Latest Publication: 

The Work Progress Program (WPP) was launched in 2012 as a partnership between the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity). These organizations recognized an opportunity to supplement the work of community-based organizations (CBOs) with young people ages 16 to 24 by funding an add-on subsidized job component to their existing youth programming. Our report describes both the broader picture of the benefits and challenges of WPP for participating CBOs, as well as the outcomes for program participants from a sample of sites during 2012-2019. For more insights, read the full report here. 

 

 

Our Expertise

We understand that our partners know more about their work than we do. Therefore, we take a co-creative approach to every project. We prioritize understanding who our clients serve, how they operate, and what their resources and capacities are. With every evaluation, we design and carry out, we work to meet our clients’ unique needs, culture, structure, and history with the ultimate goal of helping them improve their practices and demonstrate their results. Collectively, we:

Bring Expert Research and Evaluation Skills and Experiences to Each Engagement. We generate information and conduct evaluations that support the implementation of effective programs and strategies. Our senior staff members have PhDs in varied fields and years of research experience. Our junior staff members have advanced degrees or the equivalent professional experience. Our team has skills in,

      • Performance management and measurement (including, Theory of Change and logic model development);
      • Qualitative and quantitative research design and methods;
      • Impact, implementation, and outcome studies;
      • Tool development (including surveys and focus group, interview, and observation protocols);
      • Data collection (including interviews, focus groups, observation, surveying, and gathering administrative data such as school, wage, and criminal records data); and
      • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis and apply these to each of our projects.

We purposely hire staff with different academic and personal backgrounds to bring varied perspectives to each of our projects. Our team members are trained in education, psychology, sociology, demography, human development, and criminology and have conducted research on programs, initiatives, and policies in the areas of,

      • OST and youth development,
      • Employment and economic stability,
      • Community revitalization,
      • Criminal justice and violence reduction,
      • Health equity,
      • Social justice and race equity, and
      • Education and STEAM. 

Employ Culturally Responsive Evaluation Practices. MAI acknowledges the reality of white privilege and structural oppression that perpetuate racial inequity in America today. We believe that research and evaluation is rooted in a system of privilege. We prioritize culturally responsive and equitable research practices that center community members and program participants. We ensure that our methodological and analytic strategies and practices are steeped in current literature, and reflect equity, inclusion, and diversity. At the start of each project, we seek information to better understand the cultural context of the program and the systemic inequities that their constituents face. We ensure that our data collection tools are understandable and the measures we use reflect the values and experiences of community members and/or program participants. We incorporate participants’ voices to define successes and challenges, and seek their guidance in interpreting findings. Lastly, we confront our own assumptions and implicit biases about race and equity. MAI’s staff participate in anti-racism and culturally responsive evaluation professional development, and engage in bi-weekly team meetings where we engage in self-reflection about our own biases and how they affect our research. 

Produce and Effectively Communicate Actionable Evidence. We recognize the differing roles of stakeholders and therefore share information in ways that are useful to individual partners—whether it be for informing strategy or tactical decisions, improving programs, or communicating key outcomes or impacts we make meaning of the data we collect. Some of our strategies include facilitated discussions of findings, data memos, infographics that highlight key findings, as well as thorough reports synthesizing information across multiple data collection efforts. We also prepare presentations and reports that are user-friendly and engaging and provide opportunities for participants to reflect on findings and share recommendations based on data.