Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, M.P.A.


Political Science Department


Laurie Buonanno

Department Home page

First Reader

Laurie Buonanno

Second Reader

Frank DeCarlo

Third Reader

Sharon Rochelle


In 1982, the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS) developed the Employee Education Program (EEP). The EEP is an educational sponsorship program that provides eligible employees with a tuition-free education at area higher education institutions for a number of various degrees. One such degree is the Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management, or MPA at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo State College. This 2017 evaluation concentrates on identifying the skills and knowledge that employees of ECDSS gained from their participation in the MPA component of the EEP and the impact that these new or better-developed abilities have on the employees, as well as the agency. The evaluation team utilized a multi-phase mixed methods study to gather data from current participants and past graduates, as well as supervisors and administrators throughout the agency. The data gathered from these populations were then compared to the goals of the EEP at ECDSS and the goals of the MPA program at Buffalo State College. This study was conducted to provide stakeholders of the EEP with empirical evidence of the value that the program brings to the agency. The results reveal that employees are gaining those (technical, conceptual, communication, and business) skills deemed important for public administrators. These employees are able to use many of these skills in their current jobs, they are performing better, and they do not appear to be leaving the agency once they receive their degrees. Participants and supervisors agree that the EEP is a valuable asset to the agency. While the goals of the program (professionalization of staff, performance improvement, increased promotability of staff, longer retention of quality staff) are being attained, ECDSS can do more to utilize the skills and knowledge of EEP enrollees and graduates.