Practitioner Data Initiative

Building data skills to help organizations serve Canadians more effectively

More than ever, data is critical for organizations to drive strategic decision-making and program improvement, but community service organizations need resources and technical assistance to build their data capacity. Building data skills is essential to helping these organizations serve their clients more effectively and efficiently, respond to changing needs and economic contexts, and demonstrate impact.  

The Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) is a pan-Canadian project of the Future Skills Centre (FSC) and Blueprint, focusing on helping community service organizations across Canada to better use their own data, in order to improve their decision making and enhance service delivery.  

Impact

The PDI will advance practical skills that can support the social services sector to better design and deliver interventions based on a deep understanding of their clients and the communities they serve. The initiative will provide a unique combination of supports that meet each organization’s data goals through direct funding, strategic support and technical assistance. Our 9 partner organizations will work to improve their skills in collecting and analyzing data and using results for decision-making. 

Learning

We are committed to learning from our investments, and as part of this initiative, FSC and Blueprint will develop case studies and lessons learned about the use of data in service delivery. The lessons will explore the necessary tools, resources, and skills needed to collect and analyze data and use results for decision-making. 

As one of FSC’s founding consortium partners, Blueprint leads its evidence generation strategy. Blueprint collaborates with policymakers and practitioners to generate rigorous evidence to understand how they can learn, improve, and maximize their impact. Blueprint and FSC share a commitment to evidence, learning, and developing insights to inform policy and practice. The Practitioner Data Initiative contributes to FSC’s strategic commitment to strengthening labour market information and data systems.

Partners

Meet the 9 partner organizations who were selected for the Practitioner Data Initiative:

TEAM Work Cooperative is a non-profit organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. TEAM Work Cooperative provides client-centered case management and facilitates inclusive employment and workplace opportunities for all people. TEAM Work's participation in the PDI will support them to use data more effectively to better program delivery, operations, and partnerships. In addition, improving data capacity will increase their insight into service improvements and enhance outreach efforts. Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre are excited to work with TEAM Work to build on their existing infrastructures and increase capacity to analyze and leverage existing data. This project hopes to improve service delivery access and efficiency for both clients and employers and build staff capacity to increase knowledge and elevate employment outcomes for under-represented groups.

WoodGreen Community Services (WCS) is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, Ontario. WCS provides Canadians and newcomers with housing, employment and training, and mental health supports. WCS has demonstrated a commitment to strengthen their team, including embarking on a data strategy journey which makes us confident that this partnership will result in sustainable and meaningful progress. WCS is a multi-service agency with many different funder requirements and, therefore, many data processes. Their goals in working with PDI are to have more consistent data knowledge and processes across the organization leading to a more centralized view of their clients and how their services work together. With Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre's support, WCS can build a streamlined data strategy to establish a data culture across the organization and broader sector.

Douglas College is a public, non-profit college in New Westminster, British Columbia. Douglas College's Training Group offers employment, training, and language programs for employers. Blueprint and FSC will work with Douglas College to identify gaps in data platform knowledge and determine what information is necessary and valuable to collect.  Additionally, they are interested in using data structure and organization to support reporting requirements such as project outcomes, intervention effectiveness, and client pathways. The Practitioner Data Initiative will aim to create a data system that accommodates programs and funding models that are continually changing. Enhancing the organization's internal technical capacity can help them strengthen their decision-making and operational needs and build a sustained, data-aware culture. 

Futureworx is a non-profit organization based in Truro, Nova Scotia. They offer an expansive range of employment, educational, and training programs for their community and partners. Futureworx has demonstrated strong data literacy and is well-positioned to improve service delivery by building on existing data activities. By participating in the PDI, Futureworx hopes to develop a data strategy and measure key performance indicators to inform decision-making. In addition, Futureworx plans to build up organizational processes and apply the lessons they learn to a broader context to maximize the impact of their data. Building a data strategy not only has the potential to shift organizational mindsets around the power of data, but it can also change lives by giving Futureworx the ability to help more people find meaningful employment effectively.

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. (IEC-BC) is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia. IEC-BC provides services to help newcomers better understand how to access the labour market. In working with PDI, IEC-BC wants to focus on data-driven impact analysis to efficiently and effectively use resources to improve services. Blueprint and FSC will help strengthen the foundation IEC-BC has already built, and enhance their understanding of collecting and analyzing data that will help to ensure data is valid and reliable. IEC-BC seeks to improve data capacity and security and create an evidence base to develop impactful programming that will drive organizational and systemic change.

The Neighbourhood Group of Community Services (TNG) is a multi-service charity serving low-income people across multiple locations in Toronto, Ontario. TNG provides youth, senior, newcomer, childcare services, conflict resolution training, and homelessness services. By participating in the PDI, TNG hopes to refine data collection and analysis and adjust to rapid organizational growth. Like other community service organizations, TNG described how funder requirements drive what data is collected, which means that some critical information is not collected. The PDI will aim to empower TNG to leverage existing knowledge to identify programming gaps and target specific sectors and create a culture of evidence-informed decision making. In addition, PDI will support TNG to develop capacity and deliver sector-focused programs as the labour market recovers from the pandemic. 

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) is a non-profit organization based in Calgary, Alberta. They offer settlement and integration support services to vulnerable newcomers. By participating in the PDI, CCIS will support two goals of their strategic plan: Advocacy of Centre of Influence and Collaborate to Support Growth. In addition, developing a meaningful data strategy can enable CCIS to increase the data competency and capacity of their staff and partner organizations to gather data in a culturally safe manner.  CCIS hopes to use data-backed evidence to inform service delivery and design, advocate for their clients within mainstream and public sectors, and influence sectoral decisions to drive inclusion and equity. 

Saint John Community Loan Fund (Loan Fund) is a non-profit organization based in Saint John, New Brunswick. They specialize in skills development, financial literacy training, and creating innovative and affordable spaces to rejuvenate neighbourhoods. By participating in the PDI, Loan Fund is hoping to evaluate the tangible impacts of their programs and organizations on the community more effectively. Loan Fund also hopes to increase staff capacity to streamline data collection and optimize the use of their existing data platform to understand outcomes and impacts. Blueprint and FSC will work with Loan Fund to clarify the strengths and gaps in services across their community to inform programming needs and leverage their work and successes for outreach and future investment.

Saint John Learning Exchange (Learning Exchange) is a non-profit organization based in Saint John, New Brunswick. Learning Exchange provides education programs, work skills development, employment assistance, and mental health supports. Learning Exchange hopes to push a data strategy forward to determine how their programming impacts participant outcomes such as employment quality and retention. In addition, the support of PDI will build capacity for an ongoing evaluation process that can adapt programs based on the needs of communities served. Learning Exchange also hopes to build staff capacity to analyze data and establish a data collection program that meets funding requirements while guiding decision-making. Blueprint and FSC are excited to support Learning Exchange to effectively network agencies to serve shared clients better, significantly impacting the sector.

The Practitioner Data Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. 

With the right tools, training and support, we can make evidence informed decisions.

More than ever, data is critical for organizations to drive strategic decision-making and program improvement, but community service organizations need resources and technical assistance to build their data capacity. Building data skills is essential to helping these organizations serve their clients more effectively and efficiently, respond to changing needs and economic contexts, and demonstrate impact.  

The Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) is a pan-Canadian project of the Future Skills Centre (FSC) and Blueprint, focusing on helping community service organizations across Canada to better use their own data, in order to improve their decision making and enhance service delivery.  

Impact

The PDI will advance practical skills that can support the social services sector to better design and deliver interventions based on a deep understanding of their clients and the communities they serve. The initiative will provide a unique combination of supports that meet each organization’s data goals through direct funding, strategic support and technical assistance. Our 9 partner organizations will work to improve their skills in collecting and analyzing data and using results for decision-making. 

Learning

We are committed to learning from our investments, and as part of this initiative, FSC and Blueprint will develop case studies and lessons learned about the use of data in service delivery. The lessons will explore the necessary tools, resources, and skills needed to collect and analyze data and use results for decision-making. 

As one of FSC’s founding consortium partners, Blueprint leads its evidence generation strategy. Blueprint collaborates with policymakers and practitioners to generate rigorous evidence to understand how they can learn, improve, and maximize their impact. Blueprint and FSC share a commitment to evidence, learning, and developing insights to inform policy and practice. The Practitioner Data Initiative contributes to FSC’s strategic commitment to strengthening labour market information and data systems.

Partners

Meet the 9 partner organizations who were selected for the Practitioner Data Initiative:

TEAM Work Cooperative is a non-profit organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. TEAM Work Cooperative provides client-centered case management and facilitates inclusive employment and workplace opportunities for all people. TEAM Work's participation in the PDI will support them to use data more effectively to better program delivery, operations, and partnerships. In addition, improving data capacity will increase their insight into service improvements and enhance outreach efforts. Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre are excited to work with TEAM Work to build on their existing infrastructures and increase capacity to analyze and leverage existing data. This project hopes to improve service delivery access and efficiency for both clients and employers and build staff capacity to increase knowledge and elevate employment outcomes for under-represented groups.

WoodGreen Community Services (WCS) is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, Ontario. WCS provides Canadians and newcomers with housing, employment and training, and mental health supports. WCS has demonstrated a commitment to strengthen their team, including embarking on a data strategy journey which makes us confident that this partnership will result in sustainable and meaningful progress. WCS is a multi-service agency with many different funder requirements and, therefore, many data processes. Their goals in working with PDI are to have more consistent data knowledge and processes across the organization leading to a more centralized view of their clients and how their services work together. With Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre's support, WCS can build a streamlined data strategy to establish a data culture across the organization and broader sector.

Douglas College is a public, non-profit college in New Westminster, British Columbia. Douglas College's Training Group offers employment, training, and language programs for employers. Blueprint and FSC will work with Douglas College to identify gaps in data platform knowledge and determine what information is necessary and valuable to collect.  Additionally, they are interested in using data structure and organization to support reporting requirements such as project outcomes, intervention effectiveness, and client pathways. The Practitioner Data Initiative will aim to create a data system that accommodates programs and funding models that are continually changing. Enhancing the organization's internal technical capacity can help them strengthen their decision-making and operational needs and build a sustained, data-aware culture. 

Futureworx is a non-profit organization based in Truro, Nova Scotia. They offer an expansive range of employment, educational, and training programs for their community and partners. Futureworx has demonstrated strong data literacy and is well-positioned to improve service delivery by building on existing data activities. By participating in the PDI, Futureworx hopes to develop a data strategy and measure key performance indicators to inform decision-making. In addition, Futureworx plans to build up organizational processes and apply the lessons they learn to a broader context to maximize the impact of their data. Building a data strategy not only has the potential to shift organizational mindsets around the power of data, but it can also change lives by giving Futureworx the ability to help more people find meaningful employment effectively.

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. (IEC-BC) is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia. IEC-BC provides services to help newcomers better understand how to access the labour market. In working with PDI, IEC-BC wants to focus on data-driven impact analysis to efficiently and effectively use resources to improve services. Blueprint and FSC will help strengthen the foundation IEC-BC has already built, and enhance their understanding of collecting and analyzing data that will help to ensure data is valid and reliable. IEC-BC seeks to improve data capacity and security and create an evidence base to develop impactful programming that will drive organizational and systemic change.

The Neighbourhood Group of Community Services (TNG) is a multi-service charity serving low-income people across multiple locations in Toronto, Ontario. TNG provides youth, senior, newcomer, childcare services, conflict resolution training, and homelessness services. By participating in the PDI, TNG hopes to refine data collection and analysis and adjust to rapid organizational growth. Like other community service organizations, TNG described how funder requirements drive what data is collected, which means that some critical information is not collected. The PDI will aim to empower TNG to leverage existing knowledge to identify programming gaps and target specific sectors and create a culture of evidence-informed decision making. In addition, PDI will support TNG to develop capacity and deliver sector-focused programs as the labour market recovers from the pandemic. 

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) is a non-profit organization based in Calgary, Alberta. They offer settlement and integration support services to vulnerable newcomers. By participating in the PDI, CCIS will support two goals of their strategic plan: Advocacy of Centre of Influence and Collaborate to Support Growth. In addition, developing a meaningful data strategy can enable CCIS to increase the data competency and capacity of their staff and partner organizations to gather data in a culturally safe manner.  CCIS hopes to use data-backed evidence to inform service delivery and design, advocate for their clients within mainstream and public sectors, and influence sectoral decisions to drive inclusion and equity. 

Saint John Community Loan Fund (Loan Fund) is a non-profit organization based in Saint John, New Brunswick. They specialize in skills development, financial literacy training, and creating innovative and affordable spaces to rejuvenate neighbourhoods. By participating in the PDI, Loan Fund is hoping to evaluate the tangible impacts of their programs and organizations on the community more effectively. Loan Fund also hopes to increase staff capacity to streamline data collection and optimize the use of their existing data platform to understand outcomes and impacts. Blueprint and FSC will work with Loan Fund to clarify the strengths and gaps in services across their community to inform programming needs and leverage their work and successes for outreach and future investment.

Saint John Learning Exchange (Learning Exchange) is a non-profit organization based in Saint John, New Brunswick. Learning Exchange provides education programs, work skills development, employment assistance, and mental health supports. Learning Exchange hopes to push a data strategy forward to determine how their programming impacts participant outcomes such as employment quality and retention. In addition, the support of PDI will build capacity for an ongoing evaluation process that can adapt programs based on the needs of communities served. Learning Exchange also hopes to build staff capacity to analyze data and establish a data collection program that meets funding requirements while guiding decision-making. Blueprint and FSC are excited to support Learning Exchange to effectively network agencies to serve shared clients better, significantly impacting the sector.

The Practitioner Data Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. 

With the right tools, training and support, we can make evidence informed decisions.