Argus Evaluation Summary
The Eisenhower Foundation has replicated and evaluated this model at two sites; Capital Commitment in Washington, DC and the John R. Grubb YMCA in Des Moines, IA.
The process evaluation demonstrated that the Argus Learning for Living program was successfully replicated at both locations. To the extent that Argus has proven to be replicable, we attribute success to the model’s no nonsense socialization in a drug and violence-free environment, education, remedial education, corporate etiquette training, job training for work that is not dead-ended but upwardly mobile, and follow up to ensure retention or transition to other jobs at enhanced levels of responsibility and remuneration.
Comparison Group Outcome Evaluation
For the Washington, DC site, the program proved to have a significant effect on reported drug use from before the program to during the program and this effect continued after the program. These effects reflected a greater decline in reported drug use by the program participants compared to the comparison group. Promising trends also emerged with regards to criminal justice involvement and reliance on public assistance, although they were not statistically significant. Specifically, the percentage of program youth reporting arrests both during and after the program was lower than the corresponding rates reported by the comparison youth, and in fact was at zero during the program and only slightly higher after. The program participants also reported a low rate of reliance on public assistance before and after the program, both in absolute terms and relative to the comparison group youth.
For the Des Moines site, analysis of the outcome change variables revealed many aspects of the positive impact of the program. Specifically, the program had a significant impact on changes in drug use, number of arrests, and reliance on public assistance. In each of these instances, the program participants showed a decline in reported drug use, arrests, and reliance on public assistance compared to the comparison group youth.
The full evaluation of these partnerships are reported in the publication: