Dashboard seeks to highlight key data points to address five issues facing Routt County
Project led by United Way of the Yampa Valley hopes limited data points can help focus the conversation on solutions.
A new project led by United Way of the Yampa Valley is working to create a community dashboard highlighting key data points about Routt County in an effort to better understand the valley’s most pressing issues and have a way to measure progress.
The dashboard has five key focus areas including mental health, quality jobs, housing stability, academic achievement and food security. For each of these (except quality jobs), the dashboard highlights a few data points that have shown a clear connection to outcomes.
The goal of the project is to hone in on these data points and track them over time to see if efforts to address local issues like housing and food security have had any impact. Data points were chosen in partnership with local organizations in respective areas from data that is publicly available and regularly updated.
“A lot of times a lot of data is published and you get lost in that data,” said Andrew Wolk, a volunteer who came up with the dashboard idea and has been leading the project so far. “It allows you to spend a lot more time focusing on what you’re doing. If you have 10, 15 or 20 (data points) it’s pretty easy to get lost.”
The Health Partnership and Mind Springs Health helped pick the mental health data, local superintendents weighed in on which metrics to look at for academic achievement, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority helped with housing stability data and LiftUp Routt County helped with food security. Wolk said only Quality Jobs lacked a data point at this time, but they have been working with the Routt County Economic Development Partnership to start a community conversation about what a quality job looks like in Routt County.
By identifying these key metrics, Wolk said they are able to better understand the problem and really turn to looking at solutions.
“Each of the issue areas will have work groups, which will generally build off existing groups,” Wolk said. “For example, there has always been a food security watchdog group. … The food security watchdog group is going to broaden its focus in a more systemic way with this dashboard work.”
“Not only will the dashboard be an excellent communication tool, but moving forward we’ll start to form or build upon existing workgroups to focus on more systemically how we make progress on these issues,” Wolk continued.
The work is happening because of the Human Resource Coalition, which is a collection of more than 35 local nonprofits and government agencies across the county. The coalition receives funding from the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. Wolk presented the dashboard to City Council Tuesday and will present to the county commissioners next week, but there is no request for funding at this time.
“Everything is about proof of concept,” Wolk said. “This is something that’s brand new, and it’s hopefully going to add value.”