GovEx Pop-Ups Bring the Center’s Teachings Direct to Cities

The Johns Hopkins University-based organization that works to help cities better use data in governance has taken its teachings on the road, holding one- or two-day workshops in a number of locales.

by / April 19, 2019
Shutterstock/Andrey VP

The Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University has taken its work on the road, holding a series of pop-up workshops in cities across the country.

GovEx, for those who are unfamiliar, is an organization that basically works to train and support local government in the use of data and analytics. For the most part, GovEx does this from its headquarters at Johns Hopkins University. That has now changed, however, with the advent of the pop-up trainings, which have been held in a wide range of cities, from Scottsdale, Ariz., and Topeka, Kan., to Fort Worth, Texas.

Eric Reese, the director of training and learning at GovEx, said the pop-ups are one- or two-day workshops, for which the core audience is mostly local government, along with those who work closely with local government, including members of nonprofit organizations. The pop-ups have been held in cities where GovEx has relationships via its collaboration with What Works Cities.

So far there have been six pop-up GovEx workshops total, with plans calling for more soon. The process, however, does not end when the pop-ups conclude.

“We see the pop-up as valuable in itself,” Reese said, “We’re going to show up and do the training, but part of it is also getting folks into our online trainings afterward.”

Through a certain lens, the pop-ups can be viewed as the first step in a longer training journey that involves use of GovEx’s ample online resources. While the workshops last for two or three hours a day, staffers from GovEx then check in with past participants months later to assist and nudge them as they continue learning.

“The idea is we’re trying to merge the onsite trainings, which are really valuable,” Reese said, “with the online trainings that people can do anytime, anywhere.”

These pop-up workshops have also covered a wide range of subject matter, with idiosyncratic course topics such as strategies for managing bias in decision-making; problem-solving using data and analytics; data storytelling; and more. It all fits in with the work the group is doing through the GovEx Academy, too.

Through the academy, city leaders and public servants can continue onward with online courses in things like fostering community engagement in analytics work, assessing the impact of algorithms, foundations of open data in government, and more.

More information about GovEx, including how to work with the group to make a pop-up training happen in your city, can be found on GovEx’s website.

Zack Quaintance Assistant News Editor

Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas. He is now based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached via email.

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