Projects

PPI performs a range of social policy research and evaluation for government, non-profit and community-based organizations.

Workforce Development

The Oregon Talent Assessment

In partnership with ECONorthwest, PPI is developing the Oregon Talent Assessment for the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.The Oregon Talent Assessment provides an opportunity for business and industry to identify in-demand jobs and skills to focus and prioritize public and private investment in workforce and talent development in the state.The Talent Assessment will also investigate the existing collaboration between industry and talent development suppliers, and provide context for developing the stateís education and training attainment goal for adult Oregonians.

Business Champion for Talent Development

In partnership with FutureWorks, PPI is assisting the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation in developing a framework for a Business Champion for Talent Development recognition and technical assistance model.The goal of the program is to strengthen and facilitate greater business engagement in talent development across the talent development spectrum of K-12 education, postsecondary education, and incumbent worker training. The program will identify key levers of talent development, develop self-assessment tools for employers to measure their level of engagement, and link results to targeted technical assistance, including reference materials, expert consultation, communities of learning, and periodic workshops and convenings on engagement strategies.

Workforce Development Landscape Scan and Needs Gap Analysis

For the Indianapolis Private Industry Council (EmployIndy), PPI conducted a Workforce Development Landscape Scan and Needs Gap Analysis. Hire Up is a collaborative effort of EmployIndy to align Central Indianaís education and workforce development resources with the talent needs of the regionís key wealth driving sectors and emerging economies. Hire Up contracted with Program and Policy Insight (PPI) to investigate the projected capacity of existing programs to meet identified demand for technically skilled workers within key wealth driving sectors in the region.Through extant data review and key stakeholder interview, PPI collected projected participation and completion data, provided a catalogue of existing STEM, technical, and workforce development efforts, assessed the utility of existing program data, and provided summary observations and recommendations for next steps in the effort.

Evaluation of Illinois Workforce Innovation Fund
The State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) received Workforce Innovation Funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) program. The ATIM program has distributed funds to Illinois Local Workforce Industry Associations (LWIA) to develop collaborative programs that provide training to individuals for jobs in the manufacturing industry while helping manufacturers address the skills gap. Under subcontract to Social Policy Research Associates, PPI is contributing to the experimental evaluation of the ATIM program required by the federal government. PPI is responsible for coordinating random assignment implementation for selected sites, and for contributing to a process study of the initiative.

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) is an initiative of national and local funders, intended to advance the careers of low-wage workers using a model of substantial employer engagement to increase the potential for successful outcomes. Since 2007, the initiative has assisted regional funding collaboratives in 30 communities across the country to develop a pipeline of skilled workers, meet the needs of employers and promote improvements to business practices and public policies. PPI has been a key partner in the national formative evaluation of the NFWS initiative, first as subcontractor to Workforce Learning Strategies from 2007-2012, and since 2012, as the primary national evaluation contractor. The national evaluation draws on multiple data sources to yield information about the modelís effectiveness and the initiativeís progress toward goals. PPI has been responsible for the development and implementation of a web-based outcomes data collection system, collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and presentation and communication of evaluation findings.

Technical Assistance to Health Profession Opportunities Grantees
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) program provided grants to state entities, local Workforce Investment Boards, institutions of higher education, community-based organizations, Indian tribes and tribal organizations. The grants are intended to provide opportunities for education and training to TANF recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the health care field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. This project provided responsive technical assistance individualized for HPOG grantees providing healthcare sector based workforce development programs. Technical assistance must take into account diverse program designs, population, and regional contexts while sharing best practices and lessons learned from the field. Under subcontract to JBS International, PPI staff developed and provided customized TA to HPOG grantees.

 

Community and Human Service Development

Bridging Oregon

Bridging Oregon is an initiative of The Oregon Community Foundation that seeks to bridge cultural divides and build social capital through dialogue, engagement, and discussion. These efforts have related but distinct goals across program grantees, including engaging active citizens in addressing perceived cultural barriers, and building civil discourse and deliberative democracy. PPI is implementing an evaluation framework designed to help understand program outcomes and support cross-organization learning across Bridging Oregon grantees and partner organizations. Evaluation activities include on-site assessment, outcome surveys, and benchmark surveys, as well as qualitative data collection related to stakeholder experience and perceived impact.

Yamhill County Needs and Opportunities Assessment

PPI recently completed the Yamhill County Needs and Opportunity Assessment for the Oregon Community Foundation. The needs assessment was initiated to identify current economic and social challenges and strengths in the community, articulate gaps in nonprofit services, and describe the efficacy and opportunities for growth of existing organization and partnerships currently addressing local needs. The goal of the effort was to collect comprehensive information to inform future funding, programming, and policy decisions within the region broadly and by select funder organizations. The needs assessment gathered community needs and perspectives in five core domains, including: county demographic and social characteristics, economy and employment, training and education, health and human services, and arts and culture. The PPI team conducted extant data review, facilitated interviews with key community stakeholders, and implemented an online community survey.

Community Indicators Reports
Under subcontract to Parsons Consulting, PPI has contributed to multiple community indicators reports intended to identify and communicate local and regional strengths, foster partnerships and provide information to initiatives that support improvements in overall quality of life. Annual measures typically included in community indicator reports include current and historical data about demographic, housing, health, educational and economic indicators. PPI made selected contributions to Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County Community Indicators Reports.

Lane County Human Services Commission Strategic Plan
The Lane County Human Services Commission (HSC) provides health, housing and human services under the sponsorship of Lane County, OR, and the cities of Eugene and Springfield, and through partnerships with other public, private non-profit, and private community-based organizations. In 2008, the HSC sought to determine community human service priorities and develop a long-term strategic plan for effective provision of human services. Under contract to the HSC, PPI developed a multifaceted approach to identify service priorities and appropriate funding strategies for human services in Lane County. Program components include review and analysis of existing data, primary data collection through interviews, focus groups, and a community wide survey, comprehensive data analysis, and development of a long term strategic framework for service development and resource allocation.

Evaluation and Technical Assistance Services for the Making-Connections Denver Family and Economic Success Cohort
The national Making Connections (MC) initiative is an innovative effort of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to involve community stakeholders in improving economic, educational, and social opportunities for families and their children. Making Connections Denver (MC-D) is one of ten Making Connections local affiliate sites that provide place-based, comprehensive services for families. The Family and Economic Success (FES) cohort of MC-D focuses on strategies, such as supports and resources for job seekers in target neighborhoods, which help families achieve economic success. Through a contract with the Piton Foundation, PPI provided strategic evaluation and technical assistance services to help MC-D develop an FES evaluation system that facilitates ongoing data collection and program improvement. PPI provided evaluation capacity building services and developed individual evaluation plans for each FES partner organization, as well as an overall FES evaluation plan across programs.

Impact Evaluation of the Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project
The Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project, funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, provides funding and other support to selected intermediary organizations that in turn offer a variety of capacity-building services to faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs). Capacity-building services typically include a combination of group training and networking opportunities, one-on-one technical assistance, and competitive sub-award grants to selected FBCOs. The impact evaluation used an experimental evaluation design (i.e., random assignment) to assess the impact of receiving capacity-building services, including intensive technical assistance and/or financial assistance, on the organizational capacity of FBCO recipients. Under subcontract to Abt Associates, PPI assisted with random assignment preparation and implementation activities.

TANF Program Evaluation for the City and County of Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver solicited an evaluation to determine whether contracted TANF services to assist participants in overcoming barriers meet identified needs and contribute towards meeting the TANF program work requirements. The TANF Program Evaluation of program effectiveness and cost efficiency includes implementation and outcome studies to assess program processes, define overall program goals, and measure related program outcomes. Additionally, the evaluation developed a database template to help the client manage contractor data and outcomes to facilitate goal attainment. Under subcontract to Public Knowledge, LLC, PPI led the development of the evaluation design and data collection tools, conducted implementation site visits and stakeholder interviews, and led the assessment of implementation and outcome data.

 

Early Childhood and Education Policy

Effectiveness of Promising Strategies in Federal College Access Programs: Study of Student Messaging in GEAR UP

PPI currently serves as a subcontractor to Abt Associates to provide evaluation and liaison capacity on the U.S. Department of Educationís Study of College Transition Messaging in GEAR UP.This randomized study will assess the impact of mobile phone text messages and two-way advising related to college application and participation logistics, and well as growth mindset, on the enrollment and persistence of first generation, low income college students.Findings from the study will inform future efforts to increase access to and persistence in post-secondary education and training among diverse populations across different service systems.

EC-LINC Research to Action: Measuring the Impact of Early Childhood Systems

In partnership with Parsons Consulting, PPI contributes to The Outcomes and Metrics Research to Action project, part of an ongoing effort by Center for the Study of Social Policy and the EC-LINC communities Ė a cross-national network of early childhood agencies Ė to improve the sectorís ability to measure the impact of early childhood systems. A primary objective of this phase of the work was the pilot implementation of a set of cross-national, common indicators of early childhood well-being identified in an earlier phase by the EC-LINC communities. The nine identified indicators measured the health, education, and safety of young children. The goal was to demonstrate that participating communities, representing regions in four different states, could effectively create detailed, operational definitions of each common indicator, and then collect and report data. To inform future implementation work, each indicatorís readiness for full implementation was assessed and lessons learned during the pilot were recorded.  During this phase of the work, the consultants also facilitated the identification of ďsystem performance measures,Ē which could be used to assess the functioning of the early childhood service sector. 

Impact Evaluation of Upward Boundís Increased Focus on Higher-Risk Students
The Impact Evaluation of Upward Boundís Increased Focus on Higher-Risk Students, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, was a rigorous random assignment study designed to provide as assessment of the programís effect on higher risk students. Under subcontract to Berkeley Policy Associates, the PPI team acted at site liaisons, developing random assignment protocols specific to each site, providing technical assistance to sites in preparation for random assignment, and facilitating the implementation of random assignment following established procedures. Funding for this evaluation was cancelled by the US Congress mid-implementation.

 

Disability Policy

Comprehensive Needs Assessment for Oregon Department of Human Services
The Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS) is responsible for the administration and operation of Oregonís general vocational rehabilitation program. DHS contracted with Program and Policy Insight, LLC (PPI), to conduct a Comprehensive Needs Assessment (detailed analysis, information, and recommendations) related to the vocational rehabilitation needs of Oregonians with disabilities. PPI implemented multiple program components to inform the Comprehensive Needs Assessment, including a mixed mode survey of current OVRS consumers, a web-based survey of OVRS staff, a semi-guided telephone interview with other key stakeholders, and an analysis of existing disability prevalence data.

Evaluation Planning Services for Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities
The federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 106-402) authorizes funding and provides the mandate for state councils on Developmental Disabilities to engage in systems change, capacity building and advocacy activities. Since 2012, PPI staff has been providing evaluation planning services to the Council, including development of strategic evaluation plans, logic models, data collection tools, selected data analysis. Additionally, PPI has conducted an overall evaluation of the Oregon Consortium of Family Networks, provided workshops on evaluation as a learning tool, and conducted literature reviews to support and refine program strategy.

Redesign of the Maine State Olmstead Plan

The Maine Department Health and Human Services, Office of Aging and Disability Services contracted with Kirsten Smith and Kendra Lodewick under Bloom Consulting to evaluate and update their Olmstead plan.Initial evaluation work included primary and secondary source research of progress made on 2003 Olmstead roadmap goals, including outstanding needs.Data analyzed and gathered included extant and administrative data, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and member survey.Kirsten Smith and Kendra Lodewick created a detailed progress report/needs assessment based on this research, and subsequently updated the Olmstead roadmap with intensive stakeholder input, including a series of community forums/focus groups held throughout the state.Team members worked with Department leadership to define performance measures for ongoing Olmstead evaluation work, which is in progress currently.