Choices about education and job opportunities are among the most consequential decisions that individuals will make for their financial well-being. Yet, most people – especially low-income Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds – make these decisions with less data-driven insight than is the case when choosing a movie to watch at night.  An estimated 13 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, in many cases because they don’t know where to go to get the information they need to navigate the labor market. Opportunities are out there, but workers are simply not able to find them or to get the training needed to obtain them. This not only hurts the neediest in our society—low-income Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds—but also hurts overall economic growth as productive jobs and skill needs go unfilled.

The Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative will support efforts to provide access to education and career data through private/public partnerships and ensure that this information is conveyed to, and used by, the people who need it most. The ultimate goal of the D4AD initiative is to provide better career prospects in a changing economy for low-income, underemployed, and unemployed Americans.

The Initiative


If you are interested in learning more about the project and how to submit a proposal, please find the D4AD Request for Proposals here.


The Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative aims to support innovative efforts to expand access to education and career data through partnerships that might include both public and private agencies and organizations. The goal of the D4AD initiative is to help students and jobseekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through data-driven information, and especially to help low-income, underemployed, and unemployed Americans access better jobs and education opportunities.

The D4AD initiative will fund up to three pilot projects that align with at least one of the following:

  • Innovative efforts to create or expand sustainable, data sharing partnerships that may include: governmental agencies (this may include state, regional, county, and/or city agencies); postsecondary institutions; non-profit organizations; employers; and/or private sector organizations. These projects would move beyond the data sharing agreements commonly made as part of state longitudinal data systems (SLDS) and incorporate different kinds of data or strategies for forming data agreements. For example, they may be focused more regionally within a state or on an urban area that crosses state borders.
  • Produce a data product, for example an API, that incorporates and makes available data from multiple organizations that have formed a sustainable data sharing agreement, data collaborative, or data trust. The included data should contain information on training, education, and jobs in a given area that could be used to inform career pathways above and beyond what is currently available. The data product should be made available to developers and other users of data-driven information with the ultimate goal of providing useful information to the target population.
  • Activities that ensure data and data tools produce information that is made available to, and used by, an identified target population. Successful pilot projects will describe specific procedures for ensuring the target population is accessing and using the data. This could involve partnerships outside of data providers—for example, with social service organizations or other agencies that work directly with the target population.



Listen to the Webinar

You can access a recording of the informational webinar here. 

About Us

The D4AD initiative is a partnership of Schmidt Futures and Lumina Foundation. The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) is the D4AD implementation partner.

Need more information?

Contact Alli Bell,