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 will be implemented in two Phases, a research phase and a technical assistance phase. Our objective with both of these phases is 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 is conducting 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 involves three primary activities:

  • State Tax Data Comparison – Gather 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 – Collect, analyze, and catalogue 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 – Conduct 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 is collaborating with five states that seek to improve the data sharing environment in their own states and are committed to help establish best practices to be used by other states nationwide. State teams are comprised of representatives of multiple agencies or multiple divisions within agencies. The teams include:

  • Iowa, representing the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Workforce Development, and Department of Revenue.
  • Minnesota, representing the Department of Employment and Economic Development and Management and Budget.
  • South Carolina, representing the Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, and the Commission on Higher Education.
  • Utah, representing the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
  • Wisconsin, representing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Department of Revenue, and Department of Workforce Development

SDS will help each state design and implement action plans to address state-specific data sharing challenges. Potential initiatives may include educating state leaders about the value of administrative data, drafting new data confidentiality legislation, developing protocols to streamline the data sharing process, and many others.

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/.