Public Policy Associates produces high-quality, independent reports that offer analysis and insight to clients and their stakeholders. Here is a sampling:
Child Care Market Rate Study Summary
COVID-19 Impact on Youth Justice Population
Opportunities to Support Michigan Promise Zone Students
Grown Your Own Teachers
Grow Your Own Special Educators
The Child Care Workforce
Juvenile Arrests Drop
How MI Child Care Assistance Program Compares
Digital Inequities and Disparities
Michiganders at Risk of Unemployment
Michigan Digital Access
Closing the Digital Divide for Students in Texas
Statewide Workforce Policy Opportunities
Emerging Cross Sector Solution for Health Related Social Needs
Mentoring Issue Brief
WIF Project Lessons Issue Brief
Cognitive Behavior Issue Brief
Elevating Student Voice
Increasing Access to Affordable Child Care
Aged Out of Crime and Still Doing Time
Building Diversity in the Finance Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the child care industry, seemingly overnight. Stay-at-home orders meant that all but essential workers were staying home, and their children were out of school and child care. There was massive job loss, which was reflected in Michigan’s data that showed a steep drop in the number of child care providers and children participating in the child care assistance program in the State.
The State of Michigan enacted policy changes designed to support families and providers during the pandemic—with a focus on child care access, quality, continuity, equity, and subsidy program retention.
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Office of Great Start were able to study the impacts of these policy changes.
A summary of the study findings can be found here: The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Care in Michigan
The findings triangulate data from multiple sources including administrative data analysis, interviews with parents and providers, and a survey of caseworkers. For a detailed view of what was learned from each source, see the following briefs from 2021.
Public Policy Associates, Inc. is conducting research on the effects of policy changes to the Michigan Child Development and Care (CDC) program, which provides assistance to help families access quality child care. PPA is conducting the Michigan Child Care Policy Research Partnership research with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. This first report from the study details findings about the effects of five key policy changes using aggregated secondary data, a caseworker survey, and interviews with providers.
The Rethinking Job Search program was designed to bolster job seekers’ motivation and confidence in their ability to be quickly reemployed. It offered methods for dealing with the emotional ups and downs of job-searching and provided hands-on activities for job-searching.
The PPA report offers insights for sustaining and replicating Rethinking or a similar program—including recommendations on initial training, monitoring, coaching, and supports; curriculum; and service-delivery modes.
PPA crafted a comprehensive student support framework for the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority. The framework provides activities in several resource categories (skills and knowledge, financial security, and well-being) within three stages of progression that stretch from high school through degree: access, persistence, and completion.
PPA recently partnered with the Michigan Center for Youth Justice (MCYJ) to collect and analyze data on the impact of COVID-19 on juvenile detention and secure residential facility populations in Michigan. To better understand the impact of the pandemic on detention populations, the quantitative analysis focused on collecting and analyzing admissions and discharge data from Michigan’s secure juvenile facilities. The research team asked facilities to provide de-identified facility census data for a ten-month period from December 2019 through September 2020, including demographic characteristics and information on current charges for those juveniles. The research design also included interviews with a sample of juvenile facility and court staff regarding the steps taken in response to the pandemic, including the challenges encountered, lessons learned, and any plans for sustaining a reduced population in the future.
The Michigan Works! Network is comprised of 16 individual Michigan Works! agencies, the Michigan Works Association, the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development Agency, other state agencies, and community partners. It is a unified workforce development system, designed to help employers meet talent needs and job seekers obtain and maintain family-sustaining employment. PPA recently conducted a scan of the network and found key strengths in the MW! agencies’ role as conveners of community partners, engaging employers, and continuously seeking to improve services. The scan highlights the statewide need for new approaches to addressing the transportation and child care needs of job seekers and provides some examples of approaches that have been implemented locally to address those barriers. In addition, opportunities to leverage the strengths of the network to tackle key challenges going forward were identified.
The network scan was an appreciative inquiry into the nature of the Michigan Works! network, its strengths, how it serves those with multiple barriers to employment, and how the network’s interests and efforts align with Michigan’s talent agenda. The scan provides a point-in-time portrait of the network and draws attention to the potential of the network to continue to innovate for the benefit of the state’s employers and job seekers.
Examining Michigan's Education Workforce: How to Address the Talent Shortage Facing Michigan's Schools
This project was conducted in partnership with the Michigan Education Association, AFT Michigan, and the Middle Cities Education Association. PPA conducted a statewide listening tour with in-person and online sessions. The solution-driven summits documented educator feedback and identified both opportunities and barriers facing educators in the three areas (recruitment, retention, and diversification of the education workforce in Michigan). PPA coordinated, facilitated, and documented the feedback at the sessions. The findings from this report add depth to the issues facing educators and demonstrate the necessity of coming up with responsive approaches to help prepare and retain educators in the most needed subjects and areas in every district in Michigan.
Willamette Workforce Partnership (WWP) is a nonprofit corporation that invests in workforce development programs and represents the Local Workforce Board of Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties in Oregon. WWP’s Rethinking Job Search program was funded by a five-year Workforce Innovation Fund round two grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The program was an educational intervention that applied cognitive behavioral techniques to address the social consequences of long-term unemployment and enhance self-efficacy in job search activities. The program was delivered by trained facilitators interacting with job seekers earning unemployment insurance benefits, and who led them through a proprietary four-week Rethinking Job Search curriculum. The goals of Rethinking Job Search were to increase employment rates for job seekers, reduce time job seekers spend receiving unemployment insurance, and reduce costs of service provision.
Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) was contracted as a third-party evaluator for this program. PPA designed and carried out a three-pronged evaluation, with formative (implementation), summative (outcomes), and cost studies.
In 2014, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) was awarded a Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to implement the Working Families Success Network model in six American Job Centers in the commonwealth. This program, the Virginia Financial Success Network, brought together three strategies into one package: workforce and education services resulting in career advancement, income and work supports, and financial services and asset building. Through these bundled services, VCCS sought to help families increase their earnings and income, reduce their financial transaction costs, and build wealth for themselves and their communities.
PPA was competitively selected to evaluate this important effort. Our evaluation design addressed implementation, impact, and cost, and aimed to provide useful ongoing insights to VCCS and its partners, as well as state policymakers, DOL, and others.
In Michigan, the Department of Education (MDE) is the lead agency responsible for administering the federal child care subsidy funds, which are disbursed through the Office of Great Start (OGS). MDE contracted with PPA to conduct the 2020 Market Rate Survey (MRS) and analysis of the cost of providing high-quality child care. PPA used multiple methods to study child care rates and the cost of quality care in Michigan. A survey of child care providers was used to answer questions regarding the price of care, access to child care, amount charged to families, and provider participation in the child care assistance program. The survey pool included 7,000 licensed and active providers. PPA collected responses via a paper survey, as well as a web-based instrument and direct calling. To assess the cost of providing quality care to meet the health and safety standards in Michigan, PPA drew information from analysis of secondary data and input collected through provider interviews to model common provider cost scenarios using the Provider Cost of Quality Calculator.
Public Policy Associates spent more than three years developing a new approach to evaluation that is culturally responsive and addresses racial equity issues. The guide, Considerations for Conducting Evaluation Using a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens, provides practical insights on how to build teams and establish practices that yield greater insights and seek to ensure that programs are fair and equitable.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau selected Public Policy Associates, Inc. to produce a comprehensive online guide for women about the career opportunities in the emerging green economy and strategies for taking advantage of them. PPA conducted extensive research, including interviews with successful women in green careers from around the country, to produce Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career.
Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) was selected to evaluate Danville Community College’s Retooling America initiative, a highly innovative Integrated Machining Technology program that engages students in a real-life work flow cell experience as part of its curriculum. Funded in part by a Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Retooling America was developed with deep employer input and in response to significant employer needs for workers with advanced precision machining skills. Agreements with local technical high schools and other community colleges have enabled the development of a talent pipeline that is proving to be a key factor in attracting new manufacturers to the region, further enhancing the need for skilled workers.
PPA Affiliated Consultant Michael J. Polzin, Ed. D., has also conducted a case study on the Retooling America Initiative.