Workforce Preparation Projects

ODI works with community colleges, big data industry experts, and career and technical educators, to help prepare students and early career professionals to succeed in the big data world. Learn more about current and past ODI projects focused on workforce preparation:

An Accelerated Associate to Master’s Degree Pathway in Data Analytics

Photo by Christina Morillo

This project, led by Northeastern University, will contribute to the national need for well-educated data analysts and scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Bunker Hill Community College and Northeastern University. Over its one-year duration, this planning grant will support the development of a Track 3 S-STEM proposal, that will outline a plan to provide scholarships to over 100 unique full time and part time students who are pursuing associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in data science. The proposed project will support data analyst/science students through the associates and bachelor’s pathways to master's degrees in the data...

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Samsung Innovation Campus Artificial Intelligence Course - Data as Motivation

AI Image

The term Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been around since the 1950s and been much hyped. Yet, it took several decades before computational power was strong enough to support the concept of computers solving problems that normally were only in the realm of humans' ability to think. Today, however, computers have the capacity to store and learn from huge and complex sets of information (“big data”) far more quickly than humans. The challenge now is to build capabilities of a workforce to understand, design, and implement AI, and to communicate the results.

Education Development Center (EDC), is working with Samsung’s Innovation Campus to bring their online Artificial Intelligence course to the U.S. Students enrolled in the course...

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Expanding Access to Data Science Careers

Education Development Center (EDC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Life Science Center (MLSC) and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), convened a free, four-part online panel series focused on growing and diversifying the state’s Data Science workforce.

This series will inform the design of a systemic, sustainable, scalable strategic plan to extend and expand the early-stage Data Science pathway. The goal is to reach more diverse students in high school and community college, and support their...

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Innovation Pathways to Data Careers (IPDC)

Photo by Christina Morillo. Girl at computer with a book about the code Python next to her.

EDC was awarded NSF funding in 2021 to design, develop, test, and institutionalize an innovation pathway focused on data. Working with a team of high school and community college educators and industry and community partners, ODI will develop a guidebook to help teachers work with students developing data-rich Civics projects to meet state Civics requirements and develop/pilot a Visualization+Data Course and a Python+Data course to complete the IPDC. Working with teacher leaders/facilitators from two development sites, IPDC will develop and test 1) a Civics+Data module introducing data literacy through student developed Civics projects that are a new legislatively-mandated requirement for high school students in Massachusetts; 2) data modules that will be integrated into...

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Mentoring New Data Pathways in Community Colleges

Image from Pexels

As more sectors of the economy come to rely increasingly on data, the demand for skilled data workers is growing at a pace that outstrips the capacity of colleges to develop the programs needed to produce qualified employees. Workforce demand for data skills is disrupting the job market. By 2020, the number of jobs for all US data workers will increase by 364,000 openings to 2,720,000. Annual demand for the new roles of data scientist, data developers, and data engineers will reach nearly 700,000 openings. Data Science and Analytics (DSA) jobs remain open an average of 45 days, five days longer than the market average. Companies report that they cannot find the qualified employees to fill their open data positions. Projections indicate that this gap will...

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Building a Data Science Pathway on California’s Central Coast

Photograph by Flickr user SalFalko

EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute worked with participating colleges of the Coast Community College District to strengthen their efforts to develop a regional career pathway for data science specialists. ODI focused on two goals:

1) conduct a landscaping study of regional data skills/ worker needs and

2) facilitate the integration of ODI’s profile of a Data Practitioner into the design of a regional data worker pathway.

ODI identified current and projected regional needs for data skills and data jobs across a wide swath of industry sectors and provided a report that summarizes our findings and provides recommendations for the Coast Community College District faculty and the industry sectors.


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Data Analytics Technician Advancement (DATA) Program


The Oceans of Data Institute partnered with Columbus State Community College (OH) in an ATE-NSF funded project: Data Analytics Technician Advancement (DATA) Program. The project establishes a DATA Pathway in the central Ohio region to increase the supply of qualified data analytics technicians. Multiple entry and exit points offer maximum flexibility to address the shifting needs of industry employers and accommodate the diverse interests and experiences of students of different ages and life stages. ODI drew upon previous NSF-funded work, including ODI’s Creating Pathways for Big Data Careers, to facilitate the design of work-based learning activities and supportive materials for students enrolled in DATA. Specifically, ODI worked with Columbus State and its...

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Creating Pathways for Big Data Careers

ODI's Joe Ippolito leading the profiling.

To address the urgent and rapidly growing need for workers proficient in the use of Big Data the Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) of Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) will work with four community colleges to create a career pathway model for Big Data careers. A panel of Big Data subject matter experts representing a variety of professional fields will identify the entry, middle and high level Big Data skills, knowledge and behaviors that are needed in the workplace.  These skills, knowledge and behaviors will be organized and aligned to Big Data jobs. The pathway model will be co-designed by ODI and partners Bunker Hill Community College (MA), Normandale Community College (MN), Johnson County Community College (KS) and Sinclair Community College (OH). Together...

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Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue

Ruth Krumhansl

ODI and IBM teamed up for a three-day workshop, October 4-6, 2015, which convened a panel of 12 professionals from both data-intensive industries and K-16 education. The workshop resulted in several products, including:

  • defining what it means to be data literate;

  • a signed Proclamation of the Need for Data Literacy and Call for Action, endorsed by the panel of experts; and

  • workshop report

Defining What It Means to be Data Literate
The data literate...

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An Occupational Skills Profile for the Big-Data-Enabled Specialist

Creating the occupational skills profile

Professionals in many career fields now find that researching, analyzing and integrating data is essential to their work. Much of this change has occurred because of the rise of big data–gigantic data sets that are increasingly informing decisions in scientific, medical, business, and economic fields. As is the case in any nascent field, it is important to identify the specific skills and knowledge that young people will need to successfully compete in a changing economy. In August of 2014, the Oceans of Data Institute convened a panel of experts at EDC to develop an occupational profile of the “Big Data Enabled Specialist.” The meeting brought together a panel of science, education, business, and public sector experts from across the country, and will help inform...

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