California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s Cradle-to-Career Data System is now entering its next phase of development, marked by the hiring of Mary Ann Bates as its first director.

The next phase of development comes after a collaborative 18-month planning process involving over 100 public meetings with government leaders, community members, and data experts.

“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our public leaders, community partners and data experts, California is now poised to launch a transformative system that will enable us to both learn more about how – and do more – to serve students and families in an equitable way,” said Gov. Newsom. “Mary Ann has spent her entire career laser-focused on closing the equity gap and is the perfect choice to lead this effort.”

In a press release, Gov. Newsom’s office said that the Cradle-to-Career System will link existing education, workforce, financial aid, and social service information to “better equip policy makers, educators and the public to close opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for all students throughout the state.”

The governor’s office added that public dashboards and other tools will provide transparency into how students are educated and enter the workforce, along with corresponding insights into how policies and programs can better serve more students and families. Over the course of its lifespan, the system will also expand and scale a one-stop resource – – for students to receive free, individually tailored support for career planning, financial aid and college applications.

The California Cradle-to-Career Data System, housed in the Government Operations Agency, was established in July 2021 after Gov. Newsom signed AB 132. The system is overseen by a governing board representing perspectives across the state, along with processes that ensure substantial public representation.

Bates currently serves as a senior fellow in the White House Office of Management and Budget, and previous to that served as the Executive Director of the North America Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This is a huge step forward in establishing the leadership so the work can begin in earnest to build a data system for all Californians. The board selected Mary Ann as the best candidate to bring the Cradle-to-Career system to reality,” said Amy Fong, chair of the governing board for the Office of Cradle-to-Career Data. “High-quality, connected data is the cornerstone of informed, effective and equitable decision-making. Mary Ann is a collaborative leader and will ensure data are seen in the context needed to shape policy and advance educational equity, and I’m excited to work with her.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs