Labor Department Creates Chief Data Officer Position

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, left, tours the Continental Tire Training Center Feb. 8.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, left, tours the Continental Tire Training Center Feb. 8. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

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In addition to a CDO, the agency will establish a data board—both in accordance with the OPEN Government Data Act.

The Labor Department announced the creation of a chief data officer Wednesday in accordance with the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, which President Trump signed into law in January.

In a statement, the agency—among the first across the federal government to comply with the Open Data Act—also announced the establishment of a Data Board, which will serve as the agency’s data enterprise oversight body. The OPEN Government Data Act calls for agency heads to “designate a nonpolitical appointee employee” as chief data officer.

“"The CDO will serve as chair of the Data Board as we transform our data infrastructure and capacity to achieve our goal of evidence-based policymaking," Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a statement. “We are pleased to put all this in motion so soon after President Trump signed this important piece of legislation into law."

Labor’s CDO position will be housed within its Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and will report to that office’s assistant secretary. The agency’s Data Board, according to the announcement, “will be charged with providing recommendations to senior DOL officials on the creation, implementation and oversight of a data governance model” that makes decisions related to the department’s data. The board will also coordinate data-sharing efforts across DOL and federal partners.

A DOL spokesperson told Nextgov the CDO position will be filled through the civil-service process after the position is posted for applications. Scott Gibbons, who presently serves in a career position as the Program Manager for Analytics within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, has been tapped as the acting chief data officer. The CDO will be supported by additional career employees selected through the civil-service process.

The DOL spokesperson also said the Labor Department's Data Board will be chaired by the chief data officer and vice-chaired by the department's chief information officer. 

Editor's note: This story was updated with responses to questions from the Labor Department.