Revitalizing Procurement: Innovative Solutions and Recommendations for Milwaukee County

Public procurement refers to the purchase of goods, services, and works by government or state-owned enterprises. The Milwaukee County Procurement Division is responsible for sustaining many of the County’s operations through the purchase or contract of supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services—over $120 million annually. Given this critical role that the Milwaukee County Procurement Division plays, it must ensure that it is operating efficiently and utilizing public resources judiciously. This report identifies gaps between current practices of the Milwaukee County Procurement Division and industry best practices, as well as specific aspects of procurement that can be improved upon within the division’s structure. We provide recommendations for the Milwaukee County Procurement Division to increase organizational efficiency and innovate its practices to become a leader in public procurement.

Silent Dangers: Assessing the Threat of Nuclear Submarines

The Outrider Foundation works to build understanding on issues related to the environment and nuclear weapons, and nuclear submarines pose a threat to both. This report develops the first catalog of nuclear submarine failures, with roughly 500 cases by 226 individual submarines from six countries. The data indicates that newer submarine classes experienced a greater volume — and seriousness — of failures early in their service lives; that collisions had a greater impact on geopolitical security, while equipment failures, as well as cases related to fire and water, had the greatest impact on the environment; and that submarine failures generally produced two kinds of costs: chronic and acute. This report also observes a marked reduction in the number of failures after the end of the Cold War but anticipates a potential for proliferation in the number of countries with programs in the future.

Analyzing Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance in Wisconsin: Possible Costs and Effects

The Wisconsin Chapter of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, requested an analysis of legislation regarding a state-based Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program in Wisconsin. This planned legislation capitalizes on growing national momentum toward instituting paid family leave in the United States. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the researchers estimated the number of eligible workers and take-up rates under the planned Wisconsin PFMLI program. They also estimate average weekly benefit payouts and recommend an employee-side payroll deduction to fund the program. In crafting its recommendations, the group examined evidence from other states with established PFMLI programs as well as potential impacts of PFMLI on individuals, businesses, and the statewide economy.

Digital Learning Trends and Promising Practices in Wisconsin Public School Districts

Since 2010, U.S. employers created millions of jobs that require digital literacy. Because the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction strives to make children college and career ready, digital learning is now a critical component of Wisconsin’s schools. This report analyzes the state of digital learning in Wisconsin using district-level survey data of 398 of Wisconsin’s public school districts and nine semi-structured interviews from three of those districts. This report evaluates digital learning through four focus areas, planning, content, staffing, and infrastructure. Analysis suggests that on the whole, Wisconsin’s schools are planning around digital learning, but persistent gaps based on locale, race, and socioeconomic status exist. Recommendations include emphasizing professional development focused on digital learning, collecting data at the school level, and fostering inter-district knowledge mobilization.

Using a Resilience Strategy to Address the Social Effects of Climate Change in Madison, Wisconsin

The greater Madison area recently experienced extreme climate events, namely the August 2018 floods and the January 2019 polar vortex. In response, the City of Madison requested an analysis of how Madison can become more resilient to these sorts of events. This report begins by identifying populations in Madison who will face disproportionate social effects associated with extreme climate events. It also looks to peer cities in various stages of resilience planning to help determine best practices for creating a Madison-specific resilience strategy. Key recommendations include targeting the year 2023 for the completion of a resilience strategy and hiring a Chief Resilience Officer, who will spearhead the resilience planning process.

Transforming Treatment in Thiotte: Recommendations for Building Accountability and Sustainability at Centre de Santé Sacré-Coeur de Thiotte

Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin (HMMW), a 501(c)(3) organization, works to provide quality healthcare access to the people of Thiotte, Haiti, and surrounding communities through its medical mission trips and support of Centre de Santé Sacré-Coeur de Thiotte (CSST), a permanent, Haitian-run clinic. The remoteness of the clinic has exacerbated personnel issues, administrative challenges, and infrastructure problems. For CSST to become more secure, HMMW is looking to work with the clinic to develop systems of sustainability and accountability and asked La Follette School students to assist in the identification of concern areas and make subsequent recommendations. HMMW plans to use this work to secure further funding and establish additional partnerships.

Child Material Deprivation in the United States

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is developing a child well-being strategy as part of its Inclusive Growth initiative that aims to share experiences and seek solutions to common issues around child welfare. This report uses American Community Survey (ACS) data to assess the level of children’s material deprivation in the United States, identify common forms of deprivation, and examine the extent to which household income and other familial characteristics affect the risk of multiple deprivations. The report finds that the most common forms of deprivation for children in the United States are living in over-crowded and severely cost-burdened housing, while children from low-income households have substantially higher risk of experiencing multiple material deprivations in a given year.