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Discovery Analytics Center contributes workforce analytics for governor’s Open Data, Open Jobs portal

November 30, 2016

Left to right are computer science Ph.D. student Rupinder Paul Khandpur, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia Karen Jackson and Wanawsha Hawrami, manager of operations for the Discovery Analytics Center at the governor’s 2016 Datathon.
Left to right at the Governor's Workforce Innovation Challenge Datathon 2016 are computer science Ph.D. student Rupinder Paul Khandpur; Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson; and Wanawsha Hawrami, manager of operations for the Discovery Analytics Center.

The Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech is playing a key role in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s commitment to improve the labor market in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

McAuliffe established the New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative to devise a long-term comprehensive plan to equip the workforce with new and creative approaches to articulating employer needs for talent and matching job seekers to job opportunities.

As part of the governor’s initiative, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Research and Statistics was created last February to manage the Open Data, Open Jobs project.

Open Data, Open Jobs is a real-time curation, analysis, and visualization of advertised job postings in Virginia. All curated jobs are published on the Discovery Analytics Center’s open data portal, accessible through a publicly available API in machine-readable format, with a unified job posting schema that eliminates the need to navigate separate public and private listings dispersed across multiple sites, such as Monster or LinkedIn.

The Discovery Analytics Center was on-board from the onset, providing necessary support to harvest, clean, and enrich individual datasets to create the new workforce data product. The dataset was created in large part by Rupinder Paul Khandpur, a Ph.D. student in computer science who was also in the governor’s data internship program.

“These datasets and their derivations will benefit not only job seekers and employers but also policymakers in identifying skill demands and trends,” explains Khandpur.

He has created a YouTube video that describes the project.

“We hope that the Open Jobs paradigm will be adopted as an industry standard and lead to a sustainable ecosystem for data-driven workforce innovation, such as job data intelligence,” Khandpur said.

“This has been a labor of love for Rupinder, his way of embodying Ut Prosim, [That I May Serve]," said Naren Ramakrishnan Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science and director of the Discovery Analytics Center.

Open Data, Open Jobs was featured at the Governor's Workforce Innovation Challenge Datathon 2016, where professionals and students from a number of area universities were challenged to create uses for the data.

A group from the Discovery Analytics Center served as mentors for this event, guiding teams throughout the challenge and addressing any questions/issues they had regarding the dataset. 

“With close to 1.5 million jobs to fill in the next decade, we must take an all-hands-on-deck approach to workforce development,” McAuliffe said in a press release issued by the governor’s office. “I applaud the teams of students and faculty at Virginia Tech who worked to open up this essential data. As we build the New Virginia Economy, it is imperative that we harness the creativity of entrepreneurs and coders to help us develop new ways to connect employers with prospective employees. We hope the Open Data, Open Jobs data will spur the development of apps and programs that will greatly benefit job-seekers today and in the future.”

The Discovery Analytics Center was recruited to participate in the Open Data, Open Jobs project by Aneesh Chopra, who serves on the Council on Virginia’s Future and was key in launching the governor’s initiative. Chopra, appointed the first U.S. chief technology officer by President Barack Obama in 2009, also served as Virginia’s secretary of technology under Gov. Tim Kaine.

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