Issue Focus

Top 10 MDRC Blog Posts in 2021

December 2021

MDRC hosts several blogs, including InPractice: Lessons for and from Practitioners, Ideas and Evidence 2021, the Implementation Research Incubator, and the Future of Career and Technical Education. Here are the top blog posts from 2021.

Man in face mask on city bus

Employment Help for the Most Vulnerable: Adapting the Individual Placement and Support Model in a Crisis, by Peter Baird [InPractice, January 2021]

This post describes the creative adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic of two employment providers that use the Individual Placement and Support model to help people find and keep jobs despite multiple, serious barriers to employment.

Dad and toddler doing a puzzle together

Four Ways to Increase the Impact of the Expanded Child Tax Credit, by Clinton Key [Ideas and Evidence 2021, February 2021]

Some estimate that the expansion of the Child Tax Credit could help ameliorate the economic impact of the pandemic and, if made permanent, cut child poverty in the United States in half. But to achieve the promise of these estimates, policymakers should improve the design and delivery compared to the current child tax credit to minimize burdens and barriers for recipients. Here are four research-backed ways to do it.

Alternative Solutions team members

Alternative Solutions for Child Support, by Jorji Knickrehm and Kyla Wasserman [InPractice, February 2021]

New approaches to child support enforcement aim to be less punitive and to serve the whole family, not just child support recipients. Lessons from Washington State’s Alternative Solutions Program show how this shift in perspective has made a difference during the pandemic.

Mom helping young daughter with bike helmet

Using Housing Assistance to Promote Economic Mobility, by Nandita Verma [Ideas and Evidence, March 2021]

For over 20 years, MDRC has designed and evaluated strategies that use the housing subsidy system to support economic self-sufficiency. This post reviews what is known about these strategies, how people respond to them, and what elements should be considered when designing economic mobility programs for families receiving housing assistance.

African American mom and toddler son in doctor's office

Supporting Families with Young Children: Using Existing Services During the Pandemic, by Helen Lee (Ideas and Evidence 2021, March 2021]

Many families with young children experienced severe strains during the pandemic—unemployment, increasing poverty, and increased anxiety and depression. State program administrators can help by strengthening home visiting services and using pediatric visits to reach families. This post offers recommendations based on evidence of promising strategies, and insights from MDRC’s work.

African American college student on video call

Supporting the Success of Male Students of Color During COVID-19, by Erika Lewy [InPractice, May 2021]

The COVID-19 pandemic forced leaders of the Male Student Success Initiative at the Community College of Baltimore County to create an entirely online environment for a formerly hands-on program. Here are some measures the program took to deepen its commitment to supporting and mentoring its students.

Dad giving young son a piggyback ride

Using Data to Identify and Solve Common Program Challenges, by Emily Brennan, Michelle Manno, and Samantha Steimle [InPractice, August 2021]

Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and about service use, but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.

Diverse construction crew examining plans near field of solar panels

Postsecondary Career and Technical Education: A Training Ground for a Greener Future, by Erika Lewy and Rachel Rosen [The Future of Career and Technical Education, August 2021]

Recent federal policy supports creating middle-class jobs in the “green economy.” To better understand how community colleges can build programs that provide reliable growth trajectories for students in this field, MDRC talked with two practitioners about the North Carolina Community College System’s 10-year-old “Code Green” initiative.

Computer keyboard, cell phone, and pens on a desk

Looking to the Future of Implementation Research: What COVID-19 Adaptations We Will Take with Us, and What We Will Gladly Leave Behind, by Erika Lewy [Implementation Research Incubator, September 2021]

With the onset of the pandemic, MDRC implementation researchers halted travel to programs and transitioned their work to virtual modes. This blog post offers reflections on adaptations they made that are worth continuing post-pandemic and on the in-person practices they look forward to resuming.

High school students working on electronics

Learning from the Past: The Evolution of Vocational Education, by Erika Lewy [The Future of Career and Technical Education, November 2021]

To learn more about how program designers, educators, and other stakeholders can learn from the past to build equitable career and technical education (CTE) programs today, MDRC’s Center for Effective CTE spoke with Dr. Eddie Fletcher, an associate professor in workforce development and education at The Ohio State University.

Plus, a bonus post!

Woman leading a virtual meeting

Practitioners Led the Way in Change and Adaptation: Lessons from the Pandemic Year for the Future, by Dina Israel and Jennifer Miller Gaubert [InPractice, April 2021]

The InPractice blog is MDRC’s place for sharing resources and tips developed by practitioners, for practitioners. This review of the 2020’s posts shows how our program partners adjusted to difficult, uncertain conditions and continued to deliver services during the worst of the pandemic.