Data to Serve Policy, Programs, and People


The Need for Data

Across the nation, there has been a surge in efforts by the federal and state governments and by education and workforce institutions to develop data systems to answer critical policy questions, implement effective practices, and improve student outcomes. California lags behind most states in tackling the data challenge.


Report Author: The California EDGE Coalition

Date: June 2016


This policy brief details why we need good data on workforce education and training programs, the range of data that are necessary, the characteristics of data systems designed to serve the needs of all major stakeholders, and what other states are doing to implement high-quality workforce data systems. To learn more, download the full text of the article here.

The Data We Need


Ideally, a state’s data system includes pre-K, K-12, postsecondary education, workforce programs, social services, and other critical state agency data systems.


Data systems should be able to track students over time, across institutions and programs, and into the labor market.


At least in the case of workforce programs, including career technical education (CTE) programs, metrics should be consistent.


For data to be useful, they must be regularly updated.

Designed to guide policymakers, institutions, and individuals:

Even to meet the needs of institutions, data systems must have both aggregate and individual uses in mind.

Secure and accessible:

Systems must be designed so that the data of individual students and participants are protected and remain private. All stakeholders do not need access to all data.  At the same time, for data systems to be useful all stakeholders must have timely and ready access to the data they do need to make informed decisions.

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