UHart’s Center for Social Research Receives Contract for North Hartford Ascend Pipeline Project’s Data Collection

Project led by Connecticut Children’s is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods Program 

The University of Hartford’s Center for Social Research is the recipient of a large contract, over five years, as part Connecticut Children’s North Hartford Ascend Pipeline (NHAP) project. Connecticut Children’s received the $30 million project grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods Program, and an additional $36 million in matching funds from state and community partners.

Connecticut Children’s will work with the Center for Social Research, the City of Hartford, and more than 20 other partners to implement the NHAP, a cradle-to-career effort to ensure children living in the North Hartford Promise Zone–the Clay Arsenal, Northeast, and Upper Albany neighborhoods–have the supports they need to reach their full potential. This includes coordinating and integrating existing support services (e.g., state programs, nonprofits), local schools, and the community to build the NHAP and facilitate families’ access to a continuum of “prenatal-to-career” services.

The Center for Social Research, located within UHart’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, will lead the evaluation of the NHAP in collaboration with DataHaven and the Hartford Data Collaborative. A unique, primary goal of the Center’s work will be to ensure community ownership of the resulting data and data collection processes. Under the leadership of Principal Investigator and Associate Professor Wes Younts and Lead Evaluator and Research Analyst Marcia Hughes, the Center will design and oversee the project’s research and data collection efforts.

The NHAP project is the ultimate realization of the Center’s mission—to strengthen communities through research in collaboration with those communities and the many organizations and individuals who work so hard on their behalf. Not only will this project support residents of some of the most marginalized and economically devastated communities in our region, but it will provide new opportunities for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students at the University to engage in meaningful, transformative research that has a direct impact on people’s lives

Wes Younts, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Social Research

The Center’s work will include:

  • Mapping the network of service providers, community-based organizations, and other assets in the Promise Zone neighborhoods, including their interconnections, overlap, and gaps in serving families; and assessing the success of the NHAP initiative in developing a comprehensive, integrated, prenatal-to-career pipeline 


  • Collecting data to track service utilization of children and families and linking this to child- and family-level outcomes (e.g., academic performance, protective factors such as social support and family resilience) that have long-term effects on how well children do through adulthood; conducting focus groups with families and agencies; and surveying service providers, community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders to assess community well-being


  • Conducting data analysis to provide near-time access to evidence guiding systematic program improvement, testing innovations in program/service implementation, and outcome evaluations of the pipeline


  • Providing training and technical support to service providers and community-based organizations included in the pipeline for ensuring data quality, facilitating the dissemination of results to the community, and ensuring responsiveness to community-identified needs and assets


To ensure accountability, local stakeholders will be included in the planning and implementation of the evaluation and dissemination of results to the broader community. In addition, two full-time community data coordinators will be recruited directly from the Promise Zone neighborhoods, trained and employed by CSR during the five-year award period, and then transition to employment with the Hartford Data Collaborative.

For Media Inquiries

Mary Ingarra