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Polco News & Knowledge

Take Your Career to the Next Level With Data-Driven Decision-Making Certification

data-driven decision-making certification

Polco and ICMA host a new certification program that will empower local government practitioners to make smarter decisions with data.

Local government decision-making is challenging without the right data to back up your actions. There are many competing priorities among various municipal departments, elected officials, and residents. Data can help you unify stakeholders around the most important issues, boost efficiency, streamline strategic and comprehensive planning, and produce better outcomes. 

The problem is, how do you know where to start? What do you measure? How do you collect data? How can you be certain the data you have are quality? How do you analyze data results and incorporate them into strategic plans and initiatives?

Learn the answers to all these questions and much more in an upcoming online course taught by Polco data science experts. (Read more about the speakers below). 

Register Now!

During the course, you will learn: 

  • Best practices to gather data and formulate survey questions.
  • How to use data for strategic planning, budgeting, and performance measurement.
  • How to design a sustainable data-driven measurement system that can track performance in a meaningful way.
  • Promising practices in transparency and accountability to build government trust at the local level.
  • Participate in a Capstone Project to put what you’ve learned into real action! (For example, your project can contribute to a better workplace environment, build a public engagement plan for your city, and/or more.)

The online course takes place from April 20 to October 4. There are six different modules. Each module is 1.5 hours long and full of fun activities and collaborative discussion. 

By the end of the course, you will be an expert in data-driven decision making! Get ready to lead smart planning decisions and move your organization and your community forward. 

This certification course is brought to you by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Register by April 20th. Space is limited so sign up now before spots run out!

Register Now!


nick-150x150Nick Mastronardi  is a public servant, academic, and CEO of Polco. Prior to founding Polco, Nick served as a senior economist at Amazon, in the same role on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in the White House, and 10 years as an active-duty Air Force officer including time on faculty at the Air Force Academy. Nick holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and serves in the Air Force Reserves.

MichelleMichelle Kobayashi has been a  survey research thought-leader  for more than 30 years. She has written numerous books and articles on the subject. As a community survey expert with experience working in local government, she travels the country to speak professionally and lead workshops about resident surveys, performance measurement, strategic planning and more. Kobayashi helps lead the innovation efforts of National Research Center at Polco, and keeps Polco at the cutting edge of the survey industry.

tobin_headshotTobin McKearin is a strategic and people-focused leader, complex problem solver, economist, and combat pilot. He is a career Air Force Officer with extensive leadership experience in data analysis, risk management, project management, and process improvement. Tobin has over 20 years of experience in risk management, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance and over 12 years in predictive modeling, statistical forecasting, and data analysis, where he has played roles as an individual and as a team lead. He has a bachelor's degree in economics and operations research from the United States Air Force Academy, masters in  economics from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas. 

Matt_webMatt Fulton served in local government for over 30 years as a city manager.  During his career, Matt has had the opportunity to provide leadership at the local, state, and national levels, including serving on the ICMA Executive Board, the Minnesota League of Cities Board of Directors, and as president of the Minnesota City/County Management Association. Building innovative and proactive communities with a focus on strengthening civic engagement has been a mainstay of Matt’s professional commitment. He has worked with Polco for almost five years as director of national engagement.  Matt focuses on helping community leaders build strong and sustainable engagement and performance measurement programs using Polco’s technology platform and suite of benchmark community survey tools.

For more details on the curriculum, visit: icma.org/events/data-driven-decision-making-certificate-program


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