From Projects to Products to Impact

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Collaboratives help states advance and accelerate data product innovation —a non-linear process that includes ideation; development of priority areas of focus; projects; product development; product adaptation and application; circulation to other agencies and states; and continued product improvement and expansion. 

  • Products are tools or applications that use data to answer questions critical to society. They provide intelligence that helps policymakers, program administrators, or customers improve processes, strategies, programs, and decisions.  
  • Projects are research and development efforts where collaborative members test new ideas or adapt or expand existing products. 

Collaborative Products

Below are two examples of exploratory collaborative projects that have grown into collaborative data products that are informing practice among state, local, and regional leaders. The two products are the Multi-State Post-Secondary Report and the Unemployment to Reemployment Portal.

Plans are underway to add data from Indiana and Tennessee to the Postsecondary Outcomes Dashboard. The states of New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia recently received a Democratizing our Data Challenge grant through the Coleridge Initiative to bring the Multi-state Postsecondary Dashboard to the Eastern States Longitudinal Data Collaborative. The state of Ohio also received a Democratizing our Data Challenge grant to incorporate workforce credentials and data on postsecondary “non-completers” into the dashboard.

Unemployment to Reemployment Portal

States in the Midwest Collaborative are working across state borders to create real-time labor market information that is critical for local economic response. This interactive tool draws in the latest de-identified Unemployment Insurance claims data, processed through the secure Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF) environment. The tool provides insights on claimant unemployment experience based on a longitudinal framework. It can answer such questions as: What are the local labor markets hit the hardest by layoffs? What is the economic impact of the layoffs on the local economy? What is the demographic, industry, and occupation mix of the unemployed as we gear up local training programs for their reemployment?  More fundamentally, what can we say about UI claimant behavior in local labor markets, especially its persistence? And, what does reemployment look like in the local labor market? The intent of the initial rollout of the Unemployment to Reemployment Portal was to provide executive decision-makers with actionable information on local labor market conditions that were extremely fluid with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Indiana, then, used the portal’s capability to facilitate training interventions on skill transfer between unemployed workers and high demand/supply gaps in local labor markets.  More recently, Wisconsin and Arkansas are developing dashboards to inform program administration by Local Workforce Boards.  Indeed, the dashboard priorities are a result of extensive stakeholder engagement.  

The Unemployment to Reemployment Portal has been replicated by the states of Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee. The states of Texas and Ohio created UI data tool inspired by the Illinois tool. Planned expansions include the states of Wisconsin and Arkansas. Illinois has incorporated unemployment spell behavior into the portal and is planning enhancements to include Title I and Title III program participants and timely measures of reemployment activity. In 2021, moreover, USDOL/ETA partnered with Coleridge Initiative and Illinois to conduct a 3-month national training with 120 participants representing 30 states.

Pipeline Projects

The multi-state data collaborative ecosystem supports or is supported by several “innovation sandboxes” that enable accelerated data project and product development. Value is created as networks of government staff from various programs, functions, and states ideate together and discover opportunities to access training, peer support, technical assistance, or use of microdata and a secure data facility.

Democratizing our Data Challenge Projects

State leaders responded enthusiastically to two rounds of the Coleridge Initiative’s Democratizing our Data Challenge (DDC) awards opportunity. Funded by philanthropic organizations, the DDC was designed to develop and scale innovative product ideas for understanding public policy and programs by using government administrative data that are securely hosted in the Coleridge Initiative’s Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF). Successful proposals seek to develop, build upon, or scale innovative products, including new data linkages, data dashboards, data portals, APIs, data models, or code repositories. The awards connect states and agencies to share knowledge, models, and products. Round 1 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin Round 2 states: Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
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Applied Data Analytics Training Programs

The Coleridge Initiative’s Applied Data Analytics (ADA) training programs build capacity by enhancing data literacy and technical skills through rigorous and modern methods of analysis. To improve evidence-based decision-making skills, participants are trained in developing, interpreting, and communicating value-based outcomes. The ADA training offers a unique opportunity, particularly for government agency staff, as courses are developed through the direct use of restricted-use microdata to answer real, present policy questions they face and introduce practical, open-source tools that can be used after training ends.
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Evaluating Enrollment to Employment Pathways Training Investment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has funded the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to support two Applied Data Analytics training classes for fall-winter 2023/2024. The classes will focus on the cross-section of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs and services linked to employment and wage outcomes. The Coleridge Initiative will deliver the classes in partnership with the state of Arkansas. For more information, email

The Midwest Collaborative’s RFI Process to Engage External Research Partners

In December 2022, The Midwest Collaborative (MWC) approved a two-fold strategy to enable data partnerships that lead to innovative data projects and products aligned with priority MWC focus areas (see Collaboratives tab). “Tier 1” partnerships are state-to-state partnerships with the advantage of streamlined project approval and implementation. “Tier 2” partnerships involve states collaborating with external research partners (e.g., post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations), and require a formal proposal submission process. The MWC is currently piloting a process to establish Tier 2 partnerships; the process will include outreach via a Request for Information (RFI).   Under the RFI pilot for “Tier 2” partnerships, which will launch during the late summer of 2023, the MWC will obtain information from potential post-secondary and non-profit partners and solicit interest in developing data tools and products that benefit states and use state administrative records housed in the Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF). MWC states are specifically seeking partner entities to create innovative solutions around the following priority topics (see Collaboratives) with a particular focus on an equity lens – race, ethnicity, income, or geography.

The Southern Regional Data Collaborative’s Topical Workgroups

The Southern Regional Data Collaborative (SRDC) created three working groups to pursue collaborative projects around priority topics identified by the collaborative: Credentials of Value, Postsecondary Non-completers, and Unemployment to Reemployment Measures of Timeliness. The three working groups began meeting in the fall of 2022 and spent their initial meetings focused on establishing common understanding of the priority topics through presentations by collaborative member agencies and external experts. The working groups are now pivoting toward identifying pathways to product development, with a goal of having one or more viable projects underway by the spring of 2024.


State agency leaders across the country are driving the emergence and sustainability of multi-state data collaboratives. This work is being supported by NASWA, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), the Coleridge Initiative, and other partners and funders. This webpage is a joint partner effort, led by state agency leaders, to provide public information about the collaboratives, including their activities and products.