Actus Policy Research
Rigorous Answers to Critical Program and Policy Questions
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.
Research and Evaluation Services
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eileen Poe-Yamagata (M.S. Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University) brings 25 years of experience conducting and leading research and evaluations of complex social programs and policies. She has spent much of her career evaluating programs designed to reduce barriers to workforce participation among vulnerable populations, including youth, low-skilled workers, juvenile and adult offenders, and people with disabilities. She has successfully led numerous impact, outcome and implementation studies for the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice and has served as third-party evaluator for major grant initiatives for state, local and non-profit clients. Highlights of her work include a national study to assess the efficacy of American Job Centers to serve people with disabilities and randomized controlled trial (RCT) impact studies of job-search assistance and entrepreneurship training programs. Her work includes implementation and outcomes assessment studies of training, education, workforce development, and youth programs in more than 20 states. Her work also includes studies of training programs targeting previously incarcerated youth. She has authored multiple evaluation reports and policy papers and briefs for U.S. Federal government agencies, the U.S. Congress, and state government agencies. During her career, she has worked as a research associate for the National Center for Juvenile Justice (1992-1999) and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (1999- 2003) and as a Principal Researcher for IMPAQ International (2003-2018), a public policy research organization in Washington, DC. In 2018, she left her position to launch Actus Policy Research.
Director of Research
Dr. Marios Michaelides (Ph.D. Economics, University of Maryland at College Park) is a labor economist who specializes in program evaluation and public policy research, and a subject matter expert in labor market, unemployment, and entrepreneurship policy. Over his 15-year career, he has led research and evaluation studies of U.S. job-search assistance, worker training, entrepreneurship, worker protection, education, health, and international development programs. His work has been funded by U.S. Federal government agencies (including the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development), state government agencies, and non-profit, educational and private organizations throughout the United States, and the European Commission. Highlights of his work include randomized controlled trial (RCT) impact studies of job-search assistance and entrepreneurship programs in 12 states. He has conducted quasi-experimental impact and outcomes assessment studies of dozens of vocational training, education, and workforce development programs throughout the United States. He was a lead investigator in a national study of the U.S. Unemployment Insurance program and led national studies of worker protection programs to help the U.S. Department of Labor improve employer compliance with minimum wage, overtime pay and benefits, workplace safety and health, and equal employment opportunity laws. He has also provided subject matter expertise and technical assistance to government agencies in the U.S. and internationally to develop internal data collection, research, and evaluation capabilities to support their programs. His published works include papers in leading academic journals, policy papers and briefs, and policy reports for U.S. government agencies, the U.S. Congress, and the European Commission. During his career, he has worked as a researcher for the World Bank and the U.S. Census Bureau (2004 – 2007), as Senior Research Associate and Research Fellow at IMPAQ International (2007 – 2018), and as an Assistant Professor at the University of Cyprus (2012 – 2022). Dr. Michaelides joined Actus as a consultant in 2018 and full-time as Director of Research in 2022.
Dr. Peter Mueser (Ph.D. Sociology, University of Chicago) is a public policy researcher with an extensive publication record, and a subject matter expert in training & education, welfare, and labor market policy. Over his 35-year career, he has led research and evaluation studies of labor market, social policy, and education programs in the United States, including studies of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), Unemployment Insurance (UI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Reemployment Assessment and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA), and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs. He brings extensive experience providing policy consulting and evaluation services to government agencies and private organizations and his work has been funded by several U.S. Federal agencies, state government agencies, research foundations, and private organizations. Highlights of his work include randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies of job-search assistance programs in 6 states and quasi-experimental impact studies of WIOA training and TAA programs operating in 12 states. His work also includes national studies of the impacts of the SNAP and UI programs to aid individuals and families to improve their labor market outcomes and wellbeing, as well as studies of the effects of for-profit schools and high school equivalence educational programs in helping adult and youth workers improve their educational and labor market outcomes. He has a substantial publication record, including papers in leading academic journals, policy papers, and policy reports for U.S. Federal government agencies and state government agencies. During his career, he served as a joined Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Economy and Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University (1983 – 1985), as an Assistant and Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri (1985 – 2005), and as a Professor in the Department of Economics and the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri (2005 – present). He has also served as the co-director of the Population, Education and Health Center and the MU Research Data Center at the University of Missouri (2014 – 2019) and as a Principal Researcher for IMPAQ International (2007 – 2018). He joined Actus as a Principal Researcher in 2021.
Learn More about Our Work
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. READ MORE about this important study and our other work with state workforce agencies.
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.
To assist states with these requirements, Actus is currently conducting RCT impact and implementation studies of RESEA programs in Iowa, North Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, and Wisconsin. READ MORE about these studies and our other UI-related work.
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.
READ MORE about our work in evaluating and supporting local workforce training grantee programs.
For any inquiries, questions or recommendations, please call: 301-461-2034 or fill out the following form.
Actus Policy Research
P.O. Box 1792
Rockville, MD 20849