2017: Year in Review

It seems that every year is one full of milestones for PRA, and 2017 was no different. In 2017 we had two of our biggest milestones yet: the celebration of our 30th Anniversary and the retirement of our founder, Hank Steadman.

During one of PRA’s favorite traditions, the Annual State of the Firm, President and CEO Pam Robbins encouraged us to guess PRA’s Word of the Year—one she had selected in December 2016. The 2017 Word of the Year was, fittingly, Hank. Hank shaped the direction of PRA for many (30!) years, and things are both different and the same in his retirement. We have and we will always be doing good work at a fun place with a hardworking bunch to make an impact.

Let’s see how we’ve lived those core values in 2017!

Looking Back

2017 was a busy year for PRA! We held trainings, Policy Academies, Leadership Academies, and technical assistance events all over the country to help communities better align their services and supports for individuals who are disadvantaged. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the past year:

Project Awards

It has been another year of exciting growth! With our re-award of the Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance Center contract, we will be able to continue our work enhancing behavioral health supports for SMVF. In addition to the successful re-award and exercise of our current projects, we’ve also won some new, exciting contracts, such as the Youth Engagement Strategies to Prepare Youth for Successful Adulthood project from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the VALOR Initiative: Law Enforcement and Community: Crisis Intervention Training Model program from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Expanded Expertise

To complement the expanded scope of work we have received over the past year, we added two new topical areas of expertise to our wheelhouse: child welfare and education. Through our child welfare work we support system improvement for children who have experienced maltreatment. Through our work in education, we build the supports that at-risk students need to succeed in school.

Strengthened Company Structure

PRA is composed of incredibly talented researchers, trainers, grant writers, and operations staff. As we continue to grow (with over 50 full-time employees now; our biggest staff count ever!), it is important that we have a well-rounded team to set strategy for PRA’s next 30 years. In 2016, that meant the development of the PRA Leadership Team. In 2017, that meant the creation of the Business Directions Team. The Business Directions team is a fluid group of senior staff who are tasked with identifying potential projects and funding sources as we continue to grow.

Looking Ahead

We are getting started on a busy year here at PRA, and are excited about the new opportunities we have been tasked with. Here are a few of our highlights!

Project Expansion

With its new contract, the SMVF TA Center is now able to broaden its scope of work and service delivery to include cities and communities. This is an exciting step forward to expand the impact of the TA Center’s work. In addition, the SOAR TA Center is expanding the SOAR Online Course curriculum to include a section focused on connecting children and youth with Social Security disability benefits. We’re so excited to share our knowledge with the field in both of these capacities, and in all of our projects!

Building Partnerships

The impact of our work is strengthened through our partnerships with others. We’re excited to share the news of the partnership between the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Association of School Resource Officers to ensure that more School Resource Officers are able to access the Adolescent Mental Health Training for School Resource Officers!

Disseminating Information to the Field

This year we’re branching out and expanding our information development and dissemination methods to ensure our expertise is in the hands of the folks who need it most. We’re developing toolkits, microsites, videos, infographics, and much more to make sure you have the resources you need when you need them. Sign up for our project listservs to ensure you stay up to date on the latest news and resources!

2018 is proving to be another year of growth and (positive social) change, and we are excited to celebrate our success with you. Interested in learning more? View our 2017 Year in Review slide deck for more details!

Word of the Year

The views expressed by the blog post author are their own and do not necessarily represent the official views of Policy Research Associates, Inc.

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