Our Projects

South by North Strategies, Ltd. provides research, communication, and organizational services for firms seeking to understand and address economic and social issues. Services include quantitative and qualitative research, communications assistance, and organizational solutions.

Below are brief descriptions of selected past projects. To learn more, please contact South by North Strategies.


Our Projects


04.02.2010 Our Projects, Policy Points

Strengthening State Economic Development Systems

WPFP_policybrief_winter2010_Page_01Recent years have seen a rapid escalation in state economic development spending: spending that in 2008 totaled at least $10 billion. Given the scale of public spending, some state leaders have begun to inquire about the effectiveness of economic development activities and just who receives the benefits. Instead of relying upon old assumptions, some leaders are urging their states to think more carefully about the public benefit and the fundamental link between skill formation and job creation.

To encourage this transition, The Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative to strengthen state policies and programs, asked South by North Strategies, Ltd to identify promising ways of  better orienting state economic development systems around an education and skills agenda that reflects the economic needs of low income families. The report, entitled Strengthening State Economic Development Systems: A Framework for Change is available through the project’s web site.

11.19.2009 Our Projects

Building a Foundation for Family Economic Success

To document the policy successes achieved by its 25 state partners, The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) retained South by North Strategies, Ltd. to write and design a report documenting accomplishments between 2002 and 2009.

policy_accomp_report_smEntitled Building a Foundation for Family Economic Success, the report found that the WPFP’s state partners have helped generate or preserve over $2.5 billion in state investments in low-income working families. In the process, these organizations have brought the concerns of low-income working families into an array of policy debates.

The WPFP is a national initiative to strengthen state policies and programs influencing the advancement of low-income working families. Specifically, the WPFP  strives to shape state policies related to postsecondary education and training for adults, economic development practices, and work supports and social insurance.

By describing the WPFP’s distinctive process of policy change, the new report shows how the WPFP positions state-based nonprofit organizations to champion investments in working families. Consequently, low-income working families in many states are better able to obtain financial aid, increase their education and skills, access good jobs, and make ends meet.

Click here to view a webcast in which the report’s findings are discussed.

10.02.2009 Our Projects

Jobs-Centered Development in the American South

In 2009, South by North Strategies conducted a comprehensive review of the changes in state-level economic and workforce policies and practices that have occurred in the American South since the mid-1990s.

Pages from Jobs-Centered_Development-_The_Need_for_a_New_ApproachCommissioned by The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem, NC, the resulting study traced the evolution of “jobs-centered development.” This model strives to combine the traditional tools of economic and workforce development in ways that better cultivate the skilled workforces demanded by local businesses and expand the opportunities available to local residents, especially low-income ones.

The full study, entitled When Any Job Isn’t Enough: Jobs Centered Development in the American South, documented the need for a new development approach, traced the rise of current innovative practices, identified the building blocks of jobs-centered development, critiques popular strategies, and identified lessons applicable in recessionary times.

Click to view an executive summary of the report.

10.01.2009 Our Projects

Connected by 25: At-Risk Youth in the Research Triangle

As part of the Connected by 25 initiative occurring in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, South by North Strategies analyzed the economic and social characteristics of young adults (ages 15-24) at risk of not making a successful transition to adulthood.
Using publicly available data sources, South by North built a framework of indicators comprised of demographic, health, criminal and juvenile justice, employment, income, and educational indicators. Data were assembled for the eight counties that constitute North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Indicators for Durham County received a second, more in-depth analysis, and for that county, the share of the youth population at high risk for disconnection was calculated.
The research was commissioned by MDC, Inc. in Chapel Hill, NC, as part of work supported by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation based in Research Triangle Park, NC.

As part of the Connected by 25 initiative occurring in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, South by North Strategies analyzed the economic and social characteristics of young adults (ages 15-24) at risk of not making a successful transition to adulthood.

Using census and other public data sources, South by North Strategies built a framework of demographic, health, criminal and juvenile justice, employment, income, and educational indicators. The data provided the foundation for the 2008 report Disconnected Youth in the Research Triangle Region: An Ominous Problem Hidden in Plain Sight.

Data were assembled for the eight counties that constitute North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Indicators for Durham County received a second, more in-depth analysis, and for that county, the share of the youth population at high risk for disconnection was calculated.

The research was commissioned by MDC, Inc. in Chapel Hill, NC, as part of work supported by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation based in Research Triangle Park, NC.

09.30.2009 Our Projects

Access to Higher Education in Western NC

In 2009, South by North Strategies released the results of a census of 1,200 working adults who had earned college degrees through the Appalachian State University Center at Hickory (formerly known as HMHEC).

Pages from HMHEC_final_webThe center is an educational intermediary that connects working adults in Western North Carolina,  an area with relatively few institutions of higher learning, to degree and certificate programs offered through a consortium of universities. Programs are offered via distance learning and at the center’s facility in Hickory, NC.

The study aimed to gauge the factors that led students to enroll in, persist with, and complete a degree program. The study also documented the impact that degree completion had on individuals’  labor market experiences. The findings were summarized in the 16-page booklet entitled Connecting People to Opportunity.

Click to view the executive summary or the full report. Click here to read a news story about the research.