Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum, has left her role at the university to launch her own nonprofit, Data Driven Economic Strategies, which will focus on solutions for workforce development and producing economic reports for clients.

Bailey served as the director of the forum, which stages an annual gathering that draws business and community leaders to hear a forecast for the coming year and provides monthly economic dashboards to partners, for more than eight years; her last day was Thursday.

She said she wanted to start the nonprofit to provide thorough, unbiased and well-sourced economic reporting to communities and further workforce development by helping businesses, households and individuals make more informed decisions about career paths.

"I feel that there is a lot of bias and misinformation out there," Bailey said via email. "... This is much of the reason I am passionate about providing solid economic reporting to any region that is interested."

Based out of Colorado Springs, Bailey will work with various clients and communal bodies from local school districts to cities such as Colorado Springs to provide workforce development education to improve students' career outcomes and labor market reports that better inform about the economic landscape that businesses and families are trying to navigate.

Three other cities and two local school districts are interested in working with Bailey either to track economic data or provide workforce-related metrics and assistance, she said.  

Rebecca Wilder, assistant program director of the UCCS Economic Forum, will join Bailey as a staff member at the nonprofit along with Bailey's daughter, Gaby Glassford, a University of Colorado Boulder graduate.

Funding for the nonprofit will consist of donations, support from foundations and contracts with clients. 

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Pikes Peak State College, The O'Neil Group, Community College of Aurora, Catalyst Campus and Pueblo Community College have expressed interest in supporting the nonprofit, Bailey said.

The O'Neil Group, a private-equity company, is interested in partnering with Bailey to find out what jobs are needed in the community and how businesses and companies can pivot to meet those needs, president and CEO Kevin O'Neil said.

"Someone has got to measure them (jobs) and say, 'Hey, we’ve got plenty of this. We need more of that,' and that’s years of planning and effort."

Lance Bolton, president of Pikes Peak State College, said: "Fundamentally reliable data that helps us direct the resources we have as a college, meeting the workforce needs of our community, to me, that's what the relationship is all about and what drives our interest of being a supporter." 

Bailey will continue to give weekly economic updates on Fox21.

Joe Craig, the department chair of economics at UCCS, has been named interim director of the Economic Forum. He will serve in the role until the university finds a permanent director. 

Craig joined the Economics Department at UCCS in 2012 as an assistant professor, becoming an associate professor in 2019 and then chair of the department in 2021.

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