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Spotlighting Technology: Virginia Longitudinal Data System

Learn more about Virginia Longitudinal Data System, a finalist for ConnectVA’s Community Innovation Award and their innovative use of technology to understand and share essential data to impact policy. 

Not only has the system been “Virginia-grown” but it also creates opportunities for the Commonwealth to establish partnerships and a model for other states to emulate.

What is VLDS?

Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) is a first-in-the-nation collaboration among four founding state agencies that facilitates the unprecedented sharing of quantifiable educational and workforce development data within a privacy-protected platform.

VLDS is not one set of findings, but the engine behind innumerable categories of data mining and analyses, creating valuable and unique insights for educators and public policymakers. VLDS is the result of a shared effort by several Virginia government agencies including: Virginia Department of Education, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Community College System, and the Virginia Employment Commission.

Initially built on education and workforce programs, VLDS’ collaborative, inter-agency data merging model has been designed to efficiently onboard agencies responsible for other priorities in Virginia.

How has the implemented technology had an impact?

Several pilot studies already have yielded impressive results. The first assessed the return on investment in three of Virginia’s public workforce programs – how various demographic/economic factors impact employment status and wage levels. The results will be important to policymakers looking to maximize effectiveness of constantly dwindling funds.

The second study measures the efficiency of teacher preparation programs in Virginia and provides a model of teacher preparation between agency practitioners and university researchers. And one is aimed at understanding the high school factors that are associated with success in college and in the workplace.

Finally, in order to be globally competitive, Virginia must have a clear picture of the industry landscape over the next decade and project workforce needs — and be able to align its educational systems with these projections. For the very first time, VLDS makes it possible to tap into and analyze data that has been, up to now, unavailable. 


Want to learn more? The 2nd Annual Insights Conference will be held on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Conference Center and will focus on how VLDS is bridging the data divide among citizens, researchers, and policymakers by providing a single point of access for educational and workforce information.

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