Researchers, policymakers, educators, and others need comprehensive, longitudinal information to craft effective policy that improves and sustains outcomes for individuals and their communities. This requires collecting and integrating data across education, the workforce, social services, and other sectors. Unfortunately, variations in state rules and supports, privacy concerns, and required knowledge of social service and labor laws make this task challenging.
We help public agencies address those challenges and support data integration efforts—providing comprehensive technical assistance to address the privacy and security knowledge gaps and resource needs for Integrated Data Systems (IDS).
Who We Are
WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit agency that conducts and applies research, develops evidence-based solutions, and provides services and resources in the realms of education, human development, and related fields, with the end goal of improving outcomes and ensuring equity for individuals from infancy through adulthood. For more information, visit WestEd.org. For regular updates on research, free resources, solutions, and job postings from WestEd, subscribe to the E-Bulletin, our semimonthly e-newsletter, at WestEd.org/subscribe.
Policymakers, researchers, educators, and others need comprehensive, longitudinal information to craft effective policy that improves and sustains outcomes for individuals and their communities, which requires collecting and integrating data across education, the workforce, social services, and more.
In 2021, WestEd conducted a nationwide survey of the knowledge gaps and resource needs for state challenges related to integrated data systems to determine if there was a need for a sustainable technical assistance center to address gaps in national offerings related to state and local privacy and security issues.
WestEd found that there are many supports available for a variety of education-specific privacy and security issues (such as Ed Tech). However, the data integration needs vary by state or locality so a “one size fits all” approach simply doesn’t provide the resources needed. WestEd also found that with the patchwork of federal and state privacy laws and security requirements, there were few supports available to assist with state-specific needs or to support IDS planning processes. Furthermore, integration of early childhood, workforce, justice, and social services data often requires legal expertise in social service laws and labor laws that were not readily available to state agencies.
In 2022, WestEd established the Data Integration Support Center (DISC). DISC addresses gaps in national offerings related to user centered design, planning, policy, privacy, and legal assistance to integrate data across sectors including early childhood, social services, and the workforce.
Our flexible approach and knowledgeable staff help Integrated Data System teams engage interest holders to create plans for actionable data use, navigate the variation in state rules and supports, and provide required knowledge of social service and labor laws to support even the most difficult governance, technological, privacy, or security challenges.
Our team of experts is committed to
- Supporting Data
We support integrations across sectors that provide a more equitable picture of individual and community outcomes
- Expanding Capacity
We accelerate data integration efforts through user centered design, planning, policy, privacy, and legal assistance
- Ensuring Actionability
We support states to implement user centered design and engage community interest holders to ensure transparency in which data to link and how this information may be accessed and used
- Providing Legislative and Regulatory Monitoring
We review and analyze federal, state, and local laws that impact data integration efforts
- Empowering Public Agencies
We support modernizing and aligning federal privacy laws and guidance across sectors to allow states the independence to choose their data integration path to include social services, the workforce, and early childhood