will have their organizations listed for identification purposes only.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: March 15, 2017

List of Signatories

APDU Welcomes New Directors

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is excited to announce the election and re-election of four outstanding individuals to its Board of Directors. Congratulations are due to President Cliff Cook, Vice President Kevin McAvey, and At-Large Directors Elizabeth Nash and Mary Jo Hoeksema for their election. Cliff Cook was our past Vice President, while Elizabeth Nash has been elected to a second term as an At-Large Director. Kevin McAvey and Mary Jo Hoeksema are new additions to the Board of Directors. Warren Brown retains his seat on the Board of Directors as Immediate Past President.

Below is the new Board of Directors:

APDU Officers:

  • President: Cliff Cook, City of Cambridge
  • Vice President: Kevin McAvey, Manatt Health
  • Secretary: Sarah Burgoyne, Nielsen
  • Treasurer: Mauricio Ortiz, Bureau of Economic Analysis

At-Large Directors:

  • At-Large Board member: Elizabeth Nash, PolicyMap
  • At-Large Board member: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers
  • At-Large Board member: Kathryn Pettit, Urban Institute
  • At-Large Board member: Erin Holve, Department of Health Care Finance, the Government of the District of Columbia

Immediate Past President

  • Warren Brown, Cornell University

APDU would like to thank former Immediate Past President Bob Scardamalia of RLS Demographics and At-Large Director Steve Pierson of the American Statistical Association for their service, as they have completed their two terms on the Board following several years of excellent leadership. While we will miss their contributions, we look forward to continuing to work with them as members.  APDU is excited about the direction our new board leadership will take us in 2017 and beyond. To hear more about our new president’s vision, we encourage you to listen to Cliff Cook’s presentation at the recent APDU business meeting, archived here.

2016 APDU Accomplishments

Over the past 12 months, the Association of Public Data Users (APDU) has been busy providing members with the information, training, and advocacy that supports your important work. Our Annual Conference in Alexandria, VA was bigger than ever, we held our first ever training course, and our webinar series educated hundreds of attendees on a variety of topics. We are pleased to present to you APDU’s accomplishments from the past year.

Conference

  • Gathered over 180 attendees and speakers in Alexandria, VA to for a two-day conference on statistical policy; data collection, production, and delivery; emerging data issues; relevant data dissemination technologies; and more.
  • Held the inaugural APDU Data Viz Awards, given to exemplary data visualizations from seven organizations across the country that use public data.

Communication

  • Produced 48 APDU Weekly newsletters, informing APDU members about developments in federal data programs, novel data visualizations, data publications, and other data initiatives.
  • Introduced the APDU Job Board, updating members on opportunities in federal data agencies and the organizations that make use of publicly available data.

Training

  • Developed APDU’s first ever training course, the well-attended Data Viz Made Simple event. Held in Arlington, VA on September 15-16 immediately following the 2016 APDU Annual Conference, the training was at full capacity and received exceedingly positive reviews.
  • Produced 14 webinars on topics including the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, Current Population Survey, and the underreporting of young children in federal statistical programs.

Data Advocacy

  • Provided opportunities for comment on nearly 200 federal actions in the Federal Register through the APDU Weekly.
  • Produced a webinar in collaboration with the Census Project on the Census Data Advocacy Toolkit to help state and local organizations build coalitions in support of an accurate census and comprehensive, reliable ACS.
  • Collaborated with Friends of BLS, the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), and the Census Project in advocacy efforts.
  • Participated in several Capitol Hill visits to Congressional staff representing the interests of statistical data users.
  • Signed on to several letters advocating for proper funding for Census, BLS, and BEA and supporting efforts to ensure the ACS remains mandatory.

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policy Wants to Hear from You!

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policy wants to hear from you. The Commission is soliciting input from stakeholders on issues relevant to the Commission’s charge, established in Public Law 114-140. They are interested in hearing about data access issues, barriers to research, issues related to the capacity of states to engage in data and evidence building and issues related to privacy and confidentiality.

There are two ways to provide your input to the Commission:

Request for Comments – The Commission has an open Request for Comments published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2016, and will continue to accept comments through December 14, 2016. To submit your comments, please visit see the full request here or linked from www.cep.gov.

Public Hearings – The Commission’s public hearings are open opportunities for any interested stakeholders to submit a written statement and provide a 5-minute oral statement to members of the Commission, along with Q&A. There are two upcoming public hearings scheduled, one on January 5, 2017 in Chicago, IL and February 9, 2017 in San Francisco, CA. To sign up for a speaking slot at either hearing, please email us at Input@cep.gov with your name, affiliation, written statement and 2-3 sentence abstract. If you have a written statement you’d like to submit, but cannot make it to the hearing in person, you are welcome to submit that statement to regardless to Input@cep.gov.

To learn more about the Commission, please visit www.cep.gov and to sign up for the Commission’s email list, please contact them at events@cep.gov.

APDU Annual Business Meeting and State of the Association

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, webinars, and even a new training course have kept us busy during 2016. Want to know what’s in store for 2017?

APDU is excited to announce our Annual Business Meeting on December 6, 2016, 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.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

AGENDA

Call to Order & Welcome
• Key Accomplishments
• Annual Conference Report
• Webinars
• Data Viz Made Simple Training
• Advocacy Activities

Fall 2016 Election

Financial Report

Looking Ahead
• Public Data University
• Annual Conference
• Training
• Get Involved With APDU

Q&A

APDU Conference: Building Demand for Open Data

by Cliff Cook, APDU Board Member and Planning Information Manager, City of Cambridge, Massaschusetts

Recent years have seen an explosion in the interest in open data at all levels of government.  Open data can serve as a game changer when comes to the relationship between the public, the business community and government.  A variety of actors can pose and readily answer questions that, at best, previously required a deep dive into paper files or unstructured electronic documents.

This ideal picture of open data both ignores some realities and raises questions.  Creating and maintaining open data can prove a challenge for agencies without sufficient staffing or a culture of openness.  Structuring data in a manner that is useful to actors outside the agency can take a significant amount of staff time.  Updating open data sets is not always as easy as a ”click of the button”.  The data made available are often the “low hanging fruit” and may or may not match up with demand.

What strategies do governments use to match open data they are able and willing to supply with demand from the public, from the business sector and from hacktivists? What steps can governments proactively take to match the supply of data provided with user demand?  How do we maintain interest to ensure that we can support the civic infrastructure needed to sustain open data efforts over the long haul?

The 2016 APDU conference will be visiting these questions during the session on “Building Demand for Open Data”.  Panelists will include Anthony Curio from Summit Consulting, a firm with deep experience in federal data topics, Stefaan Verhulst from the GovLab at New York University, author of the recent report on Open Data Impact, and Rebecca Williams from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence, who works with cities across the US to more promote the use of data.  The panel will be moderated by Cliff Cook, a planner with the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts and a member of the community’s Open Data Review Board.