OpenSiouxFalls to bring access to community data

From staff reports

It’s going to be easier soon to know the numbers behind what’s happening in the Sioux Falls area.

A new database, OpenSiouxFalls, will become a central repository for data reflecting the metro area’s workforce, economy, social services, education and quality of life.

It’s part of Sioux Falls Thrive, a cradle-to-career initiative that’s part of the most recent Forward Sioux Falls economic development strategy. Sioux Falls Thrive needed to collect and analyze data to measure its progress with student success. Civic leaders who learned about it encouraged Thrive to broaden it approach.

“Employees of local government, businesses and nonprofits across the community spend countless hours searching for the data they need to plan, do research and make informed business decisions,” said Evan Nolte, chair of Thrive’s board of directors. “It was time to bring a group together to look for a solution that could meet all of those needs.”

This past year, representatives from Augustana Research Institute, the city of Sioux Falls departments of Community Development and of Planning and Building Services, and the Sioux Falls School District joined the Sioux Empire United Way, the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation to form what they dubbed a Workforce Data User Group. Facilitated by Sioux Falls Thrive, the group decided to develop and work with the Augustana University Data Warehouse. It will hold two data hubs — a proprietary hub used for warehouse partners’ research projects and OpenSiouxFalls — a central repository of community data open to all.

“The OpenSiouxFalls site is a big win for the public,” Nolte said. “It puts Sioux Falls in alignment with the ‘open gov’         movement and will give free, convenient access to important community information.”

Development and two years’ maintenance costs will be shared by contributions from five founding partners — the chamber, city, development foundation, Thrive and United Way — and matched by Augustana University. Augustana will manage the project with direction from a council of the warehouse’s founding partners.

Beta testing for the first phase of the project is planned for this summer.

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OpenSiouxFalls to bring access to community data

It’s going to be easier soon to know the numbers behind what’s happening in the Sioux Falls area.

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