Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Maine Department of Transportation Region 5 Employee Wellness Program Evaluation Report

Abstract: 

Well-designed wellness programs can keep healthy employees healthy, support employees with health risks to improve their health behaviors, and facilitate organizational efforts to achieve workforce performance goals. Productivity lost through absenteeism, sickness, and injury was a key driver for the development of the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) Region 5 wellness program, offered since 2004. In 2008, the Maine DOT engages the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service to create a more robust and sustainable evaluation process for their employee wellness initiative, as assist in planning to replicate the Region 5 program across the state. The Muskie School evaluation team developed a logic model as the cornerstone for determining the components for program evaluation. The desired outcome of a "safe, injury-free work environment that costs less to maintain and operates at full capacity" provided the direction to develop activities, inputs, outputs, and short-term outcomes.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
October 1, 2008
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/MDOT-Wellness-Evaluation.pdf

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

Connect With Us