In new full academic year endeavor, Harris Policy Labs focuses on social policy and helping the disadvantaged in 2021-2022

Helping others

For the first time since the Harris Policy Labs program was established six years ago, a social policy-focused Policy Lab will be offered all three quarters, enabling students to maximize policy impact on a range of issues intended to improve the public and nonprofit sectors’ ability to serve disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities. 

These three consecutive Social Policy Labs, to be led by Chapin Hall’s Senior Research Fellow Robert Goerge and Senior Researcher Leah Gjertson (both Harris Lecturers), will allow students who have keen interests in social policy, inequality, and low-income populations to work on client-driven projects aimed at increasing institutional capacity to deliver needed services and supports to the unemployed, to low-resource families, and to other underserved populations.

The projects that students will undertake build on Professor Goerge’s decades of expertise and Chapin Hall’s program of policy research. Chapin Hall has developed strong relationships with government and community agencies to help advance policy using evidence-based rigorous analysis. Students in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring Social Policy Labs will interact with government agency and community partners to help them accelerate the use of evidence in practice, build more effective policies, services and systems, and better serve their constituents.

In Autumn Quarter, Policy Labs students will work on projects for three of the nation’s largest states, as well as a health and social needs project in Harvey, Illinois, a highly impoverished Chicago suburb. As new students rotate into the Social Policy Labs in Winter and Spring Quarters, they will likely pick up the work where the prior teams left off.

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