Collaboration Express Transforming Indiana into a Magnet for High-Technology Jobs and Talent

Phase One of INcareer Express: Building Partnerships to Compile Datasets

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The development of INcareer Express — a shared, interactive visualization platform for regional career-mapping and forming talent connections — is led by Dr. David Hummels, professor of economics at the Purdue University Krannert School of Management. Members of his team include Dr. Kevin Mumford and two Krannert graduate students; Dr. Bo Bealieu, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) and two doctoral students; and David Whittinghill, Yinjie Chen, who are assistant professors in the Purdue College of Technology.

The team has devoted the first few months of the grant to the development of the secondary database. This entails identifying all possible secondary datasets that may be useful, screening the data for suitability and reliability, narrowing the data to what will be utilized, estimating conditional transition matrices that will form the “backbone of the tool,” i.e. major-to-occupation and occupation-to-occupation (ladders and matching the matrices to occupation-characteristics data), and matching these to occupation-characteristics data. 

The team will utilize Purdue Office of Institutional Research data for further secondary database development, and hopes to match these to data compiled by the Indiana Workforce Development. The greatest challenge is working within the privacy policies of the University and the State of Indiana. The team is currently working with the university’s Institutional Review Board to access Purdue-specific data and with individuals within the State of Indiana Workforce Development department to access a larger dataset. Initial information produced from the current data is allowing faculty from the College of Technology to begin creating “visualization” maps that will become the basis for the visual aspect of the platform. 

The Purdue Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) annually surveys all of the university’s May graduates, specifically related to the “first destination” or first job after graduation. The CCO staff is in the process of restructuring the data so that it may be utilized by the team. This data are critical to the development of the database. 
Purdue’s new partnership with Direct Employers will provide the INcareer Express data analysis team with almost “real-time” access to workforce data. Direct Employers is a not-for-profit, Indianapolis-based company that holds and populates all of the “Dot Jobs” domains, receives data from all U.S. workforce development agencies, and uses “spider” technology to access and post thousands of jobs on their job board. Direct Employers has 730 members that include Fortune 500 and similar companies. 

Mining of the data will continue through the fall of 2014. Once the databases are in place, a visualization tool will allow students to explore linkages between degree programs, knowledge skills and developed abilities, and various occupations. An “alpha test” will be conducted with high school students and their parents to refine the tool prior to further development and beta testing.

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