Public educators have increasingly been told to produce the “workforce of the future.” States are striving for alignment between what students learn and the jobs that ultimately will be available to them. This alignment is critical for students so they have the right skills and knowledge to excel at college and/or the vocation of their choice. It is equally important for the economic vitality of our communities to minimize unemployment, turnover, and reduce training costs for businesses.
Achieving education-workforce alignment requires coordination across many disparate organizations, including K-12, Higher Ed, government agencies, business and industry, all of which have many moving parts. It requires having a factual base to ground conversations regarding: what has happened; what is happening; and what is most likely to happen next?
Many agree with this notion at a high-level, but what does it look like on the ground? An expert panel will discuss how they put these ideas into practice at the SxSWEdu conference in Austin, TX. This panel will present perspectives from state education agencies (SEAs), a school district, and a higher education system on how analytics and data visualization are used to help educators (at all levels) better support students on the path to college and career.
First, Layla Bonnot from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) will share insights gleaned from working with SEAs across the country on CCSSO’s Education Information Management Advisory Consortium. Most states have used federal grant funding and invested local dollars in building State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDSs) that span Pre-K through college, and even into workforce data. SLDSs are expected to answer research questions, evaluate programs, and drive policy decisions. Given the large investment in these SLDSs, the stakes have never been higher to begin using these data for education-workforce alignment. Some states have struggled, while others have made notable progress. Layla Bonnot will highlight common success factors in states leveraging data and analytics to inform these policy advancements.
Next, Lubbock Independent School District’s Associate Superintendent, Doyle Vogler, will provide a K-12 perspective. Lubbock ISD is an urban district in West Texas serving almost 30,000 students. The district has experienced sizeable demographic shifts over the last 10 years, and consequently, has had to devote additional resources to meet the diverse needs of its changing student population. Mr. Vogler will discuss how Lubbock’s educators use predictive analytics and data visualization to assess the academic preparedness of incoming students and implement targeted supports to build the college and the workplace pipelines.
Lastly, University of Louisiana System’s President, Dr. Sandra Woodley, will offer the postsecondary perspective on workplace preparation. Job growth is expected to accelerate sharply in Louisiana over the next 10 years, which is welcome news, but new jobs will require highly-trained and educated workers—many more than the public education system can currently provide. Dr. Woodley will share the strategic framework used by her team to focus their work and discuss how they built a coalition of legislators, government agencies and businesses to support the development of a ‘talent marketplace’ to arm students with better information about job prerequisites and opportunities. Her team also created an ‘analytical hub’ to provide administrators and policy makers dynamic visualizations on the flow of students, dollars and outcomes.
These three speakers will address challenges and learnings around the introduction and use of analytics to support educators. They will identify keys to successful collaboration among organizations with similar college and career readiness missions. And they will explore how analytics can be used by educators to better serve students through targeted supports. If you are able to attend the innovative SxSWEdu conference, you will not want to miss this session. If you cannot make it, I will post a recording of this session as a follow-up on this blog. Come back to check it out!