School of Public Policy Capstones

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 48
  • Publication
    PartnerSTAT? Performance Measurementand Management forInter-Municipal Partnerships
    (2012-01-01) Mills, Christina
    In April of 2010, the Massachusetts Regionalization Advisory Commission issued its findings advocating for inter-local partnerships in eleven specific areas. The study found that “as the costs of government services rise faster than available revenues and cities and towns struggle to provide essential services, regionalization and collaboration become more palatable to municipalities wishing to deliver essential local services more economically and efficiently” (Massachusetts Regionalization Advisory Commission, 2010, p. 43). This research seeks to assess in what ways, to what extent and for what reason could and should a municipal performance measurement and management model, like the ‘Stat’ model, be adopted and amended to measure and improve the performance of inter-municipal partnerships? Adopted in Springfield, Lowell and Somerville Massachusetts, the ‘Stat’ model is the process of holding “an ongoing series of regular, frequent, periodic, integrated meetings during which the chief executive and/or the members of the chief executive’s leadership team plus the individual director (the top managers) of different sub-units, use data to analyze the unit’s past performance, to follow-up on previous decisions and commitments to improve performance objectives, and to examine the effectiveness of its overall performance strategies” (Behn, Robert. 2008, p. 2). In order to assess if a PMM can and should play a role in inter-municipal partnerships, this research first focuses on the extent to which inter-municipal partnerships have successfully been established in the Commonwealth. Three categories of inter-municipal partnerships were identified: 1) those with thorough integration; 2) those with moderate integration; and 3) those with moderate to low integration. A total of 5 cases of inter-municipal partnerships in the Commonwealth are examined and assessed for their compatibility and aptitude for continued or greater success with a PMM. Finally, a critical analysis and discussion of the findings yields a final recommendation of one of the considered alternatives. The results showed that it is not, in fact, possible in most cases to adopted a performance measurement and management model designed for a single municipality to meet the needs of an inter-municipal partnership. Their needs and capacity are simply too different. Only in the cases where an inter-municipal partnership is working on a large-scale, long-term project and is working as a united front with a shared vision of success, can a PMM like ‘Stat’ be effective in an inter-municipal environment because it is centralized enough. That said, in the vast majority of inter-municipal partnership cases where ‘Stat’ doesn’t work, performance evaluation is still conspicuously and unnecessarily absent. Therefore a coordinated effort to establish inter-municipal partnerships with ad-hoc PMMs, that are customized to fit the varying needs of counties, regions and partnerships across the Commonwealth, should be considered.
  • Publication
    Chief Jolly Project: Creatingan Arts and Culture Nonprofit/Social Enterprise
    (2012-01-01) Neville, Kristin
    The Chief Jolly Project seeks to use music and cultural arts to improve the opportunities for youth growing up amidst poverty and violence in the city of New Orleans; supporting personal expression and empowerment, skill development, intergenerational connection, and community building and transformation. The Project will also share the living history of this musical culture in order to preserve this heritage and promote it to broader audiences. This study explores the significance of culture in the life and economy of New Orleans, social needs that especially pertain to youth, examples and insights from other organizations and community members, and the potential for working with and among existing cultural nonprofits and enterprises. From this, a vision for the Chief Jolly Project is created. The richness of cultural expression exists alongside the economic poverty in New Orleans’ neighborhoods; it has always been the music, a sense of community identity and the creative spirit that has lifted people up. It is through the arts as an entry point for personal discovery and empowerment, as well as knowledge of and experience in the business of the arts that the Chief Jolly Project will foster hope and opportunity.
  • Publication
    How does a socially-driven for-profit balance mission and profit?: The Case of Joya Bride
    (2012-01-01) Muehlke, Marcelia
    Socially-driven businesses straddle the line between non-profits and for-profits with their dual goals of mission and profit. These goals will sometimes come into conflict—therefore a social enterprise must have policies in place to ensure a balance between profit and mission. This paper explores this topic through the case of Joya Bride, a socially-driven for-profit wedding dress company. The paper begins with a description of Joya Bride and then introduces the key research question: How does a socially-driven for-profit balance mission and profit? Next is a literature review on social enterprise, problems in the clothing industry, and women and development. A description of research methods follows. Research methods employed are a literature review, interviews with industry experts, a review of existing social enterprises, and producer interviews/visits. The analysis section of the paper presents the mission-driven documents and policies developed for Joya Bride as part of this capstone project. Each mission-driven aspect was researched through academic books and articles, expert interviews, and by examining existing examples from organizations similar to Joya Bride. With this research and these examples in mind, a version was created for Joya Bride. The first document created is mission and vision statements for the company. Joya Bride’s mission is to provide brides with a gorgeous wedding dress that matches their values of social justice, environmental sustainability, and empowering women. We accomplish our mission by partnering with women’s cooperatives and other ethical producers who offer safe, fair, and empowering work. By partnering with these groups we support women to help themselves, their families, and their communities. The second document developed is a Code of Conduct for Joya Bride producer partners. The code of conduct is framed largely in the positive, stating what Joya Bride believes in and is working toward, rather than against. The third mission-driven aspect is internal governance structures including: (1) proposed membership for an advisory board including two seats reserved for mission-focused individuals, (2) a decision to give money to social and environmental causes, and (3) nine internal accountability principles taken from a fair trade governing body and applied to Joya Bride. The fourth mission-driven policy developed for Joya Bride is an evaluation proposal. Creating the evaluation proposal prompted many important questions and helped guide the creation of the mission. The evaluation can be used now and for many years in the future. The paper concludes with broader a discussion of mission versus profit and the role the documents and policies described above will play in ensuring a balance between the two goals. Finally, the full text of the documents and policies described in the paper are included in the paper or the appendix for reference. This paper is intended not only as a Capstone project to conclude the master’s degree in public policy and administration, but also as a founding document for Joya Bride. Sections of this document could be presented to potential funders, employees, or other interested parties. Hopefully, this research and the documents created will also be useful to other socially-driven for profits as they consider how to balance mission and profit.
  • Publication
    Toward an Electric Vehicle Policy for the University of Massachusetts Amherst
    (2012-01-01) Nuñez, Noeleen
    Electric vehicles (EVs) are vehicles that use electric motors for propulsion and have the potential for significant environmental impact with regard to reducing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, the largest contributor to global warming. With a heightened attention on “energy independence” and awareness of the effects of transportation on global warming, demand for electric vehicles is projected to rise rapidly over the next several decades. Researchers have found various ways to understand the “well-to-wheels” impact, which despite involving emissions at the source of electricity generation, still show environmental advantages over conventional fuel vehicles. Given the early lifecycle stage of this technology, the uncertainty of climate implications, and political support behind industry growth, some questions in this landscape are: What are the critical factors that will help encourage consumer adoption of electric vehicles? How do public entities marry their own climate action goals with what is happening in the marketplace for EV infrastructure? What can institutions like the University of Massachusetts Amherst learn from those who are paving the way? This paper seeks to identify the ideal Electric Vehicle policy for UMass to adopt to align with the goals of its Climate Action Plan. Pursuing a pilot program on campus requires an assessment and integration of the opportunities and barriers to installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), the various options for equipment ownership and operations, and the policies that the University could adopt in order to encourage and enable the use of electric vehicles by faculty, staff, students and visitors. The evaluation elements necessary to determine a scalable solution for affordable charging stations at UMass can also be useful for successful rollouts on other campuses. Undergirding the recommendations for UMass are an analysis of sales and usage models for electric vehicles to project adoption rates on campus and interviews with representatives from universities and municipalities about what they have learned from their investment in EV infrastructure. Understanding state laws about the resale of electricity as well as what consumers might pay for it direct how to charge consumers for the use of a charging station. Assessing commute patterns and comparing emissions with and without EVs help situate whether or not deploying EV stations are on par with other sustainability efforts on campus to meet the goals of the Climate Action Plan. The findings show that EV growth will be steady, but still only make up between .36% and .66% of all light duty vehicles on U.S. roads by 2020. While battery technology is expected to decline, the high upfront cost of an EV will drive consumers to seek the lowest cost to “plug in;” private and public entities looking to deploy EVSEs for environmental and political reasons must balance the desire to encourage adoption with the price they will charge. Further, many public entities face the challenges that involve forgoing premium parking space revenue and negotiating internally who pays for the installation, maintenance and operations. The recommendations of this analysis include UMass purchasing, installing and operating an EV charging station. For EVSEs located in public access lots, UMass could reasonably charge $1-2 per hour. Parking Services should offer a 20-50% discount on permits for EV drivers, in addition to premium parking spaces.
  • Publication
    The Coin of the Realm: Identifying the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Skill Requirements of Twenty-First Century Occupations
    (2016-01-01) Thiemann, Drew
    This report presents the findings from a novel survey instrument developed for a clientbased project completed in Spring 2016 with the nonprofit educational organization ACT, Inc. The pilot study collects and analyzes survey data from 482 workers in the U.S. labor force, who were asked to identify the likelihood that their current job would require specific information and communication technology skills (ICTs) on day one, with no on-the-job training. Drawing from the literature in education, communications theory, sociology and economics, the study seeks to test the strength and direction of the relationship between ICT skills and respondents’ specific jobs. The motivation for this research is to understand the importance of these data and its potential role in the development of curricular frameworks that teach twenty-first century skills. Within the education policy arena, the theory of action for such frameworks is that they are typically designed to improve college- and career-readiness via compulsory schooling during the K-12 years and into one’s career. Using descriptive statistics, the findings from the pilot study indicate a mean composite score across all ICT sub-skills and Bureau of Labor Statistics/O*NET job zones as 2.88 out of 4. Using inferential measures of association, a statistically significant and positive correlation between the average ICT skill required in jobs and job zone category is found, with a particular emphasis on the higher ICT skills expected by employers of workers in certain “in-demand” jobs, typically found in job zones 3 and 4: accountants, computer scientists, educators, engineers and paralegals. Lower than average ICT skills are also found among workers in other in-demand jobs, such as nurses and members of the military. These findings, and the survey model developed, have the potential to inspire further research (by ACT and other organizations) into the role that technology and information literacy plays in equipping the U.S. workforce for twenty-first century job requirements. While the deployment of this pilot survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk suggests limited generalizability to full U.S. population, it also invites a perspective on implications for public policy and management. Two of these recommendations are to provide more effective and earlier training and curricular programming related to ICT skills for K-12 students, and to consider ways to refine and test the O*NET job zones for possible improvement to the alignment between the ICT skill requirements listed and real-world expectations by employers.