Research

After our members vote on a community problem to address, we research the problem and solutions.

Teams of RISC members, including at least one member from each RISC congregation, participate in research teams. Research team members are not experts in the traditional sense - we have personal experience with the problems and care about our community, but do not have Ph.Ds in the subject area. Instead, we meet with experts within our region and on a national level who inform us about the problem, statistics, and how it affects our community. We also identify solutions that are being implemented on a national level and solutions that have been tried before in our region.

Overall, our research teams of 40+ community members hold at least 20 meetings with experts between November-March of a given year to understand the problem and identify a proven solution that will be workable in our region. We also identify public officials and institutions who will have the authority to implement the solution and meet with them extensively before taking action.

Example:

In 2012, we found that the problem was especially severe in neighborhoods of the East End and Northside – only 10% of adults had a full-time job. We also learned that healthcare is the largest growing employment field in our region – and more than 500 entry-level medical jobs go unfilled every year. We discovered that our community has many resources for job-seekers. Government-funded workforce centers provide training and support for hundreds each year. However, few people trained at these workforce centers were getting hospital jobs where they would have more opportunities for a career.

So, we looked for proven solutions and found one…healthcare career pipelines!

These pipelines between workforce centers and hospitals ensure that job-seekers get proper training and support and then get hired.  It’s worked in Cincinnati and nearby in Charlottesville. The result: job-seekers from distressed neighborhoods get training, support, and mentorship AND enter hospital jobs with benefits and opportunities to advance. However, when we first proposed this solution, we were told it was impossible. The director of one workforce center told us he tried for 10 years to get the hospitals to hire his clients with no results. He told us we were wasting our time.

That brought us to our third step – Action! Click here to learn about the exciting next step in our process.

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