Design, Sites, and Data Sources
Following its documentation of Akron’s work in the Talent Dividend competition, MDRC’s qualitative case study of five additional top-ranking Talent Dividend cities (Portland, Oregon; Orlando, Florida; Omaha, Nebraska; Columbia, South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia) will be conducted from summer 2016 through late fall 2017.
The research team will conduct a scan of key organizations that are involved with postsecondary education in each city, including two-year colleges and four-year universities, businesses, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, and government stakeholders. The team will begin with phone interviews of key leaders within these organizations and then conduct an in-person site visit to each city to learn about their activities in depth. The team will focus on gathering information on particular areas that might influence cities’ postsecondary completion rates, including contextual factors (such as changes to state policies, the economy, or local labor markets) and specific interventions to improve students’ financial or social support toward graduation, as outlined in the research questions.
A final report analyzing the efforts across all six top-performing Talent Dividend cities is scheduled for release in late 2017.