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Webinars

The Office of Research & Evaluation (ORE) supports CNCS’ mission by building knowledge on civic engagement, volunteering, and national service. In addition to conducting in-house research, ORE funds cutting-edge research through competitive grants to academics, applied researchers and dissertators at institutions of higher education. ORE also supports research and evaluation of CNCS programs and grantees. The Research and Evidence webinar series is one way to share the methodological approaches, research designs, and findings from these studies.

ORE recognizes that research and findings need to be understood in order for them to be used. In these webinars, ORE hopes to appeal to various audiences – including scholars and practitioners – and encourages listeners to ask questions and offer comments during webinars.

To suggest potential webinar topics for speakers to present or request additional information, please email evaluation@cns.gov.

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for more information.


Past Webinars

AmeriCorps Capacity Building and Financial Effects on Non-profits Webinar

May 23, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Introductory Remarks: Lily Zandniapour, Research and Evaluation Manger, ORE, CNCS

Presentation 1:

  • Title: Expanding the Footprint: How Habitat for Humanity Affiliates Expanded Capacity Through the National Service Program
  • Presenters: Daniel Cooper, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Equitable Cities, Adler University; Judah Viola, Ph.D., Dean, College of Professional Studies and Advancement, National Louis University; Bradley Olson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of Community Psychology Program, National Louis University
  • Abstract: Does hosting AmeriCorps State and National and VISTA members expand Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Affiliates' capacity to serve communities across the United States?  To answer this question researchers conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation for HFH AmeriCorps program and utilized survey data from members during their year of service, program alumni, and affiliates. This research revealed five important findings: (1) national service members increased HFH host site capacity to serve more families by building and rehabbing more homes; (2) members increased HFH host sites' capacity to serve more families by engaging more volunteers; (3) members learned new and transferrable skills; (4) a year of national service provided a pipeline into community development professions; and (5) it successfully connected AmeriCorps members to the local community and the families served.

Presentation 2:

  • Title: Measuring Impact of National Service: Lessons from Research
  • Presenter: Daniel Teles, Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Abstract: How can we measure AmeriCorps (AC) programs' (i.e., AC State and National, VISTA) impact on nonprofits' capacity and ability to serve communities across the United States? Data collection and standardization can make this possible, but place a burden on nonprofits.  Nonprofits already collect a lot of data for themselves, their donors, their grantors, and the government.  How can the data be integrated so that we can better quantify the impact of national service programs?

Closing Remarks: Bethany Cannon, Specialist, Long-term Volunteer Department, Habitat for Humanity International and Anthony Nerino, Research Analyst, ORE, CNCS

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

How Does Participating in National Service Impact Employment and Professional Development?

March 21, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Introductory Remarks: Peter Levine, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University

Presentation 1:

  • Title: The Impact of National Service on Employment Outcomes
  • Presenters: Peter Levine, Ph.D, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Ph.D, and Noorya Hayat, CIRCLE, Tufts University; Jodi Benenson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Abstract: In this webinar, our research team will present findings from a field experiment that tested the effects of listing national service on a job candidate’s application materials (N=1,990).

Presentation 2:

  • Title: AmeriCorps: Transformation through Service
  • Presenter: David Schlinkert, Morrison Institute, Arizona State University
  • Abstract: Morrison Institute’s 2017 will present their findings about how AmeriCorps programming fosters organizational capacity building, job creation, and personal and professional development for AmeriCorps members.

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

Using a “Bundled” Evaluation Methodology to Translate Learning into Action Webinar

January 31, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Presenters 

Cheri Hoffman, Ph.D.; Chair, Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs; Director, Children and Youth Policy Division, Office of Human Services Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Rebecca Frazier, Ph.D., Research Associate, JBS International, Inc.
Linda Cook, Senior Program Officer, AmeriCorps State and National, CNCS

Abstract

Smaller organizations and nonprofits often lack the resources, sample sizes, and expertise to conduct rigorous evaluations. However, “bundling” smaller programs together into a single evaluation can help programs attain higher levels of evaluative evidence, more effectively utilize evaluation resources, promote organizational learning, and build evaluation capacity.

This presentation will draw on lessons learned from the CNCS’ propensity-score-matched evaluation of 19 AmeriCorps programs serving opportunity youth (16-24 year-olds who are disconnected from school or work). We will explore how grant-making organizations, such as government agencies, foundations, and non-profits, and evaluators can determine if a “bundled” evaluation approach is right for them, and share best practices for implementing this approach.

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

Good for Your Health: Volunteering for Senior Corps

July 26, 2017, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

Presenters

Dawn C. Carr, PhD MGS, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Faculty Associate, Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Florida State University
Annie Georges, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate and Wenson Fung, Ph.D., Research Associate, JBS International, Inc.
Deborah Cox-Roush, Director of Senior Corps, CNCS

Abstract

CNCS recently launched two longitudinal studies – one sample included volunteers in the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs; a second sample included caregivers who receive respite from Senior Companions. This webinar shares findings from both studies, which show the strength of these programs to support overall health of adults and the opportunities to expand and strengthen these programs.

Volunteering is associated with better health outcomes among adults. A previous CNCS evaluation suggested further research is needed to assess the differential impact of national service on health outcomes. The webinar will discuss volunteers’ motivation, experience with training and support, and differential impact on volunteers’ health after joining national service. Results show volunteers are motivated for altruistic reasons whether they persist with the program or not; there are positive effects on volunteers’ health following national service for those who stayed in the program. These positive effects do not appear to be due to healthier individuals staying in the program, as the results show no significant differences in initial health between individuals that left and those that stayed.

The study on caregivers identified three groups of caregivers based on their level or degree of need for respite service using survey responses about expectations and reasons for seeking respite services. Results show most caregivers were satisfied with the respite support from their Senior Companions, and reported the respite support met or exceeded their expectations. There were no differences in the distribution of hours of respite support caregivers received irrespective of their need. However, most caregivers whose needs for respite support were identified as critical reported substantive benefits from receiving these services. The results show improvement in health, especially among those with poorer rating of their health at the time they sought respite support.

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

Linking Civic Engagement and Immigrant Professional Success

June 7, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Presenters

Amy Best, Ph.D., George Mason University (GMU)
John Dale, Ph.D., GMU
Katie Kerstetter, Ph.D., GMU
Samantha Retrosi, GMU

Other PIs: Jim Witte, Ph.D., GMU, Shannon Davis, Ph.D. GMU

Abstract

The complex and dynamic relationship between professional success and civic engagement among educated immigrant professionals is examined in a mixed-methods project that combines survey data on college- educated immigrants in seven cities in the United States with qualitative interviews with survey participants. In this webinar we report on findings from 70 in-depth interviews with immigrant professionals employed in a diverse range of occupational fields and residing in both small and large U.S. cities. 

We highlight the strengths of our qualitative research for building conceptual scaffolding to understand the dynamic processes through which civic involvement and professional achievement intersect and to deepen understanding of the cultural and institutional mechanisms linking civic participation and professional success. We find immigrant professionals are variously engaged civically; civic engagement among this population is overwhelmingly tied to professional and vocational interests and skills; and professional networks and community ties play an instrumental role in facilitating both professional advancement and civic involvement. Immigrant professionals participate in both formal and informal community-based organizations and groups, and many are transnational in scope, though none of the 70 interviewed report involvement in national service. Immigrant professionals who reported having few community networks, also reported greater professional obstacles.

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

Do National Service Programs Improve Communities?

May 17, 2017, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

Presenter

Pamela Paxton, Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin, Population Research Center

Abstract

Since the creation of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in 1964 and AmeriCorps in 1993, a stated goal of national service programs is to strengthen the overall health of communities across the United States. But whether national service programs have such community-level effects remains an open question. In this study, we test for a relationship using a large, quantitative dataset of AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, and smaller programs across 1,347 counties between 2005 and 2013.

Using data from Twitter we develop a novel measure of county-level subjective well-being across several dimensions. We run a series of linear regressions to get a broad understanding of how five different categories of AmeriCorps programs influence community subjective well-being. Then we assess AmeriCorps as an intervention in communities with a change score model in a subset of counties over time. Finally, we estimate cross-lagged panels to assess the likely interdependent relationship between AmeriCorps programming and subjective well-being. Results from models show that national service programs do improve community-level subjective well-being and that there is an interdependent relationship between national service programs and subjective well-being.

Materials: Download the webinar materials.

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