Stimulus Learning Series

The American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the systemic inequities laid bare by the pandemic and reshape the public systems that support vulnerable families. As jurisdictions plan their ARPA investments, the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) has heard from numerous government partners seeking to better understand how their peers intend to use ARPA to drive impact. In response, this summer the GPL will be hosting a series of two-part learning sessions with state and local governments on benefits & economic mobility, workforce, early childhood, behavioral health & homelessness and procurement

See below for session details and registration. To receive updates as additional sessions are scheduled please sign up for our newsletter.

Read more about the goals of the Stimulus Learning Series

These sessions are designed to support: 

  • Sharing: The initial calls in each focus area will feature presentations from a select group of governments considering investments in that space, as well as a facilitated conversation about common opportunities, challenges, and questions jurisdictions are facing in this area. 
  • Learning: The second call in each series will share models, approaches and/or case studies that are responsive to the ideas surfaced in call one. 
  • Collaboration: Together, these calls will provide participating state and local government officials with an expanded understanding of what their peers are working on, promote peer connections, and help inform the GPL’s creation of additional supports and offerings.

These calls will be relevant for leaders in state and local government in any of the following roles:

  • Staff in executive and budget offices who are responsible for recommending ARPA investments aimed at improving human service system delivery and outcomes
  • Leaders in agencies charged with design or implementation of programs in the above areas

Stimulus Learning Series Schedule

August 10, 2021: Using Procurement to Advance Innovation

On August 10 at 1:00pm ET, join the GPL for a deep dive into how procurements can amplify governments’ ARPA system transformation efforts. The learning session, entitled “Using procurement to advance innovation,” will share best practices, tools, and examples designed to help jurisdictions use procurement and contracting to achieve better outcomes for residents, including strategies to: use procurements to advance departmental and jurisdiction-wide goals; make procurement processes efficient, inviting, and transparent; and lay the foundation for measuring progress and driving continual improvement.

Register here


August 2, 2021: Behavioral Health and Housing

On August 2 at 2:00pm ET, the GPL invites you to explore the different ways governments are planning to use ARPA funds to strengthen behavioral health and housing systems. The learning session, entitled “Behavioral Health & Housing: Developing more equitable, preventative and holistic supports,” will feature short presentations from select governments about what they are planning in this space, such as expansions of community-based and rapid-response supports; implementation of criminal justice diversion and crisis response programs; and investments in long-term supportive housing and affordable homeownership options for historically disadvantaged populations. The session will include presentations from:

  • Mark Attia, Assistant Secretary, Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance

  • Tyler Jaeckel, Chief of Staff, Colorado Office of State Planning & Budgeting

  • Stephanie Welch, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health, California Health and Human Services Agency

Register Here


July 29, 2021: Guaranteed Income Programs

On July 29 at 3:00pm ET, the GPL invites you to a deep dive into guaranteed income programs and important design decisions. As jurisdictions explore ways to use American Recovery Act Plan (ARPA) funds to transform benefits delivery systems and advance economic mobility, many are considering experiments with direct cash assistance to support those most in need. This learning session will explore upfront implementation decisions for such initiatives, including program goals, eligibility determinations, and evaluation design, and will feature insights from jurisdictions currently piloting direct cash assistance programs, including initial findings from the Chelsea Eats Guaranteed Income Program - the largest guaranteed income experiment in the country.


Register Here


July 15, 2021: Early Childhood and Families

On July 15 at 1:00pm ET, the GPL explored the different ways governments are planning to use ARPA funds to support children and families. The learning session, entitled “Early Childhood & Families: Transforming early supports to enhance lifelong opportunity,” featured short presentations from select governments about what they are planning in this space, such as investments in home visiting services, development of resource hubs for families, and efforts to improve childcare service quality and delivery. The session sought to identify common opportunities, challenges, and questions across participating jurisdictions. This session was the first of two discussions, with the second session sharing responsive models, case studies and approaches. Short presentations were provided by the following practitioners:


  • Beth Bye, Commissioner, Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood

  • Sarah Abrahams, Deputy Associate Commissioner of Prevention and Intervention, Texas's Department of Family and Protective Services


Review the Slides         Watch the Recording


July 9, 2021: Benefits and Economic Mobility

On July 9 at 2:30pm ET, the GPL explored the different ways governments are planning to use ARPA funds to improve benefits delivery. The learning session, entitled “Benefits and Economic Mobility: Building more coordinated, responsive supports for those most in need,” featured short presentations from:


  • Duke Storen, Commissioner, Virginia's Department of Social Services discussing the state's plans to use this moment to transform the customer experience for benefits programs.

  • Margo Fudge, Deputy Director and Alfredo Guardado, Assistant Director for Departmental Operations, San Diego's Child Welfare Services talking about the county's plans to use cash transfers to support families at risk of entering foster case.

  • Rachel Wright and Carl Sims from The Council on State Governments sharing the latest trends in planned ARPA benefits investments nationwide.


Review the Slides            Watch the Recording