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Statistical analysis and optimal design in cluster randomized trials

To implement Jobs-Plus required recruiting and choosing a group of eligible, capable, and willing sites (cities); developing and maintaining a collaborative organization at each site; and building each of the three local program components. MDRC and the project’s core funders—HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation—chose the sites from among a pool of interested and eligible cities. MDRC also deployed special “site representatives” and other experts to provide ongoing operations-related technical assistance to each collaborative to help it plan and implement the specific features of its Jobs-Plus program. Building local collaboratives and implementing new programs from the ground up are complicated, time-intensive enterprises, and the Jobs-Plus sites’ experiences were no exception. It took several years—much longer than had been hoped—for the program to evolve into a mature intervention that reflected the designers’ original vision. This long gestation period resulted in part from the slowness of the collaborative decision-making process; the challenges of meeting funding, staffing, and space demands; and the challenges of designing and integrating all the elements of the complex program model. Recruiting and selecting sites The planners of Jobs-Plus did not attempt to recruit cities and local housing authorities that, as a group, were nationally representative. Instead, they recruited a diverse set of sites where joblessness in public housing was a serious problem and 24 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY © 2005 American Academy of Political & Social Science. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Downloaded from http://ann.sagepub.com at INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA on February 25, 2008 where there appeared to be a good opportunity to build and test a large-scale, wellmanaged employment initiative.