Apprenticeship Expansion and Modernization Fund Project

The Urban Institute and its partners are supporting employers nationwide in expanding registered apprenticeships in technological occupations. Tech occupations have grown in recent years across various sectors—including IT, health care, and advanced manufacturing—and we seek to work with interested employers and other partners in these areas. From June 2019 to June 2022, we are committed to helping start over 1,700 new registered apprenticeships in the tech field.

Assets for Independence Follow-Up Evaluation

The Assets for Independence follow-up evaluation continues the work begun under the Assets for Independence evaluation, which determined short-term impacts of individual development account programs on people randomly assigned to participate. This evaluation measures impacts three and five years after random assignment.

Barriers to Racial Equity

The Urban Institute seeks to establish indicators in access to economic opportunity that provide a baseline understanding of the degree of racial inequality in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.

Boys and Young Men of Color

The Urban Institute lays out the challenges faced by these boys and young men in several important areas and identifies a number of policies, system reforms, and programs that could put them on course for successful transition to adulthood.

Bridging the Gap

This ongoing project examines the intersection of child care with workforce development and postsecondary education systems, policies, and practices, and the implications for low-income, low-skilled parents seeking education and training.

Building Child Care Research Capacity

Using and conducting high-quality, rigorous research is a growing part of the work of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies as they seek to improve services for children, families, and providers. With funding from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the Urban Institute operates two centers that develop resources to help CCDF Lead Agencies build their research and evaluation capacity.

Competency-Based Occupational Frameworks for Registered Apprenticeships 

In cooperation with the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, the Urban Institute and its partners have built competency-based frameworks for registered apprenticeships in a wide array of occupations. They provide a framework for various occupations and apprenticeships that employers, educators, workforce agencies, and community-based organizations can use to fast-track the development of registered apprenticeships. Unlike existing approaches to registering programs, these frameworks are not linked to any one employer, region, educator, or industry. They are not proprietary and are available as a tool to all.

Consumer Education and Parental Choice in Early Care and Education

The purpose of this project is to understand how parents find and use information to make informed choices regarding their children’s enrollment in early care and education programs, with a particular focus on parents’ use of information from states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts. 

DC Child Care Policy Research Partnership

In partnership with the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the Urban Institute is addressing the pressing need for research on the supply of quality child care and investments in quality rating and improvement systems. Analyses of supply will be coupled with perspectives from providers, teaching staff, and families to inform policy and programmatic efforts in the District and advance the field nationwide.

Early Childhood Home Visiting

The Urban Institute is delivering timely data and insights on early childhood home visiting in consultation with model developers and other key stakeholders to strengthen program implementation and build an evidence base. Our work is grounded in local context to ensure project results are relevant and useful to practitioners and policymakers.

Effects of Immigration Policy on Inequality among Children in the United States

In this project, we are creating a year-by-year database of state policies toward immigrants and using that database to test how state policies affect immigrant families’ economic well-being.

Evaluation of Adult Basic Education (ABE) to Credentials

This evaluation will generate rigorous evidence for state and federal policymakers, college administrators, funders, and other stakeholders on the effectiveness of Accelerating Opportunity, an initiative to implement integrated college and career pathway designs to improve the educational and employment outcomes of ABE and English as a second language students and develop more cost-effective service models.

Evaluation of Head Start Designation Renewal System

The project evaluates the designation renewal system and examines its role in improving quality in Head Start and Early Head Start.

Exploring Quality, Access, and Funding in Early Care and Education

In this set of projects, we use data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education to learn more about the intersections of early care and education quality, access, and funding. We hope these explorations will inform debates about state and federal policies, procedures, and funding that support children’s development and parents’ employment. We also hope our findings and reflections inspire other researchers to build upon our work.

Family Interventions and Youth Homelessness

In collaboration with Child Trends and with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services, this study offers the first comprehensive assessment of evidence on family interventions as an effective tool to reduce youth homelessness.

First Marriage Rates and Nonmarital First Births among US Women

This project assesses how declining rates of first marriage contribute to rising proportions of nonmarital first births, with a special focus on whether cohabiting might be replacing marriage as a context for entry into parenthood.

From Safety Net to Solid Ground

From Safety Net to Solid Ground offers local, state, and federal policymakers, advocates, practitioners, and philanthropic leaders several resources, including timely, rigorous analyses of potential changes to federal safety net programs. The initiative provides insights into how states manage change and employ administrative flexibility, evidence on how policy changes are implemented in communities, and an assessment of Americans’ health and well-being.

Health of the States

The Urban Institute is raising awareness about factors accounting for a cross-state variability in health status and in the contributory role of determinants of health.

Home Visiting Career Trajectories

This project explores the state of the early childhood home visiting workforce, the characteristics, qualifications, and career pathways of home visiting staff, and strategies to build a pipeline of high-quality home visitors and supervisors across the United States.

Identifying Issues and Options to Understand TANF-Compatible Outcome Measures for Employment Services

This project provides crucial new information on how selected TANF programs currently estimate reliable employment outcomes and explores the issues and options related to the development of an employment-related outcome performance measurement system for TANF, including options to improve coordination between TANF and WIOA performance measurement systems.

Implications of Immigration Enforcement for the Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families

This project explores how immigration enforcement activities, particularly detention and deportation policies, may be affecting the well-being of children in immigrant families, most of whom are US-citizen children.

Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship

The Janice Nittoli practitioner fellowship, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, pairs Urban researchers with on-the-ground practitioners focusing on economic and social mobility in their field. For 2019, Urban selected fellowship, the Urban Institute has selected Ellen Sahli, president of the Family Housing Fund (FHFund). A team of Urban researchers, led by senior policy associate Maya Brennan, will work with Sahli and her staff to explore the effectiveness of eviction prevention services before a court filing.

Kids in Context

We are cutting across disciplines to understand families, communities, and the public systems that influence kids’ well-being and success.

Kids’ Share

A series of annual reports, Kids’ Share looks at trends in federal and state spending and tax expenditures on children—the kids' share of public spending.

Low-Income Working Families

The Urban Institute is studying the economic security and well-being of low-income working families.

Maine Preschool Expansion Grant Evaluation

This evaluation examines the implementation of Maine's preschool expansion efforts and the associations between preschool participation and child outcomes.

Opportunity and Ownership

Our experts inform, analyze, and evaluate wealth-building programs and policies, and recommend ways to improve low- and moderate-income families’ access to safe, affordable credit and financial products. We examine how policies can be more inclusive and how new policies can remove barriers to building wealth.

Opportunities for Youth: Demonstration and Evaluation, Disconnected Youth

This random assignment evaluation is identifying and assessing promising service delivery strategies for youth who are disconnected from work, school, and sometimes family.

Phase II Immigrant Pre-K Access

This project aims to support the school readiness of children of immigrants by creating a data tool to examine national patterns of preschool participation and collecting insights from family and stakeholder interviews in multiple sites focused on effective outreach strategies.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services

With funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Urban Institute is working to better understand racial and ethnic disparities in human services. In the second phase of this project, we will design a plan for future in-depth analysis of racial and ethnic disparities in access to and take-up of services, the nature and quality of services, and outcomes.

The Registered Apprenticeship Occupations and Standards Center of Excellence

The Urban Institute will build a “gold standard” infrastructure of occupational skills for registered apprenticeship programs, helping accelerate the expansion of such programs throughout the US. The center will work with stakeholder partners and coalitions to document occupations and their on-the-job competencies for apprenticeships across a wide array of industries. Urban researchers will compile data and best practices to create a national compendium of quality-driven occupational standards for registered apprenticeships that addresses employers’ changing needs.

Same-Sex Relationships: Updates to Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Programming (SUHMRE)

In this project, we will collect data from key stakeholders to recommend adaptations in program structure and curricular content in Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education programming to make such programming and curricula inclusive of same-sex couples and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

Social Determinants of Health

Urban Institute researchers are investigating how social, behavioral, and economic factors affect health and health disparities.

Strengthening the Diversity and Quality of the Early Care and Education Workforce: Convenings and Paper Series

This series of convenings and commissioned research papers supported the professional development of early-career scholars in the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars Program (YSP). The series targeted a central topic in the early care and education (ECE) field: strengthening the workforce to best meet the needs of all young children.

Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System

Many families involved in the child welfare system face deep and persistent poverty, depression and mental illness, domestic violence, and drug addiction. Homelessness and unstable housing—which increase financial, mental, and physical stressors on children and parents—often amplify these intense needs. Families sleeping in cars, garages, homeless shelters, or doubled up in untenable situations often wind up “in the system” and at risk of separation. Promising evidence from a supportive housing pilot program in New York City led the Administration for Children and Families’ Children’s Bureau to fund a five-site supportive housing demonstration called “Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System.” The Urban Institute is part of a collaborative effort to evaluate this demonstration. We examine how supportive housing affects housing stability, child welfare involvement, and child, parent, and family well-being.

System and Outcomes Evaluation of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) 

The Urban Institute and Abt Associates are conducting a national evaluation of HPOG, a program to provide low-income individuals with training and support needed to find and keep employment in health care occupations and fill the growing demand for skilled health care workers. 

Tracking Resident Credit Health During COVID-19

The economic health of cities and communities depends on residents’ financial health and stability. Examining credit scores, delinquencies, and credit use provide helpful metrics for decision makers seeking to understand how residents are coping and what supports are needed during the pandemic to support an inclusive economic recovery.

What If We Expanded Child Care Subsidies?

Child care subsidies from the Child Care and Development Fund can help low-income families with children younger than 13 (or older children with special needs) pay for child care, yet CCDF’s funding is only sufficient to provide subsidies to a fraction of eligible families. But what if the child care system were funded so more eligible families could participate? 

We explore how many additional children would be served, nationally and in each state, as well as the effects on maternal employment and child poverty if child care subsidies were significantly expanded. Using the Urban Institute’s Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security microsimulation model with 2016 American Community Survey data, we modeled an expansion of child care subsidies so all families with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines who met their state’s other eligibility criteria and wanted a subsidy received one.

Young People and the Safety Net

This project examines key safety net programs and explores how these programs can better meet young people’s basic needs for housing, food, health care, and income as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.


Past Projects

City University of New York (CUNY) Fatherhood Evaluation

This qualitative evaluation identified CUNY Fatherhood Academy program features and practices associated with positive outcomes for participants.

Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA’s Potential Effects on Families and Children

This project explored the demographic and economic characteristics of families likely to be affected by 2014’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

Determinants of Subsidy Stability and Continuity of Child Care in Illinois and New York

This project developed an empirically informed and practically relevant knowledge base regarding important determinants of subsidy stability and child care continuity and the links between the two.

Fathers and Home Visiting

About half a million children in the United States benefit from home visiting programs, which support vulnerable families by encouraging positive parent, promoting child development, and improving maternal and child health. Programs have traditionally targeted pregnant women and new mothers, but increasingly home visitors are also engaging fathers. In a series of reports, briefs, and blogs, the Urban Institute highlights practices five different home visiting programs are using to target fathers, with a particular focus on young and low-income men. Drawing on a qualitative research study conducted for the Administration for Children and Families, we offer recommendations for home visiting programs looking to expand their reach to fathers and we offer next steps for the field at large. 

Linking Depressed Mothers to Effective Services

This project aimed to help policymakers improve systems and policies that affect mothers' receipt of effective depression treatment. Researchers examined state policy choices in Medicaid and CHIP, links between maternal depression and children’s nutrition, and innovative approaches in WIC to support depressed mothers.

School-Readiness Goals and Head Start Program Functioning

This project explored how Head Start grantees develop and use school-readiness goals.

Teen Action Evaluation

The evaluation identified participant experiences of the program, as well as any outcomes with regard to risky behavior, sexual health, and academic achievements.

The Role of Stability in Children's Success

The Urban Institute held an exploratory convening bringing together experts and thought leaders across research, policy, and practice to explore what we know and need to learn to better support stability for children and families.

Understanding the Rates, Causes, and Costs of Churning in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Urban Institute conducted quantitative and qualitative research to advance understanding of the patterns, causes, and costs of participant “churn” in SNAP.