The research mission of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute is to help resolve policy challenges arising from demographic diversity in the 21st century global city. The Institute’s approach to policy research is multidisciplinary and pragmatic. Under a mandate from the Provost it will assemble teams of faculty and students from across the University of Southern California to produce innovative combinations of expertise. The Institute’s aim will be to apply academic rigor to the creation of policy tools that advance positive social and economic change. It will use the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a laboratory for the development of public policy that is widely applicable to other communities undergoing demographic change as a result of immigration.
Language Access: Focusing on the most frequent and routine interactions between agencies and a polyglot public (e.g. providing information to school parents, at city hall, or in health care settings), TRPI is assessing communication modalities, administrative practices and technological options to develop inexpensive, off the shelf, systems to conduct simple exchanges in multiple languages. TRPI is currently partnering with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to improve language access in specific phases of the patient experience.
Naturalization: In any metro many social and public players influence the naturalization rate. This project takes an ecological approach to map interactions between those services and the eligible population. The result is an evaluation and learning tool that will be provided, with training, to service providers in order to help them enhance their productivity.
Higher Education: TRPI is partnering with the USC Rossier Pullias Center for Higher Education to support increased college access in the Latino community by providing hands on workshops engaging Latino youth with the educational game, Mission: Admission. This project increases college access to Latino students by not only building the tangible skills needed to successfully enroll and succeed in college but also by increasing students’ real-world knowledge of the college application process.
Civic Maps: Developing, free, open-source online mapping tools that can be used to promote civic engagement and public advocacy in polyglot communities.
Student Research: TRPI supports undergraduate and graduate student research through Harry Pachon Research Awards, offered to current USC students and with a focus on projects that directly affect Southern California. Students gain valuable experience working on applied research projects in diverse disciplinary teams while gaining a deeper knowledge of the issues that affect their local communities.
Anna Fischer | Program Coordinator
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