How Virginia’s Public Sector is Creating Innovation Through Analytics

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February 6, 2020

How Virginia’s Public Sector is Creating Innovation Through Analytics

How Virginia’s Public Sector is Bringing Innovation Through Analytics

This January, Qlarion hosted its fourth event in the Virginia Data Revolution Series, which featured data analytics experts from different functional areas of Virginia state government — education, social services and workforce. The panelists shared their views on some of the biggest data analytics themes: transparency, improving citizen services, and collaboration.

Learning from the Experts

As awareness of the power of data sharing began to increase, states began to fundamentally change the way they think about data.

Qlarion’s goal then, and now, is to help Commonwealth and national state agencies navigate the data revolution and better understand how to collaborate on data initiatives in the Commonwealth. These events continue to bring together leaders who are committed to moving Virginia forward, understand the role and potential impact of data analytics, and are open to sharing their journeys with others.

This most recent event featured the following esteemed guests:

  • Moderator: Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Tod Massa, Policy Analytics Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
  • Felix Schapiro, Policy Analyst, Workforce Development, Office of the Governor
  • Massey Whorley, Director, Office of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives, Virginia Department of Social Services

How It All Started – A Framework for Future Platforms

 Tod Massa, who is widely known as the pioneer of data sharing across the Commonwealth, spoke about the inception of the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS), the Commonwealth’s initial data repository and framework. The platform was created with the purpose of extracting and analyzing education and workforce development data within the state. He shared some early challenges, but he ultimately developed the framework, architecture, and components that are being reused today as Virginia continues to mature in the data sharing space. He shared how some of the VLDS components are being retooled and reutilized in bigger and larger initiatives, including some of the initiatives that Virginia’s first ever Chief Data Officer, Carlos Rivero, is leading.

 Use Case on Workforce Efforts

 Felix Schapiro shared details on the work he is doing to improve workforce development in Virginia, a critical citizen-facing initiative. By transforming the way data is used to identify employment opportunities, Felix and his team stay busy making sure that workforce centers helping the unemployed, have the best possible data to connect people to the jobs and training they need.

The Momentum of Innovation

 Massey Whorley wrapped up the discussion by focusing on innovation. He shared how he works to bring the right people and ideas together to help agencies connect the dots internally and externally. His office’s mission is to improve outcomes for citizens by making sure the Virginia Department of Social Services’ data and decisions are aligned with what’s best for the state.

This Takes Work

 It was evident that agencies need to put in the work that leads to better citizen outcomes. The big question was: How do we continue to build momentum for Virginia’s data sharing initiatives?

Through Rivero’s current work and leadership, the time is now for the Commonwealth to achieve what it has been working towards for years. Thanks to the contributions of the panelists and many others, agencies are making progress across the Commonwealth when it comes to transparency, improving citizen services and collaboration.

Conclusion

There is no longer a need to start with a blank slate on data analytics projects. There is now an opportunity to leverage learning from others in this space – which is the primary reason why the Virginia Data Revolution Series exists.

In summary, Rivero moderated a progressive discussion with wide attendance from state and local agencies ranging from the Virginia Departments of Health, Corrections, and Social Services, and more. If you’d like to get involved or if you have ideas or suggestions for future Virginia Data Revolution events, please email . We’d love to hear from you.