The Nebraska Statewide Workforce & Educational Reporting System (or “NSWERS”) is a collaboration among the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Education, the Nebraska State College system, the six Nebraska community colleges (the “NSWERS partners”) and colleagues at the Nebraska Department of Labor to enable seamless integration of data across educational and workforce systems, provide data literacy education and promote the use of this data to further evidence-based policy and practices across the educational systems of Nebraska.
Introduction & History
NSWERS has its roots in Legislative Bill 1071 enacted by the One Hundred First Legislature, Second Session, signed into law by Governor Heineman on April 14, 2010. This bill directed the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Board of Education, the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges, and the Board of Governors for each community college area to adopt a policy to share student data. The resulting Memorandum of Understanding established an agreement “to share student data for the purposes of evaluation of and research related to public prekindergarten, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education to improve education in Nebraska.” In the fall of 2019, these partners advanced this cooperation and completed the legal formation of the NSWERS as a joint public entity under the Nebraska Interlocal Cooperation Act for mutual advantage regarding data initiatives.
Additionally, the Nebraska Unicameral recently passed Legislative Bill 1160. Signed into law by Governor Rickets on August 10, 2020, this bill – known as the Nebraska Statewide Workforce and Education Reporting System Act (2020) – supports the continued planning and development of NSWERS, envisioned as a comprehensive, sustainable, and robust lifelong learning and workforce longitudinal data system serving the needs of the people of Nebraska. Further, the bill directs the Nebraska Department of Labor to execute a memorandum of understanding with NSWERS to ensure the exchange of available data from the Nebraska Department of Labor.
The NSWERS Executive Council is led by the Council President, Ted Carter, President of the University of Nebraska. Additional members of the founding Executive Council for NSWERS include: Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education, Dr. Paul Turman, Chancellor of the Nebraska State Colleges System, and Dr. Paul Illich, President of Southeast Community College, representing all six Nebraska community college areas. While NSWERS has been in development for some time, the NSWERS Executive Council met regularly throughout 2020 to formally operationalize NSWERS as an administrative entity.
On September 1, 2020, Dr. Matt Hastings was hired as founding Executive Director for NSWERS. He has begun efforts to establish core operational capacities, build a team of dedicated NSWERS staff, and create the procedural and technical structures necessary for the creation and maintenance of an NSWERS data system. Dr. Hastings works closely with the NSWERS Management Council – the operational board of NSWERS – which includes representatives from the NSWERS partner entities, including Dr. Kristin Yates of the University of Nebraska, Dr. Dean Folkers of the Nebraska Department of Education, Dr. Jodi Kupper of the Nebraska State College System, and Dr. Leah Barrett of Northeast Community College, representing all six Nebraska community colleges.
University of Nebraska
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska State Colleges
Nebraska Community Colleges
Nebraska Department of Labor