The organizational structure of PRIDE was both strength and a challenge for the program. The ADAS board had a coordinating, but not supervisory, role. This meant that each of the partner agencies was responsible for the implementation and oversight of the programs within its own agency. As a strength, this structure provided increased capability to provide services to the community and strong collaborative relationships as a matter of necessity. As a challenge, it meant there was no centralized authority to guarantee fidelity to the various evidence-based programs. In addition, there was no one who could impose any sanctions or incentives to ensure that evaluation data were submitted in a timely manner. In each of the first two site visits, Westat staff heard of efforts to have a shared data platform; this effort was declared officially dead during the third and final site visit.
By the final year of the project, the Executive Director of the ADAS board and PRIDE project director had each developed a different vision of the PRIDE program in Lorain. The ADAS director was committed to serving the target population of the newly unemployed as specified in the grant. The project director perceived the chronically unemployed as equally impacted by the Great Recession and equally appropriate recipients of PRIDE services. These differences of opinion on allocation of project resources siphoned off some energy from the project.
Like the other two grantees, Lorain's PRIDE found some program elements were not appropriate for the population served. The family strengthening program had difficulty recruiting and retaining participants. Participants reported the program to be too time intensive, particularly for people without jobs who are busy looking for work or cobbling together several part-time positions to bring sufficient income into the household. The family strengthening model thus was dropped midway through program implementation in Lorain.
On the other hand, PRIDE staff observed some positive things about the evidence-based programs. For example, although it was no surprise that mental health services and substance use services carried stigma, what was surprising for staff was that the JOBS program did not. Thus it proved to be an effective portal for some participants to enter into the other previously stigmatized services. This was reinforced during the third site visit, when a pastor of a church serving mostly African Americans noted that through the JOBS program many people learned about and took advantage of other services such as mental health services that had previously been considered "not for us." This was a significant impact of the PRIDE program.
Lorain, like many communities, has a long-standing transportation problem. As a result, many eligible job applicants were disqualified for positions because they could not get to the job site. PRIDE was able to provide transportation on a temporary basis early in the program, but it was not a sustainable service.
It appeared to the evaluation team that the early termination of the grant was particularly challenging in Lorain. For example, the project director was new to the community and thus required additional time to be oriented to both to Lorain and to the project. In addition, the decentralized model required additional time for agencies to either establish new partnerships or adjust their ways of doing business to conform to the CRRI requirements.