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Biography

Brandon Roberts + Associates, LLC is a public policy consulting firm focused on issues of postsecondary education, workforce and economic development. The firm has twenty plus years of experience providing evaluation, planning, program development, research as well as strategic analysis and technical assistance services to a diverse group of clients including private foundations; federal, state and local public agencies; and national intermediary organizations.  

The firm organizes its work around the overall concept that sound data and objective analyses are the essential foundations for effective findings, recommendations and actions. This includes designing and developing program initiatives, which may involve utilizing Theory of Change and Logic Model processes in order to organize, guide and monitor strategic plans and actions. It also includes designing and executing research projects as well as program evaluations, deploying both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques.  In addition, the firm provides advice, technical assistance and workshops on performance metrics and benchmarks.    

In recent years the firm led two major evaluation initiatives. 

  • Designed and now execute a formative evaluation (2007-2014) of the Joyce Foundation's Shifting Gears initiative, a multi-state, multi-year systems change effort that seeks to strengthen state postsecondary, adult basic education and skills development systems so that more low-skilled adult workers gain the education, skills and credentials needed to advance and succeed in the ever changing global economy.  The evaluation activities include overall initiative and state-specific Theory of Change/Logic Model development; twice yearly, multi-site visits to each state followed by formative feedback memos to the Shifting Gears Management Team; and the publication of issue specific reports to inform the broader field of policy and practice (e.g., The Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change, 2009). Six states participate in Shifting Gears:  Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, with each seeking to implement bridge/career pathway strategies to improve education and employment outcomes of low-skilled workers.  

            Reference:  Whitney Smith, Joyce Foundation (wsmith@joycefdn.org)  

  • Conducted a management evaluation (2011-2012) for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of their new national initiative to improve transitions from adult basic education to community college credit-based credentials in five states:  Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina.  The Accelerating Opportunity initiative involves other national foundations (Joyce, Kellogg, Kresge and Open Society Foundation), a national intermediary with technical assistance partners, fives states, and multiple community colleges and adult education programs.  Evaluation activities involve providing formative feedback to the leadership team on efforts to provide management and technical assistance to the states and colleges as they implement the AO initiative.

Reference:  David Goodwin, Gates Foundation (davidgoodwin3024@comcast.net)

In addition, Mr. Roberts has recently started work on two additional evaluations, in partnership with two other firms. The first is evaluating the Rhode Island WIF project, which is focused on building on-ramps to career pathways at the state’s three One-Stop Centers. The second evaluation involves a TAACCCT grant to Wisconsin to establish manufacturing career pathway programs in the state’s fifteen community colleges. 

Mr. Roberts has a BS in government (1975) and a MSP in urban and regional planning (1977) from Florida State University.