Five Houston-area nonprofits have joined a university-based pilot program to build greater data, measurement and evaluation capacity while providing graduate students with hands-on experience. The program, called CONNECT, is a collaboration between the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. CONNECT began at the LBJ School in 2018. Since the program's start, graduate students and nonprofit organizations have worked together on 149 projects.
“Nonprofits and community organizations are essential to creating thriving communities,” said LBJ School dean JR DeShazo. “Graduate policy students have the data and evaluation skills to help these nonprofits tackle big challenges and achieve community goals. We’re thrilled to work with Hobby to expand the CONNECT program to Houston.”
Twenty percent of nonprofits in Texas are located in the Houston metro. American Youthworks, Discovery Green Conservancy, East Harris County Empowerment Council, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County and the Nature Discovery Center have already signed up to participate in the Hobby School’s pilot CONNECT program this fall.
“The CONNECT program offers a wonderful opportunity for the Hobby School to expand collaborations with Houston-area nonprofit organizations while providing valuable professional experiences for our students,” said Dean Jim Granato of the Hobby School of Public Affairs.
"I participated in this program at the same time that I started to go on the job market, and I found my experience crucial for securing other opportunities,” said Mary Abbe Roe, a Spring 2020 CONNECT fellow from UT Austin. “I don't think that I could have had the same opportunities for my career if I had not done the CONNECT program.”
CONNECT is housed within the LBJ School’s premiere nonprofit studies center, the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. It is funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, and the Bill Wood Foundation.
Applications are now open to graduate students from across the University of Houston campus. Learn more to apply.