Lighting the Way with Luminary

Five Star has had a busy few months — this edition of Luminary will give you a glimpse into the projects we’ve been working on, the knowledge we’ve shared, the experts we’ve brought on board and how we are continuing to give back to our community. As always, we want this newsletter to be valuable for you please share your feedback and suggestions on topics to cover. Be sure to subscribe to get Luminary news delivered to your mailbox every quarter!

Too Good Not to Share

[As we come across industry news and information too good not to share, we’ll share it right here, every quarter!]
Data is Changing the Way Military Students Complete College

Data is Changing the Way Military Students Complete College

Every year, more than a million military service members and veterans enroll in undergraduate institutions. Only about half leave with a certificate or degree. But, new studies show that by awarding Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), graduation rates rise dramatically. Keep reading to learn more about what Five Star is doing to help colleges streamline the CPL process and improve their retention and graduation rates. Visit The Conversation for the full article.

Collaborating to Maximize Data Utility

Collaborating to Maximize Data Utility

How do workforce practitioners know whether their programs are improving the lives of people in the communities they serve? How do policymakers know whether taxpayer investments are working? How can researchers understand why social services help some groups of people and not others? The Workforce Data Quality Campaign dives into the details. Access the full brief to learn how implementation of data systems in Illinois is providing the insight needed to track key performance metrics and improve outcomes.

What We're Working On: Data Integration

What We’re Working On: Data Integration

How do you put highly complex data analytics into the hands of non-technical stakeholders — and make it meaningful? Our data integration effort, which leverages a powerful data warehouse built for the Guided Pathways to STEM (GPSTEM) project, is one way. By enabling the centralization of data from disparate sources, stakeholders can visualize trends, measure performance and analyze outcomes in a more meaningful way.

Working hand-in-hand with the Massachusetts Community College system (MCCS), Five Star collaborated in depth with cross-functional teams to fully understand their big data challenges. With multiple tools, stakeholders and sources of information, the consortium was in need of a streamlined way to push and pull data to and from various environments — without comprising security. A comprehensive understanding of current needs — and what future success looks like — allowed our team to construct a custom solution for the client’s specific challenges.

The data architecture we developed supports the suite of GPSTEM applications we created and gives MCCS the ability to: 1) connect data from multiple data sources to enable previously unattainable level of analysis; 2) generate visualizations of current trends across the labor market, high-demand occupations and changing student needs; and 3) govern data in accordance with data sharing agreements between data providers and data consumers.

Five Star’s expertise in data architecture and user experience design resulted in a scalable solution that meets current needs and lays the groundwork for future success. Harnessing the power of data, the consortium can be more focused on their mission of matching students with relevant academic programs — and get better results.

Where We've Been: UNCF CPI Convening

Where We’ve Been: UNCF CPI Convening

College completion and career preparedness is a challenge faced across the nation. The effort holds exceptional impact to the African American community, where unemployment and underemployment rates are significantly higher than the national average. To respond to this challenge, Lilly Endowment, Inc., granted a $50 million commitment to support UNCF. Through this partnership, the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) was launched. As part of a small group of technology thought leaders, UNCF CPI extended an invitation to their 2nd annual convening for ideas and insights from Five Star’s own Dave Colaizzi, CEO/CTO and Lou Camerlengo, President and Cofounder. The goal of the convening was to gather the 24 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black institutions (PBIs) dedicated to the UNCF CPI mission — and explore ways to improve employment outcomes and career readiness for the 54,000 students they serve.

Where We've Been: National Institute

Where We’ve Been: National Institute

The team recently returned from the National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning — an annual conference focused on advancing adult learning best practices. Five Star’s Dave Colaizzi co-presented a workshop on Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) with Dr. Cristy Sugarman, Director, Center for Alternative Studies & Educational Testing at North Shore Community College. Visit our website for more details on the CPL solution that was showcased.

And, check out our Events page to see where we will be next.

Project Highlight: Guided Pathways to Success

Project Highlight: Guided Pathways to Success

The Massachusetts Community College system (MCCS) is advancing training and educational opportunities, in STEM fields and beyond, through skillful collaboration and data integration with business, government and industry partnerships.

Five Star is the strategic partner on this exciting, three-tiered project. The solution leverages multiple systems that work in unison for streamlined collaboration and are scalable as future needs arise. Through these systems, students receive guidance on career paths and programs that match their interests with growing fields in their region. Stakeholders at the college- and state-level now have access to the metrics they need to analyze effectiveness and make data-driven program changes that forge long-term, positive outcomes. Access the full project highlight to learn more about each integrated system.

Employee Highlight: Kristin Boehne

Employee Highlight: Kristin Boehne

Kristin Boehne, Solution Analyst, is one of our most recent hires, but her dedication to clients and keen attention to detail is already apparent. Her first project recently wrapped up, and due to her phenomenal requirements specifications and rapid responses to questions, it was described as a textbook example of success. No surprise, really, given her 10+ years of expert leadership in designing and delivering solutions that boast best-in-class user experiences and powerful functionality.

The balance of functional design, hands-on problem solving and client consulting is what attracted Kristin to the Five Star team — where she is able to put her human-centered design and leadership training to work.

“What impresses me about Five Star is the deep commitment to client satisfaction. We’re not just building meaningful technology — we’re building relationships.” – Kristin Boehne

Five Star Cares: Riverfront 2017

Five Star Cares: Riverfront 2017

The Five Star team recently participated in our annual cleanup along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which can be accessed just steps from our office in Pittsburgh’s North Shore neighborhood. Dozens of trash bags were filled, as we conquered nearly a mile of overgrowth — thanks to expert power tool handling by determined members of our development team. Efforts were led by Friends of the Riverfront, a local nonprofit working to protect and restore the Pittsburgh region’s rivers and riverfronts.

Data: A Defining Moment

It’s no surprise that the term ‘big data’ has become integrated in companies, classrooms and conversations across the globe. Robust analytics provide the insight needed to efficiently and effectively drive business decisions and respond to complex challenges — the use and importance of data spans all industries.

With that said, the momentum behind the need for increased analytics has picked up more recently. It is the #1 request on our client wishlists. With rapidly changing landscapes and ever-evolving technology — improved collaboration between systems and agencies is fundamental to fostering growth. Five Star is ahead of the needs-curve and has partnered with various organizations on technology-driven ways to reduce barriers to data — providing access to the insight needed to better understand the key performance metrics. Perhaps even more interesting, we often find that clients have more usable data than they are aware of, and may only really need a more manageable way to access and view metrics.

From small workforce development organizations to community college consortiums to Fortune 500 companies, they’ve all had their defining data moment — and we’ve helped them all crack the code. We understand your needs, have the resources in place and can create a custom strategy for disparate, non-existing or difficult-to-access data challenges. Talk to us about what you want to know, and we’ll create a solution to get you the answers. Let’s put your data needs into action!

David Colaizzi

Lou Camerlengo


April 2017

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