About the State Data Sharing Initiative


The State Data Sharing Initiative (SDS) seeks to improve public policy program outcomes by enabling evidence-based policymaking through greater sharing of state administrative records in support of rigorous policy analysis and program evaluation. Our efforts, focused on economic and workforce development, could also inform broader policy areas, like education, health, and criminal justice policy.


SDS will accomplish its mission by:

  • Increasing transparency about the legal and regulatory barriers to sharing protected administrative data,
  • Enhancing relationships between data-gathering agencies, economic and workforce development program agencies, and outside researchers seeking data access, and
  • Guiding potential policy changes that would allow greater access to administrative data for public purposes without compromising its privacy and confidentiality.


The SDS Initiative was implemented in two Phases, a research phase and a technical assistance phase. Our objective with both of these phases was to enhance the ability of leaders to use insights derived from administrative records to evaluate the effectiveness of public investments in economic and workforce development programs.


SDS conducted extensive research and public education on the value of administrative data and the laws, regulations, policies, and practices that influence data sharing for policy analysis and program evaluation purposes. The research phase involved three primary activities:

  • State Tax Data Comparison – Gathered state corporate income tax forms and compare the types of data elements different states collect on companies and workers that may support more rigorous policy analysis and program evaluation.
  • Confidentiality Laws and Regulations Analysis – Collected, analyzed, and catalogued state corporate tax and UI data confidentiality laws and regulations, paying special attention to language that may impact data disclosures for the purposes of analyzing and evaluating economic and workforce development programs.
  • Data Sharing Stakeholder Interviews – Conducted in-depth phone interviews with representatives of various data producer and user groups to better understand how state policies, agency practices, and political and cultural conditions can hinder or promote data sharing.

The results of these research activities will be used to develop various tools to help state leaders and outside researchers better understand administrative data and data sharing; find and compare state data confidentiality laws and regulations; and access model language for confidentiality laws, data sharing agreements, agreement process management protocols, and more.

Read the research report, "Improved State Administrative Data Sharing: A Strategy to Promote Evidence-Based Policymaking for Economic and Workforce Development."

Watch our webinar about the SDS Initiate:

Download the PDF presentation

Technical Assistance

SDS collaborated with five states seeking to improve the data sharing environment in their own states and committed to help establish best practices to be used by other states nationwide. SDS assisted each state with designing and implementing action plans to address state-specific data sharing challenges. Throughout this process, participant states articulated their state-specific data sharing needs. Of these interests, common themes emerged across states including developing data inventories, data sharing legislation, data governance bodies, memorandums of understanding, and metrics of performance for economic/workforce development programs. Each state has utilized the SDS platform within their respective states to build coalitions around cross-agency data sharing as an opportunity to improve program analysis and evaluation.

State teams are comprised of representatives of multiple agencies or multiple divisions within agencies. The teams and their progress as a product of SDS are as follows:

  • Iowa, representing the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Workforce Development, and Department of Revenue.
    • Engaged with various stakeholders including the state IT office and the Department of Management (responsible for the state’s open data platform) to strategize around ways to best implement data sharing of administrative records.
  • Minnesota, representing the Department of Employment and Economic Development and Management and Budget.
    • Initiated several efforts including establishing a waiver for staff access to UI wage detail for employers receiving economic development grants as well as developing a standardized data sharing agreement template and data request form.
  • South Carolina, representing the Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, and the Commission on Higher Education.
    • Established a data sharing committee out of which both draft legislation and inventory is being developed.
  • Utah, representing the Governor's Office of Economic Development in partnership with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
    • Proposed three pieces of legislation to more effectively share data across economic development and workforce development institutions in the state.
  • Wisconsin, representing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Department of Revenue, and Department of Workforce Development
    • Developed a cultural assessment survey to understand the appetite for cross-agency data sharing.

Read the technical assistance report, "Advancing State Data Sharing for Better Economic and Workforce Development."

Our Team

SDS is implemented by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Established in 2000, CREC is a national 501(c)3 non-profit research group based in Arlington, Virginia.

CREC seeks to provide policymakers with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional economic and workforce development strategies. Since 2004, CREC has published the State Business Incentives Database (www.stateincentives.org) to highlight the types of taxpayer investments states have made in promoting economic and workforce development. The incentives database contributed to the results of a 2013-2015 Business Incentives Initiative, implemented by CREC and The Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as a study on intra-state data sharing, Balancing Confidentiality and Access, conducted by CREC and the Labor Market Information Institute in 2014-2015, with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. SDS seeks to further build on those past efforts.

For further information about SDS, please contact CREC at info@crec.net.

To learn more about CREC's work, please visit http://creconline.org/.