Life's been pretty busy, but I thought some readers might be interested in what I've been up to.
I just learned that I passed my third and final comp, which officially means I only have the dissertation proposal and defense left. I should propose early in the fall semester. I started back at the Urban Institute, this time in the Income and Benefits Policy Center (previously I was with the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population). They do broadly similar stuff with a few different emphases... I think the split is largely historical. I am working with the workforce development team which means a lot of education and training evaluations.
I have a lot of projects on my plate jumping in:
1. Assessing research plans for an evaluation of Trade Adjustment Assistance training grants to community colleges (not actually doing the evaluations ourselves, but overseeing the evaluators).
2. Part of the evaluation of a health professions training program that was a part of the Affordable Care Act.
3. An evaluation of the Accelerating Opportunity, an Adult Basic Education program.
4. An evaluation of a science and engineering education program in Alaska that I am still green on, but my understanding is that it takes Alaskan natives, supports primary and secondary science and engineering education, and then follows them and provides supports through college for those who continue to college.
I'm also involved in a proposal for an evaluation of an apprenticeship program in Maryland.
In addition to the dissertation and this work I have recently been asked to write another report for the National Academy of Engineering on the role of out of classroom training in the engineering technician and technologist workforce. It will cover apprenticeships, internships, co-ops, and on the job training. I'm putting together some data for it but it will be a lot of case studies as well (because a lot of the data on this stuff isn't that great).
So I'm keeping pretty busy, but the fact that I've been able to focus this work on education and training, and especially on both mid-level skills training and science and engineering is very encouraging for me. My work with the Urban Institute previously was nowhere near as focused on my specific research interests.