Connecting Students to the World of Work

Status: complete

Purpose: Funded by the Oregon Arts Commission (OAC), Connecting Students to the World of Work (WoW) grants are intended to support projects that draw connections for underserved students to the world of work by offering engagement in the professional elements of an artistic/creative career field. Through an emphasis on the practical application of knowledge in the workforce, WoW program activities contribute to a sequential learning for students to build skills in the arts. The WoW grants are included in an umbrella of State education funding designed to further Oregon’s 40-40-20 Goal: By the year 2025, 100 percent of Oregonians will earn a high school diploma or its equivalent, 40 percent will earn a post-secondary credential, and 40 percent will obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher. As such, the OAC’s WoW programs aim to connect students to the professional arts work, build their skills, and foster an awareness of and motivation for college and career aspirations. The first cohort of eight organizations was funded in 2014 and a second cohort was funded in 2015.

Project Design: The OAC contracted with NPC Research and CRSmith Consulting to perform evaluation-related activities relative to the WoW grant funding. The work had two components:

  • Provide individualized technical assistance to WoW grant recipients. Each grantee organization was provided direct technical assistance, designed to meet their individual needs and help build internal evaluation capacity. This consultation addressed topics such as developing a program logic model, clarifying program outcomes and identifying appropriate means of measuring them, establishing data collection and management protocols, and planning for data usage.
  • Design and perform a cross-site evaluation. The goal of the cross-site evaluation was to explore the impact of WoW grants on students across all the multiple grantee organizations and their varied programs and student populations. NPC identified common outcomes and metrics across the grantee programs that align with the OAC’s funding goals and the State’s 40-40-20 goal and developed a standardized survey instrument and data collection protocol to be implemented across all of the grantees. NPC collected, managed, and analyzed these data to assess the impact of WoW funding in the arts for underserved student populations.

Funding Source: Oregon Arts Commission

Start Date:  February 2014

Project Team

Principal Investigator & Project Director

Kelly Jarvis, Ph.D.

Project Staff

Lisa M. Lucas, B.A.

Wendy Nuzzo, M.S.

Collaborating Consultant

Chari Smith

Reports and Publications:

Jarvis, K. L., Nuzzo, W., Lucas, L., & Smith, C. (June 2017) Oregon Arts Commission’s Connecting Students to the World of Work Grants: Final Evaluation Report Portland, OR: NPC Research
Report /

Jarvis, K., Lucas, L., & Smith, C. (May 2016) Oregon Arts Commission’s Connecting Students to the World of Work Grants: Cohort I Evaluation Report Portland, OR: NPC Research
Report / Executive Summary /