To jumpstart data-driven decision making in government, Socrata launches Data Academy
To meet a widespread desire among government entities for "improved data-driven decision making," data software firm Socrata has launched a new training program for government called Socrata Data Academy.

Announced Tuesday as customizable in-person workshops designed "for each organization's needs," paired with a series of free online course materials, the Academy seeks to fill gaps in cross-agency data training that some organizations may not be able to provide themselves.

Local government leaders recognize the potential that data can have on their organizations and communities, but can be overwhelmed by the "magnitude of available data and proliferation of software tools," Socrata Product Manager Rene Miller told StateScoop in an email. Socrata, a software company headquartered in Seattle, helps governments build open data portals and use data to improve internal budgeting and operations.

"The Socrata Data Academy trainings empower local government leaders to leverage data using the right tools to boost their program delivery and outcomes," Miller said. "They're about learning how to use data, and using the right tool at the right time."

The courses are designed to teach government program leaders and technology workers how to use technologies that include Excel, Tableau, Amazon Web Services, Quicksight and R. Online courses are provided at no cost, while open enrollment training is run on a "cost recovery basis" at $750 per paricipant, while private classroom training pricing varies and also operates on a cost recovery model, Miller said.

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Tennessee, is one of the Academy's early adopters, and it held its first two-day workshop in September, with another planned for the spring.

Robyn Mace, Nashville's chief data officer, told StateScoop it was a great opportunity "to come to together to start to think about how control over data and using data can improve the quality of decisions we make and the outcomes we're seeking."

Following the workshop, the city is now pursuing several new strategies and projects, Mace said, including an analysis that could lead to a smarter allocation of fire and emergency medical services.

Read the full article originally published here.