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Rigorous Answers to Critical Program and Policy Questions

Recent News

Feb 26, 2024

Actus has been awarded a 4-year project by the Kansas Department of Commerce to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) impact evaluation of the Kansas RESEA program.

Sep 1, 2023

Actus has been awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) contract by the Chief Evaluation Office of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Actus qualifies for Program Evaluation subgroup status under GSA schedule.

Mar 1, 2023

Final results of the quasi-experimental impact study of the PowerCorpsPHL program shows the skills-based training helped disconnected young adults in Philadelphia improve their employment outcomes.

Feb 21, 2024

Interim findings from the Wisconsin RESEA evaluation show promising impacts.

Mar 1, 2023

Actus has been awarded a 6-year grant by Arnold Ventures to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) impact evaluation of the Colorado RESEA program.

Jul 1, 2022

Actus is awarded a three-year study by the Colorado Workforce Development Council to conduct an implementation and outcomes assessment of the Colorado Workforce Innovation Act HB21-1264 initiative.

Actus Overview

Actus Policy Research (Actus) is an independent research organization dedicated to providing research and program evaluation services to U.S. Federal and state government agencies, non-profit and community-based organizations, educational institutions, and Federal grantees.

Our strategy for successfully serving our clients is simple:

 

First, we pursue projects our experts are passionate about and personally dedicate ourselves to the successful implementation of each one. We approach each project with fresh eyes, working closely with our clients to efficiently and effectively develop the best solutions to address specific project needs.

Second, our flexible operational model reduces "budget bulge" by prioritizing our most valuable resource - our researchers  - over excessive organizational and operational structures.  So, compared with the industry standard, our experts can spend more time on projects to ensure the delivery of top-notch research and evaluation services.

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Research and Evaluation Services

Services

Impact Evaluation

Our researchers bring substantial expertise in developing randomized controlled trial (RCT) and quasi-experimental impact studies of labor market and social policy interventions.  Currently, we are using RCT methods to assess the impacts of job-search assistance programs targeting unemployment insurance (UI) recipients in five states, and quasi- experimental methods to estimate the impacts of programs providing training to youth workers in the green energy sector.  Our experts' prior work includes national RCT impact studies of job-search assistance, entrepreneurship training, and employer inspection programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as quasi-experimental impact studies of vocational training, educational, and welfare programs funded by state government agendies and private organizations across the United States.  

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Policy Analysis

Our researchers bring substantial experience in developing white papers and literature reviews to guide policymaker decisions to adopt new social policies or modify existing policies.  Our work includes papers, policy briefs, and book chapters on unemployment insurance and vocational training, entrepreneurship, juvenile delinquency, food assistance, and welfare policy.  Our work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Justice, among others.  

Implementation and Outcomes Assessment

Actus researchers have conducted dozens of implementation and outcomes assessment studies, providing valuable insights on program processes and performance.  These studies often identify the program's theories of change, assess its efficacy in reaching target populations, identify performance indicators and monitor performance and activities, and identify best practices and lessons learned.  Currently, Actus is assessing the performance of 60+ grantee programs in Colorado and conducting implementation studies to support five large-scale RCT impact studies of job search assistance programs in five states.  Our team's past work incudes similar studies of the Social Innovataion Fund and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program in 12 states.  

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Research and Analysis

With years of experience, our staff provides expert support to policymakers and practitioners to develop, monitor, and evaluate social policy interventions. We develop and administer surveys, create management information systems to monitor program activities, collect and analyze administrative data to inform program operations, conduct interviews and focus groups to obtain information about program implementation and participant experiences, help program stakeholders identify program best practices, develop indicators of program success, and provide continuous feedback to improve program design and efficacy.

Meet Our Team

Our team includes highly-skilled researchers with substantial experience in providing research and evaluation services and policy consulting to U.S. Federal and state government agencies, as well as non-profit, educational, and community-based organizations across the United States.  We bring subject matter expertise in a wide range of policy areas, including labor market, entrepreneurship, education and training, welfare, and criminal justice and youth policy.
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Eileen Poe-Yamagata
President
Princi
pal Researcher
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Marios Michaelides
Director of Research
Peter Mueser
Principal Researcher

Learn More About Our Work

Our Work
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Local Workforce Training Programs
Using evidence-based strategies to develop workforce training that improves worker employability and addresses local labor market needs is key for identifying and supporting impactful interventions that seek to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Actus is currently evaluating two innovative workforce training programs implemented in Philadelphia  – the Bright Solar Futures program (funded by the Philadelphia Energy Authority) and the PowerCorpsPHL training program (funded by EducationWorks). These programs engage formally incarcerated and at-risk youth in training and career counseling services focused on Philadelphia's workforce development priorities in the green jobs sector. 
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Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA)
State UI systems aim to provide unemployed workers with partial replacement of their lost earnings while actively searching for new employment. To achieve this objective, state workforce agencies often require UI claimants to participate in job-search assistance interventions to ensure they actively search for work while collecting benefits and to provide them with services that would help them connect to suitable employment. ​ In 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offered grants to state workforce agencies to implement the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program, requiring that UI claimants undergo an eligibility review to confirm compliance with UI work search requirements. Since the inception of the REA program, Actus experts have been at the forefront of conducting randomized controlled trial (RCT), implementation, and outcomes studies of state REA programs. Our early work established the positive impacts of REA during the Great Recession and found that offering job counseling in addition to the eligibility review may lead to even higher impacts. ​ Partly due to our researchers' work, in 2015, DOL instructed states to modify their existing programs, to require participants to undergo both an eligibility review and receive job counseling services. To emphasize this shift, REA was renamed to RESEA. In 2018, RESEA programs gained permanent funding through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 under the condition that states would produce credible evidence on the effectiveness of their programs by FY2024. 
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State Workforce Systems and Training Initiatives
Building a skilled workforce that meets the needs of employers is a key objective for state workforce agencies. When it comes to workforce programming, knowing what works and what doesn't is critical for sound decision-making.  Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado invested $60 million to fund a wide range of grantee training and career counseling programs and other workforce initiatives that would help prepare Coloradans impacted by COVID-19 for well-paying, quality jobs. Assessing the impact of the programs funded by this initiative became an important objective. Actus is working with the Colorado Workforce Development Council to develop and implement a comprehensive framework for evaluating the impacts of this stimulus funding in six program areas. ​
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