About Our Courses


Information about courses to be offered in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 will be available on September 1, 2017. To be notified, check back, subscribe to the course notification list, or send an e-mail to courses@sbnstrategies.com.


Why Did We Create These Data Training Courses?
Public, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations seeking to understand and better their communities are awash in data. Thanks to the internet and personal computers, everyone now has instant access to massive amounts of raw data and the resources needed to analyze them. Today’s mission-driven organizations consequently are challenged to make sense of a flood of facts, identify the salient ones, and communicate them in ways that can inform local change.

The richest sources of community-level demographic, economic, and housing data are those prepared by public agencies like the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. These agencies produce timely, free estimates of local social and economic conditions that often can be broken out by such traits as age, sex, race, income and education.

Despite being rich sources of community insights, public data products also are complex sources full of concepts that differ from popular understandings. Without an appreciation of the nuances, organizations and analysts are apt to make errors of fact and interpretation. Fortunately, the concepts  are easily accessible to any curious person willing to learn, even someone with little prior exposure to statistics or quantitative methods.

All that is needed is a good orientation, which is what inspired South by North Strategies, Ltd. to create this set of courses. Developed for individuals working in mission-driven organizations, these courses will prepare people at any level of an organization—especially those wary of numbers—to use public data to inform local change.

What Practical Things  Will I Learn?
These courses aim to enrich the skills of practitioners working in nonprofit, philanthropic, and public organizations to use public data to understand local communities. Participants leave each session able to complete such tasks as the following:

  • Define a local community in a manner suitable for analysis
  • Understand exactly where to look to find the data of interest
  • Describe a community’s basic population and economic profile
  • Communicate data more effectively to popular audiences
  • Incorporate data into reports, grant applications, presentations and other workplace documents

Who Should Attend?
In short, any staff member of a mission-driven organization (e.g., public, nonprofit, or philanthropic agency) interested in learning more about using census data in their work. Executive directors, board members, senior managers, program officers, analysts, grant writers, development associates, and communications personnel—anyone who want to improve their abilities to understand, interpret, use, and talk about data can benefit. And, no prior exposure to statistics and quantitative methods is needed to benefit from the materials!

How Is a Typical Course Structured?
The exact structure of each course varies by topic and length, but below is a representative schedule for a daylong training class:

8:30 am:        Registration & Coffee
9:00:              Welcome and Introduction
9:10:              Topic 1: Data in Context
10:00:            Break
10:15:            Topic 2: Essential Concepts, Part I
11:30:             Break
11:45:             Module 3: Essential Concepts, Part II
12:45 pm:       Lunch (on your own)
2:00:               Practical Exercises
4:00:               Concluding Thoughts
4:30:               Adjourn

Who Is The Instructor?
The principal instructor is John Quinterno, the founder and principal of South by North Strategies, Ltd. Over the course of his career, Quinterno has directed applied research projects into matters of labor economics, workforce development, regional economic development, social insurance, postsecondary education, and fiscal policy. His writings on policy issues, particularly regional and local ones, have appeared in numerous print, online, and broadcast media outlets.

Quinterno  is the author “Running the Numbers: A Practical Guide to Regional Economic and Social Analysis” (New York: Routledge, 2014), which is used as a standard text in various graduate-level courses in public policy and urban planning. Quinterno also is a visiting lecturer at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, where he teaches graduate-level courses. in regional analysis and data communication.

What Courses Are Available?
This core data training course currently offered is “Making Sense of the Census Using Census Data to Guide Local Change,” a daylong class that focuses specifically on data from the US Census Bureau, in particular the American Community Survey.

Other courses focus on advanced demographic analysis, labor market information, economic development data, poverty and economic inequality, housing markets, and data communication. More information is available at this link.

Click here to view summaries of selected courses.

Additionally, customized training solutions are available for interested organizations. For more information, send an e-mail to courses@sbnstrategies.com or call (919) 622-2392.

What Are The Course Logistics?
The logistics vary by course, but in general, courses are hosted at locations in the Triangle region of North Carolina. The registration fee covers all instructional and material costs and includes coffee and morning snacks. Lunch is on your own. Participants also receive access to a password-protected website with all the course materials, along with a certificate of completion.

How Do I Learn More?
Click here to view a listing of upcoming course and to access the online registration system. (Active on September 1, 2017.)

Individuals interested in receiving updates about future courses can subscribe to South by North Strategies’ e-mail list.

Direct any additional questions to courses@sbnstrategies.com or call (919) 622-2392.


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