Molly Irwin has more than 25 years of experience leading large-scale research and evaluation efforts and working with policy makers, researchers, and practitioners to build and use evidence. Irwin has worked to improve public programs and policy outcomes in workforce development, child and family well-being, public health, and conservation, most recently as the Pew Charitable Trusts’ vice president of research and science. She spent over 10 years in the federal government in the Department of Labor (DOL), where she served as the chief evaluation officer, and in the Administration for Children and Families. She has also overseen major initiatives in state and local government and academia.
At Abt, Irwin will develop strategies and plans for growth for Abt’s Human Services Portfolio and associated client accounts such as workforce and disability and children, youth, and families. She also will work with leaders and project teams across the portfolio to design and deliver client-centric solutions that take into account and respond to client’s needs, constraints, objectives, and operating environments.
Irwin came to Abt from the Pew Charitable Trusts. There her portfolio helped ensure Pew’s research is methodologically sound, accurate, and high-quality. She worked with teams and partners to sharpen the focus on evidence usability and to build research/policy/practice partnerships. As DOL’s chief evaluation officer, she oversaw the department's research and evaluation program. She worked with agencies to define data and evidence needs and advised the secretary and senior staff on using evidence for decision making. At ACF, Irwin served as senior researcher and health profession opportunity grants research team lead in the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation.
Before coming to Washington D.C., Irwin was the director of the Child Policy Initiative at the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University, where she worked to connect academic research with local policy initiatives. Prior to that, she directed the evaluation of a comprehensive, community-wide early childhood initiative in Cuyahoga County.
- Program evaluation
- Strategy development and support
- Employment, training, and the labor market
- Child and family well-being
- Irwin, M., & Nightingale, D. S. (2022). Putting it all together: The Case of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Evidence-building Strategy. New Directions for Evaluation, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.20489.
- Rudd, E., & Irwin, M. (2014). Housing, Contexts, and the Well-Being of Children and Youth: Guest Editors’ Introduction. Cityscape, 16(1), 1–4. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26326855.
- Irwin, M. & Supplee, L.H. (2012). Directions in Implementation Research Methods for Behavioral and Social Science. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 39(4), 339-342.
- Coulton, C. & Irwin, M. (2009). Parental and Community Level Correlates of Participation in Out-of-School Activities Among Children Living in Low Income Neighborhoods. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(3) 300-308.
- Coulton, C, Crampton D, Irwin, M, Spilsbury, J. & Korbin J. (2007). How Neighborhoods Influence Child Maltreatment: A Review of the Literature and Alternative Pathways. Child Abuse and Neglect, 31, 1117-1142.