The University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab was launched in 2016 with a vision for reducing socio-economic disparities through improvements in education and other social policies affecting youth. By developing evidence-based, policy-relevant research in partnership with local and state agencies, practitioners, and policymakers, Dr. Robin Jacob and Dr. Brian Jacob sought to build upon their exemplary careers in social science research by taking research findings out of academic journals and putting them in the hands of decision-makers. With this aim in mind, they have spent the past seven years bringing the resources and expertise of one of the nation’s leading public research universities to bear on some of Michigan’s most pressing social challenges.

The Youth Policy Lab envisions a world where partner-driven research drives positive social change. Our mission is to inform public policy decisions by analyzing data and evaluating programs to help our partners answer their most pressing questions.

YPL: Data. Policy. Progress.

Our Core Values

In an iterative process with staff and leadership, the Youth Policy Lab expanded its prior list of core values and developed a series of statements that define how we work with each other (internal values) as well as our partners and communities (external values). 

Internal Values:

  • We set high expectations for ourselves. 
  • We encourage work-life balance
  • We believe that tackling complex social issues requires creative thinking.
  • We promote collaboration and teamwork.
  • We value the unique contributions of every member of our team.

External Values: 

  • We use data to develop solutions to social problems and inequities.
  • We center partners in our work to generate actionable insights.
  • We take a practical approach, adapting our methods to meet real-world conditions.
  • We hold our work to the highest standards of quality
  • We communicate our findings widely to shape policy and practice.

For more information about our work, please contact us.

Statement on Equity
At the Youth Policy Lab, we intertwine our commitment to the public good with a steadfast dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that impactful social science research requires active, intentional efforts to ensure diverse perspectives and equitable participation. We aim to address societal inequities through rigorous, collaborative research, ensuring that marginalized voices are integral to our pursuit of knowledge. Our approach is rooted in creating equitable opportunities for youth, their families, and communities. We strive to lift up strengths while acknowledging systemic harms. We are committed to fostering an environment where differences are respected, all contributions are valuable, and every individual feels a sense of belonging. We champion a proactive stance against systemic racial inequities and advocate for full accessibility, ensuring that all community members can participate and thrive. This commitment is a core component of our work - guiding our efforts to train future generations of socially conscious researchers and policy professionals and prepare them to make meaningful contributions to society.