This past December, Immuta hosted a joint hackathon with America’s Warrior Partnership and volunteers from across the University of Maryland and DataKind.The goal of the event was to leverage de-identified veteran data from one of the affiliate communities of America’s Warrior Partnership in order to discover new ways for data science to support veterans proactively.
Today, America’s Warrior Partnership supports veterans by providing access to employment, transportation, housing, and essentially anything they need. America’s Warrior Partnership is a data-driven organization and is forward leaning in its goals for future analytics. Currently, data is ingested through an impressive internal software application, WarriorServe™, that enables personalized support for each veteran while simultaneously tracking general metrics over time.
The theory is that this rich data could also be used for much more than tracking and metrics. However, that data is also very sensitive, containing personal details about the veterans. America’s Warrior Partnership is also the kind of organization that does not have a full team of data scientists on staff. This was the perfect scenario for Immuta to support—Immuta’s platform facilitates the analysis of sensitive data in a secure manner while making it easy for data scientists to access data and collaborate on findings. That’s exactly what we did at the hackathon.
In preparation for the event, Immuta exposed several authoritative views into data provided by America’s Warrior Partnership. This is work that would typically fall on data owners in an organization, turning a complex schema into digestible views into the data. Immuta worked with America’s Warrior Partnership to understand the tables and exposed complex joined views of that data for eventual analysis. America’s Warrior Partnership created the policies on the views, hiding and masking certain data. These policies were then dynamically enacted based on the user accessing the data. This up front work removed the need for the data scientists to wrangle the data at the event, allowing them to focus on the predictive models.
On the morning of the event, the data scientist volunteers and America’s Warrior Partnership joined us at the Immuta headquarters in College Park, MD starting Friday and worked through the weekend, finishing up on Sunday afternoon. It was a great experience for all involved. Immuta benefited greatly by seeing volunteers working with Immuta to build models and collaborate with each other. We learned what they liked and what we could do better, but overall we were happy to see positive feedback. One volunteer told us that, “by midday Saturday, I forgot I was even using Immuta, which is exactly what you want from a tool.” America’s Warrior Partnership also learned a great deal about how they could collect their data more effectively, where to focus time and resources, and where they could implement quick wins from the event findings.
Some of the other data-driven outcomes included:
- Data insights – America’s Warrior Partnership has a lot of data in their coffers. We learned that there is no need to collect different or additional data; rather, a need to fill the collection gaps while collecting the existing data.
- Predictors – There was a high correlation found between veterans who sought education and found employment. Sure, that’s intuitive, but the data proved it. Combat-deployed and service-connected injury veterans also had a higher likelihood to state they aren’t well suited to adapt to change. That question currently drives much of America’s Warrior Partnership’s triage of which veterans to support first.
Our work with America’s Warrior Partnership is not done. As mentioned above, some data collection gaps must be addressed in order to continue to promote a seamless transition from active duty to veteran status. Specifically, we’re eager to develop solutions that identify transitioning military service members and help to proactively engage them prior to military separation.
We are also working on a developing direct connection between Immuta and the America’s Warrior Partnership software for a tighter integration for the next hackathon. This tighter integration is planned to enable a public transportation concept that came out of at the hackathon. The app conceived at the hackathon will combine employer location and skills they seek (another data point America’s Warrior Partnership plans to collect) with the veteran’s skills, considering public transportation routes, and will make recommendations on the best employer.
Overall, the hackathon with America’s Warrior Partnership was a rewarding experience for all of us at Immuta. Please follow our Meetup group for more details or to get involved with the next hackathon.