Projects

AIR developed a coaching series, administered biannually to Wisconsin Technical College System staff. The aims of the series were to support the colleges’ abilities to use research, research methods, and data collection and analysis strategies.

AIR, in collaboration with IMPAQ, is designing and building a borrower-based dynamic microsimulation model of the repayment of federal student loans for the Cost Estimation and Analysis Division of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Budget Services. This work will help the Department better estimate the costs and consequences of student loan debt for a wide array of student populations, as well as understand the impact of potential policy changes on loan program costs and student outcomes.

AIR developed action-oriented summaries of existing research about approaches to competency-based or focused learning. These summaries provide employers, providers, and state policymakers with relevant information and research, with the overarching goal of supporting the design, development, facilitation, or funding of competency-based or focused learning approaches.

AIR is supporting the Business Higher Education Forum in developing a logic model, an implementation plan, and an evaluation plan to address the need for more digital technology professionals in the Washington, D.C., region. The goal of this grant is to identify implementation needs and opportunities and develop a scalable and replicable model for increasing the number of digital technology professionals in the region.

Researchers from AIR conducted an evaluation of CareerSource North Central Florida's Opportunity Quest program. The program leveraged U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Working Families Initiative funding to simultaneously address the job training needs and childcare barriers among low-income, low-skilled parents, giving them the flexibility to train toward a sustainable career path. Through partnerships with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), education and training providers, community-based organizations, and local employers, Opportunity Quest linked custodial parents with flexible childcare resources and supportive services and aimed to provide them with an innovative training program offering occupational and entrepreneurial skills training to help participants develop employability and information technology (IT) skills.

AIR developed and facilitated a training series for Rhode Island high schools that provided staff with data to inform conversations about how best to prepare their students for college and careers. Researchers worked with school leadership teams to examine student profile data and use the information to determine priority areas for focused improvement, inform strategic planning, and access resources to improve postsecondary outcomes.

AIR evaluated several competency-based education (CBE) programs to build evidence related to student outcomes. The evaluation was a response to the minimal availability of evidence-based student achievement and cost outcomes surrounding CBE programs. The goals of the evaluation were to build evidence about student outcomes in CBE programs and provide tools for program leaders and researchers to support evaluation and continuous improvement efforts.

Researchers at AIR are conducting a study of adult-friendly learning models to improve understanding among stakeholders at postsecondary institutions and state system offices and policymakers about (1) What educational and training program models might best resonate with, and support access and success for, adult learners of color; and (2) how to take an asset-based approach to presenting information about program models in ways that are relevant to the strengths, motivations, and experiences of adult learners of color (particularly Black, Hispanic, and Native American adult learners.). Researchers will conduct interviews with and administer a survey to adults of color who are 1) are currently enrolled in postsecondary education; 2) have some postsecondary experience but no credential and are not currently enrolled; 3) have no recognized postsecondary education or training and may be considered current “non-consumers” of postsecondary education. Researchers will also work with a small group of external research partners on collaborative projects related to how adults of color participate in and make decisions about postsecondary education, growing the field with a more diverse and representative pool of experts.

Researchers from AIR supported the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics in data collection efforts related to IPEDS. Specifically, AIR staff prepared IPEDS survey components, developed and maintained written work products, prepared reports, verified statistics, provided expertise on complex data structures and data systems, and participated in planning meetings related to the postsecondary administrative data collection.

AIR is serving as an evaluation partner for the Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative. D4AD supports innovative efforts to expand access to education and career data, with the specific goal of helping students and jobseekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through data-driven information, and especially to help low-income and unemployed Americans access better jobs and education opportunities. AIR’s role is to help grantees, sponsors, and the field learn from these efforts.