Creative Expression, Career Readiness, & Economic Opportunity

  • Novak-Leonard, Jennifer (PD/PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


GOAL. To build public knowledge and understanding around the ways in which creative and cultural expression may directly or indirectly aid the economic opportunities of individuals and families engaged in the American workforce but still struggling with poverty. OBJECTIVES. The study design has three central objectives, developed as successive stages, with each stage informing the next: Stage 1. To conduct a field scan to assess what information and data exist regarding creative expression, job readiness, and economic opportunity; to assess the quality and utility of the literature and data; and to determine what areas and forms of knowledge-building should be prioritized going forward. This stage, which will include a process of feedback and revision from subject-area experts, will be carried out over the following tasks: (1) Identify and synthesize existing literature and data; (2) Explore relevant programs, services, and organizations; and (3) Determine gaps in existing information and identify promising paths to guide research priorities and case study selections. Stage 2. To conduct case studies in California and elsewhere in the United States to gather on-the-ground perspectives regarding promising approaches or programmatic mechanisms through which creative expression might be leveraged to prepare workers for steady, gainful employment, or otherwise increase economic opportunity. Stage 2 will be carried out over the following tasks: (4) Select case studies; (5) Prepare case study protocols; and (6) Conduct site visits and key informant interviews. Stage 3. To synthesize findings and prepare a public report informed by the field scan and the case studies that will discuss the extent to which, and present a framework for understanding the paths through which, creative expression might directly or indirectly aid the economic opportunities of those struggling with poverty today. Stage 3, which will be iterative, will be carried out over the following tasks: (7) Analyze case study data; (8) Prepare a public report; (9) Disseminate research findings.
Effective start/end date7/1/178/15/18


  • University of Chicago, National Opinion Research Center (G053-NU // 16-15747 Amd. No. 1)
  • James Irvine Foundation (G053-NU // 16-15747 Amd. No. 1)


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