Meet SPR at Meeting of the Minds

We’re excited to share our work and join the conversation at the California Workforce Association’s Meeting of the Minds: Driven by Demand on September 5-7, 2017. For more information, please check out our sessions listed below: Tuesday, Sept 5, 2017 10:00 – 11:30 Advancing Apprenticeships San Carlos 2 Moderators Vinz Koller, Director of Training and Technical Assistance Social Policy Research Associates Diane Walton, OSID Chief, ETA, Region 6, U.S. Department of Labor Presenters Suzi LeVine, Former Ambassador to Switzerland & Liechtenstein Eric LeVine, CEO, CellarTracker Continue reading →

Connecting Older Adults to Benefits Programs

This blog was written by Anne Paprocki of Social Policy Research Associates. By providing support for healthcare expenses and food, public benefits programs like the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help low-income older adults stay healthy, self-sufficient, and in their homes. But multiple studies have found that eligible older adults under-enroll in these programs due to stigma, belief that others are more deserving, the perceived burden of applying, or difficulty following complex application and eligibility processes. The National Continue reading →

Job Training for the Automation Age

This blog was written by Annelies M. Goger, Ph.D. of Social Policy Research Associates. The global economy is on the cusp of profound economic shifts stemming from the diffusion of new technologies – such as robots, self-driving vehicles, and machine learning – and the impacts they are likely to have on the US economy and the world as a whole. The oft-cited Ball State University report from 2013 found that 88% of job displacements in manufacturing in the last decade were attributable to automation (productivity Continue reading →

Evidence in Action: Connecting Workforce Innovation Fund Evaluation Results to the Implementation of WIOA

This blog was written by Hannah Betesh of Social Policy Research Associates. It originally appeared on America Forward and has been cross posted in full below: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) was one of several tiered-evidence initiatives introduced by the Obama administration—including the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund and the Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) fund—all of which supported the refinement, scaling and evaluation of promising approaches to improve the social, education and economic outcomes for low-income Americans. Through three rounds of Continue reading →

Upskilling Dislocated Manufacturing Workers in Michigan

This blog was written by Heather Lewis-Charp of Social Policy Research Associates. Macomb County Michigan made national headlines after the 2016 presidential election, because the characteristics and voting choices of its electorate were perceived to have been key to the outcome of one of the most fiercely contested elections in recent memory. The results highlighted the negative influence that the shifting manufacturing economy has had on working class men in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In many ways, Macomb County, home to General Motors, Continue reading →


Determining “what works” in social policy is at the heart of SPR’s work. Evidence—as uncovered through evaluation—is critical to improving policies and programs designed to help those most in need. To share our perspective on the importance of evidence-based policymaking and learn from others in the field, SPR recently participated in the #All4Evidence Twitter chat. Continue reading →

Top Lessons for Conducting Needs Assessments in Migrant Education Programs (MEP)

By Sengsouvanh (Sukey) Leshnick and Hannah Diaz from Social Policy Research Associates What Is a Needs Assessment? A needs assessment is a thorough examination of the needs, interests, and objectives of a program. Information collected through a needs assessment can inform and drive decisions about program design and planning. Results from a needs assessment can help program planners gain critical insight into what program participants and communities need and can also help identify any gaps in services. What Are Migrant Education Programs? Migrant Education Programs Continue reading →

Join Us at AEA 2016!

Join  SPR at the 2016 American Evaluation Association Conference! This year, SPR will be hosting presentations on collaboration between internal and external evaluators and capturing a powerful theory of change for field-building. This year’s AEA conference looks at the design governing all aspects of evaluation and fosters conversation about how evaluators can use design to make the world a better place. For more information, please check out our sessions listed below. 2697: Who Does What? Best Practices for Collaboration Between Internal and External Evaluators Oct 27, 2016 (01:00 Continue reading →

Helping Our Clients Ensure Data Quality

This blog was written by Hannah Betesh of Social Policy Research Associates. Ensuring high-quality data is essential for program evaluation. Information about who programs serve and what kinds of services participants access makes it possible for SPR to provide insightful analysis—and to help our clients improve their programs. How can programs ensure high-quality data to support both our evaluation and their own program planning? One client, a foundation that has made a substantial investment in creating and maintaining a services database to track outcomes for its Continue reading →

Learning to Work in 2016

This blog was written by Kristin Wolff of Social Policy Research Associates and Mary V.L. Wright of Jobs for the Future. If you are in the workforce development business, you can hardly get through a day without encountering a crisis-laden reference to the “skills gap.” Sometimes the term refers to an absence of the technical skills employers expect of their workers, and sometimes to workers’ lack of familiarity with knowledge important to their industry or profession. But most often, it refers to the absence of the Continue reading →