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PEPNet Evolution


1993:  The need for a system like PEPNet became apparent to NYEC after the 1993 release of the national Job Training Partnership Act and conducted by Abt Associated found that out-of-school males who participated in JTPA youth employment programs did not benefit significantly, as measured by employment rates and earnings. This study and others contributed to a widespread sense that "nothing worked" in these programs. As a result the U.S. Department of Labor requested a funding reduction and the U.S. Congress approved a massive cut (80%) to the JTPA year-round youth employment program. 

1995: With the support of the U.S. Department of Labor, NYEC convened 40 experienced practitioners, researchers, policy makers, funders and other stakeholders to address the question: "What DO we know works, from research and from practical experience"

The group worked with NYEC to put key elements they knew were critical to quality programs and their knowledge of relevant research into a qualiry standards framework: the PEPNet Criteria for Effective Practices. NYEC also incorporated lessons from the "quality movement" in business management into the Criteria.

Using this critera NYEC developed the PEPNet Self Assessment tool that programs could use to determine how they met the Criteria and where they needed to improve. In addition, NYEC created a detailed peer review process through which programs could apply to be recognized for meeting PEPNet's Criteria.

1996: NYEC held the first PEPNet Awards ceremony at the U.S. Department of Labor in 1996 to recognize PEPNet awardees and PEPNet Promising Programs.

A PEPNet Awardee, the most prestigious PEPNet designation, was a youth program that went through the PEPNet application process and was found by peer reviewers to meet PEPNet's criteria in all the five criteria categories. NYEC designated 96 Awardees from 1996-2003

A PEPNet Promising Program is a program that went through the PEPNet Application Process and was found by peer reviewers to meet the criteria for Purpose and Activities and at least two of the remaining four former PEPNet criteria categories. This designation represents certification of promising approaches and the demonstration of a commitment to quality programming and continuous improvement.

2001: NYEC initiated the PEPNet Improvement Process for Programs, a continuous improvement cycle for program development. Programs were guided as they progressed through three phases (Self Assessment, Improvement Action Planning and Celebrating Success) on a schedule aligned with their overall goals for quality improvement.

2003: NYEC undertook a "PEPNet Enhancement Project" to consider directions for the future that would make PEPNet even more useful.

2005: An enhanced PEPNet debuted that was based on the original PEPNet principles but also reflected 10 years of additional program practice, research and lessons learned from the fields of youth development, workforce development and education.

2006: NYEC expanded the use of the PEPNet standards and tools through Community and Systems work. NYEC facilitated the use and implementation of the PEPNet suite of standards, tools, and resources for organizations interested in beginning a Continuous Improvement Process.

2006-2007:  In the fall of 2006, San Francisco's Department of Children Youth & their Family worked with NYEC to launch a citywide effort to implement quality standards for all youth employment programs. DCYF, in partnership with its funded agencies and other local funders of youth workforce programs, adopted PEPNet as its set of high quality standards.

2007-2009: NYEC Piloted a PEPNet Accreditation program. Ten organizations went through the process with four receiving accreditation and five receiving provisional accreditation.

2008-2009: NYEC Implemented a community and systems project with the the San Diego Workforce Partnership using the QSA, developing and implementing improvement plans, and creating a learning network.

2009-2010: NYEC Implemented a community and systems project with Philadelphia Youth Network E3 Power Centers using the QSA, developing and implementing improvement plans, and creating a learning network.

2010: NYEC Implemented a community and systems project with the Marriot Foundation for people with Disabilities using the QSA, developing and implementing improvement plans, and creating a learning network.

2012: NYEC implemented an enhanced Community and systems intitative with a larger cohort of stakeholders that included DC youth-serving organizations, a group of funders and advocates. NYEC facilitated the administration of over 700 surveys to stakeholder groups, aggregated data to identify strengths and areas for improvement, helped youth-serving organizations create action plans, and facilitated dialogue between funders and service providers.

Present: NYEC continues to administer the Continuous Improvement Process with Communities and Sytems throughout the country, recently adding to WIB areas in Virginia to the list.

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