Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency (ISIS) Project, Stakeholder Views from Early Outreach

Published: April 15, 2009
Topics:
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Projects:
Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency, 2007-2017 | Learn more about this project
Types:
Reports

The Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency (ISIS) evaluation is a next-generation test of promising interventions for low-income families sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families. A key early step in identifying the interventions ISIS will test was to find out what key stakeholders felt would be most valuable to know. This paper summarizes results from semi-structured discussions with over 250 individuals between May and September 2008.  Informants included a diverse selection of state executive office and agency staff, state legislators and staff, federal officials, researchers, advocates, and foundation representatives. The highest-priority target populations for stakeholders were: the working poor, families facing serious or multiple challenges to employment, disadvantaged youth, and families with infants or young children. Informants recommended testing an array of interventions designed to engage and support individuals in jobs and work activities and improve employment skills. By comparison, informants offered fewer concrete nominations for tests of interventions for individuals with employment barriers. There was strong interest in tests of alternative service delivery approaches, particularly of promising mechanisms for coordinating services as part of more comprehensive interventions. Since many of these discussions were held, the financial and economic condition of the country has worsened substantially, and unprecedented efforts to address these conditions are underway. Although these changes are still taking shape, they seem likely to have important implications for evaluation priorities and opportunities. The ISIS team welcomes feedback on the findings in this paper and the potential effects of the economic downturn and other recent events. We welcome also inquiries from sponsoring organizations or agencies interested in opportunities for testing promising interventions in ISIS.