Colleen Schlecht

Senior Researcher

Colleen Schlecht is a social policy researcher committed to building the capacity of organizations and systems that serve children, youth, and families facing adversity. As a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall, Schlecht is dedicated to generating rigorous evidence, and helping systems and agencies apply the evidence to improve outcomes for these children, youth and families. She applies quantitative and qualitative research methods to studies and program evaluations targeting solutions for child welfare systems, coordinated early childhood learning and care, disconnected youth, and youth transitioning to adulthood. Through research, she provides evaluation and implementation support to federal and state programs and agencies, city agencies, and community organizations, guiding these entities to improve their capacity to deliver services.

Previously, Schlecht worked on a qualitative study of Chicago’s One Summer Chicago youth employment program and led the formative evaluation of the Department of Labor’s Opportunity Youth Demonstration and Evaluation. The latter led to two pilots that provided disconnected youth with employment-focused education and intense career navigation in two cities. Schlecht also helped lead the development, distribution, and analysis of the provider survey for the Voices of Youth Count (VoYC) initiative, a national research initiative focusing on the experiences of runaway and homeless youth. Prior to coming to Chapin Hall, Schlecht worked at the National Governors Association in Washington, DC.

Schlecht received her master’s in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University. She also holds a Project Management Strategy Certificate from the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

Master of Public Policy, University of Chicago, Harris Graduate School of Public Policy

Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies, Duke University

Dworsky, A., Schlecht, C., Curry, S., & Morton, M. (2018, January). Voices of Youth Count: Results from a national youth homelessness research and policy initiative. Paper presented at the SSWR 22nd Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Lansing, J., Schlecht, C., & Rapoport, E. (2017, November). More than a paycheck: How a summer youth employment program helps emerging adults become change-makers of their own trajectories. Poster presented at the SSEA Biennial Conference, Washington, DC.

Weigensberg, E., & Schlecht, C. (2012, November). Innovative job training in technology: An evaluation of the Chicago Career Tech Workforce Development Program. Paper presented at the APPAM Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Weigensberg, E., & Schlecht, C. (2012, January). Inside the black box: Identifying and measuring individual, organizational, and contextual factors of successful workforce development programs. Paper presented at the SSWR 16th Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Schlecht, C., McGuire, E., Huang, L. A., & Daro, D. (2023). Creating an interdisciplinary collaborative network of scholars in child maltreatment prevention: A network analysis of the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. Children and Youth Services Review, 153, 107113.

Allard, S. W., Wiegand, E. R., Schlecht, C., Datta, A. R., Goerge, R. M., & Weigensberg, E. (2018). State agencies’ use of administrative data for improved practices: Needs, challenges, and opportunities. Public Administration Review, 78(2), 240-250.

Koball, H., Dodkowitz, A., Schlecht, C., & Guiltinan, S. (2016). Opportunities Youth demonstration and evaluation. Outcomes evaluation: Findings from pilot sites in Baltimore and Boston. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Meyer, K., Schlecht C., & Sherman, B. (2010). Challenges and current practices in state employee healthcare: A NASPE white paper. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

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Key Work

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