Enhancing Service Provision through Creative Data Techniques at the United States Department of Commerce.

“Revolutionizing Program Delivery: Innovative Data Practices at the U.S. Department of Commerce on February 6, 2024”

On February 6, 2024, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will embark on a new journey towards improving program delivery through innovative data practices. With the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the Inflation and Reduction Act (IRA), and the CHIPS and Science Act providing unprecedented new resources, the DOC has the opportunity to advance its mission of creating economic growth and opportunity for all communities. To ensure the effective and equitable delivery of these programs, data practices play a crucial role. This is where the Commerce Data Governance Board (CDGB) comes in.

The CDGB has identified improving program data practices as one of its key objectives. In August 2022, the CDGB established the Metrics Working Group to support bureaus in their evidence-building practices. This group was tasked with identifying obstacles and proposing recommendations for improving the use of data in program design, delivery, and evaluation. Additionally, the group was charged with facilitating large-scale observational studies to evaluate outcomes from DOC programs with similar intended benefits.

To achieve these goals, the Metrics Working Group brought together representatives from four bureaus that received new funding resources: the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The group also included representatives from other departments that support monitoring and evaluation efforts, such as the DOC Performance Excellence Office, the DOC Evaluation Officer, and the Commerce Implementation Coordination Office (CIC).

Through interviews with various stakeholders throughout the DOC, including program evaluation leads, program data managers, grants acquisition experts, GIS specialists, equity indicator experts, and economic projection experts, the Metrics Working Group identified best practices and solutions to challenges faced by the DOC in its data management practices.

The final report of the Metrics Working Group, titled “Innovation in Evidence-Building: Evolving Program Data Management Practices within the Department of Commerce,” highlights the major insights and recommendations from this effort. One of the key takeaways is the importance of breaking down silos and coordinating efforts across bureaus to improve data practices. By working together, the group was able to uncover obstacles and explore pathways towards more effective and equitable program delivery.

In conclusion, the Metrics Working Group has played a crucial role in revolutionizing program delivery at the DOC through innovative data practices. By identifying best practices and solutions to challenges, the group has paved the way for the effective and equitable use of data in program design, delivery, and evaluation. This effort will not only benefit the DOC but also the communities it serves, as it strives towards creating economic growth and opportunity for all.  

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