Updates from the Youth Policy Lab and the Program in Practical Public Engagement

The Ford School is home to a number of excellent research centers. The work done by our various research centers greatly enhances the academic experience of our students. Two of our centers recently shared some updates about their work this past fall semester. Some of the highlights include:

The Youth Policy Lab , a partnership between the Ford School and the Institute for Social Research, seeks to improve the wellbeing of youth, leading to the improvement of families and communities. Directed by Brian and Robin Jacob, YPL has been involved in a variety of projects. Some of the highlights they have listed from their work include:

  • As a part of our Workforce of the Future data partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Detroit Drives Degrees effort, the State of Education report was launched and is already driving new attention to the issue of post-secondary credential and degree attainment and its impact on the workforce in southeast Michigan.
  • In our role as evaluation partners to the TRAILS program – an initiative bringing effective mental health services into schools – we launched a needs assessment effort for the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) that included district-wide surveys of instructional staff, administrative staff, support staff, and all students from grades 8 through 12. In addition to these survey data, we will be conducting analyses of administrative data from DPSCD to help inform the implementation of this mental health intervention and to lay the foundation for our multi-year evaluation.
  • Our partners at MDRC released a jointly authored interim report describing the findings to date on the Detroit Promise Path (DPP) program. Among other findings, our qualitative analysis indicated that while DPP college students continue to struggle with financial and other non-academic barriers to persistence, they highly value their DPP coaches and are much more likely than control group students to have a good understanding of college process like financial aid, academic requirements, and course selection processes.

The Practical Policy Engagement Program (P3E) is a university–wide resource housed at the Ford School where it can leverage existing expertise and interdisciplinary approaches to generate policy–relevant research, analysis and learning, as well as improvements in organizational practice. P3E centers around three objectives:

Engaged learning: The P3E Program is dedicated towards providing students with opportunities to learn about and to impact public policy by working with real-world organizations, government entities and individuals outside the University. Students engage in semester–long applied policy seminars, client–led class projects, capstone projects, summer internships, and a wide variety of engaged learning activities.

Policy research: P3E supports research that is timely and relevant to impact public policy. The P3E small grant program for faculty is currently being developed.

Policy impact: P3E emphasizes action as a result of thoughtful research and learning. A central goal of the Program is to translate social science research into policy impact to study that translational exercise for replication and dissemination. The Program hosts workshops, conferences, talks, and teach-outs to ensure that students and faculty able to learn the skills needed to translate their research and learning into practical policy action.

Information about the many opportunities available for students through P3E is available on their website.