Over the course of its 30-year history, three evaluations have been conducted at MY TURN by external evaluators. A school-to-work outcomes study by Bridgewater State College in 1997 showed more favorable outcomes for MY TURN participants than for a comparison group with similar skills and work history, with more MY TURN participants retaining their first job following graduation at both the six-month and twelve-month markers. Another was done on the college preparation program for underclassmen component. Eighty-seven percent of those who completed program at the end of their junior year continued into the program for seniors during the next academic year. Another evaluation focused on the School-to-Work and College Preparation for Seniors program components. This evaluation used both quantitative and qualitative measures and had a comparison group.
Information Management System
MY TURN collects data through a highly customizable, on-line data system called Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) from Social Solutions. The system is mature, having been in place at MY TURN since 2006. It is designed to organize and track case management activities, and store information on all participants and people associated with them (i.e., family members, social workers, medical professionals, etc.). The system also stores information related to participation in MY TURN classes, group activities, and individual case management contacts. It can produce reports on a variety of topics including enrollment, attendance, job placements and retention, program services, and demographics, and the reports can be tailored to user-specified time periods. It is also highly customizable and his customization has allowed for several iterates of improvement and refinement in data collection, both to meet internal management needs as well as to meet the needs of funders and external evaluators. ased on the information captured in the data system and the types of reports that can be accessed through the system, MY TURN has the technical capacity to generate relevant and accurate data for an impact evaluation.
High-Performance Learning Organization Culture
MY TURN has created a culture of generative learning, characterized by shared contribution and inquiry, which has led to changes in structure, procedures, and new ways of thinking and doing. It is at this level—and above—that the most significant organizational learning occurs. It is at this level that breakthroughs occur and new understandings and perspectives develop about people and their work, as they seek to improve. It is this kind of learning that is necessary to nurture, cultivate, and grow effective learning organizations.
MY TURN, as an intentional learning organization, has adopted a “culture of continuous improvement—a culture that provides tools for monitoring and improving performance and adapting to different circumstances and different customers’ needs over time.” MY TURN leaders understand the importance of using data to improve their overall operations and programs, such as service delivery, efficiency, client satisfaction, cost ratios, and client outcomes. MY TURN has demonstrated a deepening commitment to and investment in continually making these types of performance improvements.
Most importantly MY TURN managers pay attention to the results of evaluation and monitoring efforts, intervening when a given location falls short of its performance measures, and listening to staff suggestions and comments to identify potential program development and other organizational issues.