Candace Hester is a senior researcher at AIR. During her time at AIR, she has worked on a number of rigorous evaluations to examine the implementation and impact of policies and programs that have been designed to improve the life outcomes of youth and adults from vulnerable populations. Dr. Hester’s passion is to work collaboratively with federal, state, and local policymakers to help them use data to identify strategies to enhance the equity through improved service-delivery for underprivileged constituents.
Dr. Hester is currently the principal investigator of a study for the state of Arkansas, Identifying Valid Indicators of College and Career Readiness and Success, on which she works with federal, state, and local education partners to merge and examine student-level secondary and postsecondary data records from the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the National Student Clearinghouse. Dr. Hester is also currently the project director and quantitative task leader on two parallel studies with the city of San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth, and their Families to understand the implementation and impact of their Justice Services and Youth Workforce Development Programs.
Dr. Hester also has experience with using national administrative postsecondary data available through Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Workforce Investment Act Standardized Records Data, as well as the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. For a study funded by the Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation, Dr. Hester serves as project director and quantitative task lead on a project that aims to understand the landscape of enrollment and completion of various career training programs, focused especially on credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing postsecondary opportunities that are designed for middle-skilled jobs.
Prior to entering graduate school, Dr. Hester was a high school math teacher for five years in Oakland, California where she received awards for excellence in teaching and teacher leadership. Currently, she is also a member of the University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School for Public Policy’s teaching faculty and a What Works Clearinghouse-certified reviewer.