States to Get Support for Data-Driven Initiatives
The pandemic “highlighted the critical role states play in delivering services to those who need them,” the Beeck Center notes, and, as such “state governments need more coordinated and innovative economic response and recovery efforts.”
The goal of the program is not only to give states the tools they need to make more data-informed decisions around policymaking but also to enable them to conduct “more evidence-based operations and policy making in the future.”
Applications for the program are due Aug. 13, and the Beeck Center envisions the program running from September through April 2022.
The Data Labs program will be “tailored to each state’s specific needs, allow for peer-to-peer learning, and amplify best practices and tactical examples of how other states have addressed similar challenges,” according to the center.
The program will enable participants to spend one to two hours per week participating in virtual activities as they move through the program’s phases, and there will be opportunities for asynchronous discussion and shared learning among participants.
The Beeck Center’s program managers will guide state teams through six phases:
- Defining their data challenge and figuring out the problem they are trying to solve
- Conducting an inventory of available data to determine which data states have and which data they need
- Evaluating potential solutions
- Establishing governance so projects can be operationalized
- Drafting action plans
- Developing best practices in implementation and getting projects off the ground
While states have developed data dashboards and other data-driven projects over the course of the pandemic, many still lack a deep bench of data experts, according to Kleykamp, who served five years as the chief data officer of Connecticut.
“I don’t think it’s any secret states have a hard time bringing in the analytic or data-science type of talent to work on some of this stuff,” he tells StateScoop. “[This is] really bridging the gap between the people who are more in the policymaking positions and the data people to get them working a little more hand-in-glove on some issues.”