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The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University

The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University is a University-wide endeavor based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Its purpose is to focus academic research, public education, and innovative outreach activities on a critically important national challenge. The AGI is creating important new mechanisms for bridging the gap between universities and schools, enabling greater communication and cooperation not only among concerned researchers, but also between researchers and education practitioners who grapple with this challenge every day in their classrooms. The initiative also seeks to engage organizations that work directly with children and families outside school hours. 

Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management

Since 1980 the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management has conducted research on major issues in criminal justice policy and management. Established by the Daniel and Florence V. Guggenheim Foundation, the program has had a continuing commitment to include practitioners in its work; to devise situations in which the researchers learn from the practitioners and the practitioners learn from both the researchers and each other, to synthesize and extract the best ideas, and to work to put these ideas into good currency. Integrating theory with practice and academicians with practitioners—through research, executive sessions, teaching, writing, and publishing—the program has attempted to challenge conventional wisdom in various domains of criminal justice policy. 

The Project on Workforce

The Project on Workforce is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, the Harvard Business School Managing the Future of Work Project, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Our mission is to chart the course for a post-secondary system of the future that creates more & better pathways to economic mobility; and, to catalyze action across leaders in business, education and policy to collectively address America’s shared skills & employment needs.  We do this by (1) supporting high-quality research and generating applied insights for leaders in business, education, and policy (broadening the knowledge base of “what works” for building the skills of the future); and (2) using dissemination and convening to close the gap between research and practice on worker training and workforce policies (making research actionable for users). 

The Shift Project

The Shift Project, a joint project at Harvard Kennedy School and UCSF, examines the nature and consequences of precarious employment in the service sector with a focus on how policymakers and firms can improve job quality. Since 2016, Shift has surveyed over 100,000 workers using an innovative recruitment method to target employees at the largest chain retail and food-service firms. We ask workers across the United States about their working conditions, economic security, health, and family life. Our national dataset sheds light on the nature of precarious employment practices — with a special focus on work schedules — around the country and within and across large firms, as well as the consequences of these employment practices for worker and family economic security, health, and wellbeing. The consequences we examine range from a parent’s ability to secure childcare when they are on call, to the impact of a cancelled shift on a worker’s psychological distress. We also bring our data to bear to produce research briefs highlighting workers’ experiences of precarious employment in specific states and localities and we deploy our data for policy evaluation studies, such as estimating the effect of secure scheduling ordinances in Seattle and of paid sick leave in Washington State. Finally, we use matched employer-employee data to describe between-firm variation in job quality and highlight employers who “take the high road” in their approach to job quality.

Stone Program in Wealth Distribution, Inequality, and Social Policy

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Program in Wealth Distribution, Inequality, and Social Policy unites faculty, students, and researchers from across Harvard university and beyond to better understand and address the causes and consequences of wealth inequalities in different populations around the world. Funded by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, the new program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy includes the work of the former Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy and adds new components, including a consortium of doctoral students in the social sciences whose research focuses on income and wealth inequality; policy-relevant and public-facing research that speaks to real-world problems; and public events to communicate research and engage members of the broader community.