Community Involvement

Coffey Consulting, LLC has a long history of community involvement. Lester Coffey is a past chair of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, a past chair of the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board and member of the Board of Imagination Stage. He actively participated in Junior Achievement and was a member of the Lions Club International and professional associations all giving back to the community. Lester and Amy Coffey support Habitat for Humanity and do fundraising for charitable organizations.

Mr. Coffey has spoken and shared with individuals in elementary school, community college and graduate school about the preparation needed for success in the workforce. We are especially proud to be a supporter of the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy – Saturday School program.

George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy – Saturday School

The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. Saturday School program, which helps Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) youth requesting or needing additional academic support to be more successful and better prepared to enter into postsecondary education and/or employment. Students from grade 1 through 12 attend classes taught by instructors meeting MCPS’ standards on Saturday mornings between 8:30 to 11:00 a.m., October through May in 12 sites across the County and serving over 3,000 students annually.  Saturday School provides extra help in reading, language arts, math and test-taking skills, including ACT and SAT preparation. The school was established in 1986 by members of the Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. with Dr. George B. Thomas, Sr. as its leader. 

Data, Metrics & More

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Coffey Consulting’s Senior Study Director, Sue Clery, and Senior Research Associate, Elif Bor, attended the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Research Sparks Convening on October 18-20, 2016 in the Foundation’s Conference Center in Seattle. The Convening brought together researchers from many research organizations and universities across the country. The purpose of the convening was to provide attendees with an overview of the Foundation’s Postsecondary Success Strategy and to explore how to scale promising practices and policies across higher education institutions in the United States. The Convening also provided attendees with opportunities to give input on the Foundation’s postsecondary research and evaluation agenda, to network, and to explore areas for further collaboration.

National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC)

Coffey staff presented their papers at the U.S. Department of Education’s NPEC October 2016 meetings. Abby Miller, Monika Arntz, Mason Erwin and Samantha Richardson presented Collecting and Disseminating Data on Certificate Awards for the Integrated Postsecondary Education System, and Amy Topper and Melissa Howard presented A Comparison of Federally-Funded Sample Surveys on Postsecondary Education: Areas of Alignment, Duplication, and Variation.

Coffey in the News

 Jim Dinegar, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, was treated to a grand farewell on his last day by the Board of Directors, officers, and representatives of businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and regional governments on October 24, 2017. Like many others, Lester Coffey thanked Jim for being an outstanding leader during his tenure and wished him the best in his new career. Jim led the Board of Trade for 11 years and assured everyone that he will remain in the Metro Washington area. Coffey Consulting has been a member of the Board of Trade since the mid-nineties.

Abby Miller of Coffey Consulting and Stephanie Cronen of AIR Have Article Published in April 2017 Issue of HR News

The April 2017 issue of HR News (“The Magazine of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources”) included an article by Abby Miller of Coffey Consulting, LCC and Stephanie Cronen of AIR, “Promising Practices for Increasing Diversity.” Read an excerpt below and click the title above to download the publication.

“Public citizens and officials have placed renewed focus on improving first responder agencies’ relationships with local communities by ensuring that these workforces reflect the populations they serve. The potential benefits of increasing diversity extend to other public sector employers, as well. Working to increase diversity can provide more secure and rewarding employment opportunities to historically underrepresented populations, which would have positive.” Read more.

Coffey Consulting, LLC Concludes Study of Academic Support Programs in North Carolina

Coffey Consulting, LLC recently concluded a two-year study of academic support programs introduced at six community colleges in North Carolina in response to the state’s adoption of the new Multiple Measures for Placement policy. This policy establishes a hierarchy of measures, primarily using high school GPA, to assess the readiness of recent high school graduates for college-level courses. The new policy marks a significant departure from traditional diagnostic placement tests.

The academic support initiative implemented at each college targeted students with a 2.6 to 3.0 high school GPA who were admitted directly into credit-bearing math and English courses and considered at-risk of underperformance. Of primary interest in the study was whether the additional academic assistance would positively impact student achievement in the gateway courses.  An in-depth analysis of outcomes showed that students at each college clearly benefitted from the additional academic support. Most notably, the average grade attained in the gateway courses rose, withdrawal rates declined, and the achievement gap between the target student group and that of a higher-GPA control group closed with the introduction of the learning support. The report concludes with recommendations to community colleges facing similar changes in their placement policy to develop well-designed and effectively implemented supports aimed to enhance student achievement.

Click here to view the report, “NC Multiple Measure: Implementation and Outcomes Study: Final Report.”

Members of the Coffey Team Prepared the National Education Association’s Special Salary Issue of the Advocate

Members of the Coffey team prepared the National Education Association’s special salary issue of the Advocate, released in May 2017.  Coffey’s analysis shows that full-time constant dollar faculty salaries are closing in on 2008 pre-recession levels and in 2015, after three years of successive increases, constant dollar salaries were less than $100 from 2008 – 2009, pre-recessionary levels. However, although some faculty salaries have recovered to pre-recessionary levels, some ranks are faring better than others: Professors are seeing improvements; instructors are not. And, the perennial gender gap continues to exist.  For details, see the full report.

Coffey Consulting, LLC Presents Faculty Salary Twenty-Year Trend Report at National Education Association Annual Higher Education Conference

Senior Study Director Sue Clery presented findings from a twenty-year trend report on faculty salaries at the National Education Association (NEA) 2017 annual higher education conference on March 18. The Trends in Faculty Salaries: 1995–96 to 2014–15 report is authored by Coffey senior analysts Abby Miller and Amelia Topper and included as a chapter in the annual NEA Almanac of Higher Education publication.

The report examines the fluctuations in faculty purchasing power over the past 20 years by institutional sector, faculty rank, state, and discipline. The authors also analyze notable shifts in faculty composition by employment and tenure status.

Visit to read the full the report, Trends in Faculty Salaries: 1995–96 to 2014–15.

Coffey Research Featured in NEA’s Advocate

The National Education Association’s Higher Education Advocate is published five times per year and features trends and data on issues facing postsecondary education institutions and faculty. Coffey’s analysis of the distribution of women and faculty of color at public two- and -four-year institutions by tenure status was recently featured in the January 2017 Advocate issue.

Our research indicates that while women make up an increasing share of faculty, they are overrepresented in non-tenure-track positions and underrepresented in STEM fields. The proportion of faculty of color in both tenure and non-tenure positions has seen a slow, but steady, increase over the past 20 years. A link to the issue, with Coffey’s analysis featured on page 14, is provided here.

First Responder Diversity Convening

Coffey representatives attended a convening hosted by U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger to discuss diversity in first responders on July 15, 2016 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The convening featured remarks by Secretary Perez, President Schaitberger, researchers, civil rights leaders, industrial organization psychologists and first responders followed by a panel discussion. It was a prelude to the kickoff of Coffey’s contract to identify best practices for recruitment, training, and retention, and advancement of diverse candidates for first responder positions.

Coffey Contributes Chapter to 2017 NEA Almanac

The National Education Association’s Almanac of Higher Education is an invaluable resource that provides analysis and discussion regarding timely topics such as salaries, economic conditions in the states, and trends in bargaining. Each year, Coffey contributes an essay that focuses on trends in higher education faculty salaries. This year’s chapter, “Trends in Faculty Salaries: 1995–96 to 2014–15,” provides an overview of current and historical trends in faculty compensation and how it relates to recent economic trends and trends in salaries by gender and by state.

National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) STATS-DC Data Conference

Held July 12-14, 2016 at The Mayflower Hotel. Coffey staff (Drennan Lindsay, Jennifer Rismiller, Carol Johnson and Ben Coffey) assisted with planning and executing this 900-participant conference that offered nine concurrent sessions on technical and policy issues related to the collection, maintenance, and use of education data; information sessions on data collection; and updates on federal and state activities affecting data collection and reporting with a focus on information about the best new approaches.

Protective Services Industry Review and Assessment of Strategies to Increase Workforce Diversity

Coffey’s team attended the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission event for the release of an interagency report on advancing diversity in law enforcement on October 5, 2016 at the Department of Justice. “This effort was designed to build President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which underscored the importance of a law enforcement ‘workforce that contains a broad range of diversity, including race, gender, language, life experience, and cultural background,’ finding that increased diversity not only helps to improve the culture of police departments, but also builds greater trust and legitimacy with all segments of the population.”

National Farmworker Jobs Program

This nationally-directed program of job training and employment assistance for migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs) was authorized under Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to counter the impact of the chronic unemployment and underemployment experienced by MSFWs who depend primarily on jobs in agricultural labor.  Coffey provided technical assistance to the grantees in addition to recently producing Voices from the Field videos.

Higher Education and the Public Good

Amy Topper, Senior Researcher, presented a research paper on November 11, 2016 exploring students’ perceptions of community college student outcomes at the 41st Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in Columbus, Ohio. “The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) convenes annually as a community of scholars dedicated to the study of higher education. ASHE encourages proposals that advance knowledge and understanding of a wide range of issues pertaining to higher education as a field of study… from faculty, scholars, administrators, and students who work in higher education, public policy, or a related field; those who work within and across such disciplines as education, public policy, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology; and those in state and federal agencies, philanthropic organizations, higher education associations, and other entities that use research to inform policy and practice.”