GovEx at Johns Hopkins University Launches Training Center for Government Data Skills

Online and onsite courses for government employees will begin in June.

The Center for Government Excellence, also known as GovEx, is launching a new training center aimed at helping public employees embrace emerging trends in government technology, including data management, analytics, community engagement and more.

The center will feature a curriculum available online or through customizable onsite trainings, said Eric Reese, GoxEx’s associate director of training. With an application deadline of May 25, the first courses will begin June 27.

The curriculum currently features three courses: Community Engagement, Foundations of Applied Analytics in Government, and Getting Started with Performance Analytics. Reese, however, noted that plans call for expanding the offerings as the center progresses, potentially even offering credentials to graduates and participants. It’s all in service of a pretty simple and straight-forward mission.

“The mission of the training center is to really equip local governments, and really any government person, with data skills to help them do their jobs better,” Reese said.

This center grows out of GovEx’s role with Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities program, which saw GovEx conducting onsite training events dating back to 2015, working with more than 2,000 government employees in the process. The three courses grew out of demand for training that GovEx staff identified while working with What Works Cities. So far, nearly 100 participants have also completed pilot online courses for GovEx’s new training center.

The courses are also not limited to any one level of government, with Reese noting that while GovEx has primarily worked with municipal government, the lessons here are applicable to state government, county government and even other organizations such as school districts. In fact, one of GovEx’s hopes for the future of the center is that it will prove to be a valuable tool in aligning the efforts of various governments, helping them to better work together.

Although GovEx is based out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, staffers can bring the onsite training on the road to any interested jurisdiction, customizing specific courses for their needs, even creating a hybrid onsite and online learning experience.

GovEx was launched in April 2015 as part of What Works Cities, with the stated goal of helping with the mission to use data and evidence in 100 mid-sized cities throughout the United States to increase the quality of government service being provided to constituents. GovEx was created to fill a gap that Bloomberg identified in the availability of training organizations dedicated to supporting tools like data management, performance and analytics.

They have worked with a wide range of cities, from Jackson, Miss., to South Bend, Ind.

“GovEx and Eric Reese are both second to none, and the trainings they provided to my team in Denver helped us create a data-informed government,” said Brian Elms, innovation practice lead, and former director of the city of Denver’s Peak Academy in a press release. “Their commitment and support to cities launched a data performance movement for local governments around the country that is transforming services for citizens."

Associate editor for Government Technology magazine