WA BTOP Evaluation

The Washington Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) is providing grants ranging from $18,938 to $50,288 to 24 community technology centers (CTC) located in the state of Washington. The grants provide support for hands-on technology access and training for low-income and underserved residents. As a condition of the grant, recipients are required to complete periodic reporting on their activities. For this purpose, an evaluation framework was developed that ties domain-specific inputs and activities to outputs and impacts and relates the WA BTOP grants evaluations to the Community Technology Impact Measurement Process Model. Consistent with this framework, a web-based survey was developed to track grantees. The survey asked grantees to:

  1. Identify stakeholders and their reasons for needing or using the CTC.
  2. Identify the policy issues confronting the community in which the CTC works.
  3. Report the inputs available or added.
  4. Report activities that address policy issues or stakeholder needs across the six WA BTOP domains (technology skills enhancement, employment skills and opportunities, educational enhancement, access to information and services, and life skills and social inclusion).
  5. Report outputs (i.e., the number of persons participating in activities).
  6. Measure and report impacts by tracking the numbers of persons whose needs have been successfully addressed.

A continuation of the BTOP grant enabled the team to conduct a needs assessment on the grantee organizations with respect to sustaining the growth in resources and programming afforded by the grant.

The team identified ten core areas for building technology and management capacity:

  1. Organizational desire to continue PCC
  2. Technology planning
  3. Staff capacity
  4. Mission, vision and strategy
  5. Program evaluation
  6. Assessment of community needs
  7. Strategic partnerships
  8. Board and volunteer management
  9. Outreach and advocacy
  10. Fund development

The team developed indicators for measuring each of these dimensions and conducted interviews with grantee organization staff to collect relevant data. Through analysis of the findings, each organization's greatest needs and opportunities were identified and presented to each in a summary report.

These needs are addressed through training sessions, workbooks, templates, and consulting sessions developed by the U.S. IMPACT team.

Resources

2011 Year End Report
Evaluation Workbook
Evaluation Webinar
Evaluation Plan Template

NTIA Webinar Series

Samantha Becker contributed to a series of Webinars for BTOP grantees nationwide:

Evaluation 101
Data Collection and Management for Evaluation Materials
Data Analysis and Reporting of Evaluation Findings
Using Evaluation Results for Decision-Making and Mobilizing Support
Sustainability Needs Assessment for Public Computing Centers and Sustainable Broadband Adoption