Data Science Upskilling (DSU) Program

Data Science Upskilling, image of 3D data and graphs.

The CDC Data Science Upskilling (DSU) program helps CDC employees build the foundational data science skills and access the tools they need to create and share modern, integrated, and high-quality information that protects the nation’s health. CDC staff and fellows learn and apply skills through this 10-month team-and project-based training opportunity. DSU strengthens skills in data science, analytics, modeling, and informatics and advances the development of a state-of-the-art workforce at CDC.

How DSU Works

CDC employees and fellows self-form teams to apply for participation in DSU to receive technical support on projects. Each team applies by submitting a proposed data science project that is important to their work and aligned with CDC priorities (e.g., CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative, emergency response-related events). Teams accepted into DSU learn directly from data science experts, receive support from peers and a learning community, and use curated online learning resources.

Program activities include:

  1. Skill-building training and curriculum,
  2. Team project-based learning, and
  3. Technical advising within a learning community.

DSU is designed to apply adult learning principles to maximize learning. Learners are bringing their center, institute, or office (CIO) projects to DSU so they can apply their data science training directly to their work. This learning-by-doing approach and sharing of knowledge has an immediate benefit for DSU learners, their CIOs, and the agency as a whole.

Impact of DSU Program on Data Modernization

The DSU program supports CDC’s Public Health Data Modernization Initiative by improving the data science capacity and capabilities of the CDC workforce.

The program grew 176% from 13 teams in 2019 (when the program started) to 36 teams 2022. Over these 4 years, DSU upskilled more than 360 individual learners in data science.
The expected long-term impact of DSU is advancement of CDC’s mission by supporting rapid identification and mitigation of emerging health threats and collecting and analyzing trusted data to promote evidence-based behaviors, interventions, and solutions to protect health, and preparing the CDC workforce to face the public health challenges of the future.

First year CDC Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program fellows are automatically enrolled in the DSU program and have access to a variety of data science trainings.