Case Study

Improving Education Through Data-Driven Dialogue

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The National Student Clearinghouse is an American nonprofit organization that supports the learn-to-work continuum, focusing on the requirements for a living wage. The organization's Research Center (NSCRC) publishes reports that offer objective data and insights about student enrollment, mobility, completion, learner success, and other important student outcomes.

In partnership with the US Census Bureau, the NSCRC had produced new insights regarding the experience of individuals with special certification to work in the manufacturing sector; data that would contribute to a better understanding of how certification shapes labor and employment outcomes. With this research in hand, NSCRC wanted to find ways to drive action from the data and catalyze long-term industry partnerships among organizations with similar goals.

Coeuraj designed and delivered a collaborative session with a key stakeholder group, including members of the US Census Bureau, and leaders and researchers in the postsecondary and industry certification space, to explore the implications of the research and identify how they could work together to achieve their individual and collective goals.

We put NSCRC’s data at the center of the conversations, allowing industry partners to deepen their understanding and engage with it. The approach positioned NSCRC’s work as a key platform to encourage critical thought and dialogue, which helped to identify the gaps in subject matter, including how students gain and leverage credentials in service of good-paying jobs. By inviting participants into the research and discussing its implications, we were able to cultivate a shared sense of ownership for the industry and its future growth.

We identified the following objectives for the session:

  • Expand the awareness of NSCRC's role in leading the conversation around design, execution, and use of research related to understanding the student pathways from education to workforce
  • Create a shared understanding among relevant stakeholders around existing NSCRC research and identify the opportunities to deepen the understanding of the opportunities and challenges that students face, specifically as it relates to credentialized career pathways
  • Catalyze momentum and partnerships among potential partners around continued investment and engagement in research initiatives

The session was a starting point for future conversations between partners on how they might collaborate and expand on ideas about creating common successes for the sector. It helped to position the NSCRC as a leader in driving the industry’s research agenda, and furthered understanding about the barriers to and potential for educational transformation.

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