Second semester at Batten is defined by the IPA project, and this year’s accelerated class is working with a variety of clients on domestic issues mainly related to Virginia state policy.
Four groups are examining various aspects of the U.S. unemployment system and how the system should be reformed to more appropriately integrate the needs of a service-oriented and high technology U.S. workforce. Two groups are considering reformations of Virginia’s UI system and the federal system as a whole. One group is looking at federal job training programs and how they could be integrated into the UI system, and the final group is examining how the UI system could be incorporated with other safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP.
“During tough economic times, the UI system basically acts as a safety net — it gives people who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own some money to help pay for their basic needs as they are search for a new job….I personally really enjoy just being able to become (almost) fully informed about an issue that is so important to millions of Americans, let alone an issue that I had rarely thought about before this project.” – Evan Vahouny (Acc. ’13)
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) is working with one student group to study how effective year-round schools are and if this model would be appropriate for Virginia. The Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time is also sponsoring a project on funding for afterschool and summer programs.
Two groups are working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on projects about Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay programmatic milestones for 2012-2013 and the current policies and funding concerning the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
“We’re excited about the project because the CBF has said that they will definitely use our report in their advocacy strategy, and that we’re looking into an key area that needs further research.” – Kaitlin Brennan (Acc. ’13)
The final two groups are working on independent projects with the Virginia Municipal League. One project is assessing how state budget cuts have affected K-12 education in Virginia and what other models of school funding should be considered in Virginia. The other project is examining how public-private partnerships can benefit transportation infrastructure in Virginia.
Post by Mary Drach