U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
8. Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) does great work providing and administering health care to veterans across the United States, but still, health disparities remain. In 2012, the VHA created the Office of Health Equity (OHE) to mitigate these issues. My goal is to research OHE’s efforts, as well as those taken by other relevant offices inside and outside of the VHA. This research will inform my recommendations for facilitating better communication and creating performance measures to track that communication; the ultimate objective being to streamline the processes that diminish health disparities. Ideally this process would foster stronger relationships between the VHA and other related offices, bolster information-sharing, showcase achievements, and cast the OHE in a role that says, “what can our office do for you?”.
9. Research Review of the Academic and Workforce Outcomes of Career and Technical Education Secondary School Participants. For my project, I assisted the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in understanding the effectiveness of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and the accessibility to high-quality programs by conducting a research review on CTE programs at the high school level across the country. In 2006, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV) was reauthorized. Congress re-committed to providing nearly $1.3 billion annually for CTE programs, which are administered through the U.S. Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education State Grants program.1 While CTE programs are common throughout high schools and can have a positive impact on students' outcomes, the challenge has been providing high-quality programs because of several issues including a lack of transportation to work programs and difficulty finding or keeping teachers for in-demand industries and occupations.2,3 The GAO sought a research review on peer-reviewed studies on student outcomes.
The research question addressed is as follows: What is known about the academic and workforce outcomes of participants in CTE programs at the secondary school level? The final product is a detailed review and synthesis of research using an articulated inclusion/exclusion criteria and search strategy.
10. State Activity Relating to Illicit Drug Use Prevention and Education for Adolescents 12-17. This project addresses an information gap around the amount and effectiveness of state government involvement in underage substance use prevention and education. It seeks to answer the research question, “what are states doing to prevent underage substance use, and how are the results of those efforts measured?” This project answers this question by surveying curriculum and program models commonly used at the state level, determining the degree to which those models are evidence-based, and the ways states track effectiveness of programs implemented to prevent illicit drug use. In this project, I provide a summary of selected state prevention and education efforts targeting adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. This includes both community- and classroom-based prevention and education activity.
Bipartisan Policy Center
11. ISAs & WIOA: Income-Share Agreements as a Workforce Development Tool. This project seeks to develop a workforce ISA pilot program to be implemented through workforce development boards (WDBs) nationwide and to be applied to short-term (less than one year) certificate and training programs. A review of the literature reveals a dearth of evaluation on effective ISA design and implementation practices as well as on the impacts of ISAs on student outcomes or the economy. I conduct a systematic review of ISA programs applied to nonprofit higher education and training programs to determine best practices for ISA design elements, and I conduct interviews with workforce ISA experts to glean additional information on best practices, lessons learned, and opportunities and challenges of implementing a workforce ISA. I use the best practices I identified and other key takeaways from this research to design a pilot program for an ISA program to be piloted through workforce boards nationwide. Workforce ISAs offer an opportunity to capitalize on existing knowledge and career counseling infrastructure within WDBs to streamline the process of enrolling students in education and training programs that lead directly to in-demand occupational skills. However, uncertainty about how regulations impact ISAs – at the national, state, and local levels – poses a challenge to the creation and implementation of successful workforce ISA programs.