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Labor Market Study of Greater New Haven and The Valley

October 23, 2023

At the beginning of 2023, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Valley Community Foundation partnered with Blakely Consulting to undertake a study that would advance the Foundations' work in promoting equitable and inclusive economic development in their region. The goal of this project was to understand the need for middle skill jobs in the region, highlight some occupations that provided promising employment opportunities, identify pathways for residents in the area, and meet the needs of local employers. More importantly, we wanted to understand why this problem has not been solved yet. With employers demanding more workers and potential workers sitting out of the labor market, clearly there is more than a skills mismatch at work.We undertook over 40 listening sessions and interviews with job seekers, employers, job training programs, and intermediaries to understand the problem, to highlight promising solutions, and to identify opportunities for innovation.Our recommendations for workforce development practitioners include focus and innovation on marketing and outreach, providing support beyond the first job placement, and developing rigorous internal evaluation processes that allow for adaptation to changing environments. Our recommendations to employers include identifying sources of discrimination in their recruitment, hiring, and retention processes, reinventing their recruitment processes, and updating job characteristics such as work hours and benefits to better meet the needs of today's workers.

Nonprofit Workforce Shortage Survey In Connecticut

September 5, 2023

In April 2023, more than 1,600 charitable nonprofit organizations throughout the United States completed the nonprofit workforce shortages survey designed to gauge whether job vacancies continue to be a problem for the missions of those organizations, how the vacancies impact communities, and what actions have been taken and are proposed for alleviating the challenges. More than forty Connecticut nonprofits shared insights that provide the substance of this report.

Intimate Partner Violence & Pregnancy-Associated Deaths in Connecticut

June 14, 2023

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as "the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse." The prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) is difficult to accurately capture as it often goes undisclosed or varies in definition. About four-in-ten women in the United States (US) and nearly one-third of women in Connecticut (CT) experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their adult lives. When the lens is narrowed to a yearlong period, an estimated 4.5% of US women surveyed in 2016-2017 experienced physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the 12 months before the survey. Among those who delivered a liveborn infant between 2017 and 2021 in Connecticut, about 1.9% reported intimate partner physical violence in the year before pregnancy, and 1.1% reported intimate partner physical violence during pregnancy.This report relies on Connecticut Maternal Mortality Review Committee (CT MMRC) case narratives and IPV service data to explore perinatal IPV among Connecticut residents who died between 2015 and 2021, whose deaths occurred during pregnancy or within one year after the end of pregnancy (pregnancy-associated deaths). For the purpose of this report, lifetime IPV is defined as violence at the hands of an intimate partner that occurs at any point in life, and perinatal IPV is defined as violence at the hands of an intimate partner that occurs during pregnancy or within one year after pregnancy. Following are the primary findings regarding IPV among pregnancy-associated deaths in Connecticut in 2015-2021.

Bringing Zoning into Focus: A Fine-Grained Analysis of Zoning’s Relationships to Housing Affordability, Income Distributions, and Segregation in Connecticut

June 6, 2023

For more than a century, local governments throughout the United States have used zoning to shape future growth. Through rules that regulate what sorts of housing can be built where, localities may either allow for new development or restrict construction to maintain the status quo. Using a first-of-its-kind database of zoning laws across an entire state, we provide evidence that strict zoning regulations limiting construction to single-family homes are associated with inadequate access to affordable housing and with the segregation of people by income, race, and ethnicity.We leverage the Connecticut Zoning Atlas, a unique dataset of zoning texts tied to geospatial files that allow for georeferenced comparisons between the zoning laws adopted by 180 localities. We overlay the geographies of zoning districts on spatially differentiated demographic and economic indicators at the neighborhood level. Analyzing and comparing this information allows us to provide a comprehensive view of the relationships between zoning laws, property values, and residents' demographic and economic characteristics.Our research focuses on a state with stark disparities in residential land uses: only 2 percent of Connecticut's land is zoned to allow the by-right construction of multifamily buildings with three or more units per parcel, while 91 percent of its land allows only the construction of single-family housing by right. Our analysis reveals that suburbs and towns have the most restrictive zoning rules by several measures, while the largest cities more readily permit multifamily construction. We show that the residents of neighborhoods with mostly single-family zoning, on average, have significantly higher household incomes and are much more likely to be white, much less likely to be Black or Hispanic, more likely to have a bachelor's degree, and much more likely to own their homes than residents of neighborhoods where zoning allows for multifamily building construction. These findings paint a picture of a state where localities' zoning either divides or reinforces the division of residents by income, race, ethnicity, and education levels. We also apply a segregation index to explore the associations between zoning rules and neighborhood- and locality-level segregation. After controlling for other characteristics, we find that higher concentrations of high-income and white residents are associated with lower number-of-unit zoning policies. We also find that higher concentrations of low-income, Black, Hispanic, and other residents of color are associated with zoning allowing the construction of two or more housing units per parcel and higher shares of renter-occupied housing.Together, these findings bring new insight into the relationship between zoning policy and residents' geographic distribution. Our results clearly point to the links between zoning laws, rental housing availability, and inequitable distributions of populations within and across jurisdictions. Policymakers considering how to improve access to opportunity while reducing income or racial segregation should evaluate the potential for altering local zoning codes to allow greater diversity of housing construction and tenure types in more places.

Proposals for Early In-Person Voting in the State of Connecticut

December 23, 2022

At the November 2022 general election, Connecticut voters approved H.J. 59 (2021), a constitutional amendment authorizing the state legislature to enact early in-person voting. One year prior, in preparation for a scenario in which voters approved the amendment, the Office of the Secretary of the State contracted with the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR) to produce a report that would assist in the development of legislation for early in-person voting, including recommendations for up to four possible policy models.CEIR reviewed laws across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted surveys and interviews with several state election officials, and researched scholarly literature and administrative data on early in-person voting. We developed four early in-person voting policy models tailored to Connecticut, with recommendations in each building on the last and generally increasing in terms of the number of early voting days, hours, required locations, and other factors. This report outlines our recommendations and elaborates on the findings from our supporting research.Early in-person voting improves both voter access and election integrity. Not only does it offer greater opportunity for voter participation, but it also extends the period for detecting and mitigating any issues that may arise during the election. As of December 2022, 46 states and Washington, D.C., have some form of early in-person voting, with each state using a framework suited to its unique needs. As legislators and officials consider possibilities for early in-person voting in Connecticut, several decisions will need to be made. This report provides information to better inform those decisions in service of the people of Connecticut.

Gun Violence and the LGBTQ+ Community

December 19, 2022

This fact sheet examines how gun violence impacts the LGBTQ+ community.

Onboarding Young Workers in a Post-Pandemic World

May 4, 2022

Labor shortages are widespread, workers are expecting higher starting wages, and after employers hire and train a new employee the risk that they will jump ship for a better paying job is probably the highest it has ever been. The cost of hiring the wrong candidate has never been higher. How can employers do a better job at hiring and retention? We talked with workforce development professionals –people who help employers find workers and young adults find jobs– to document what employers can do to make good hires, ones that last. In this report we focus on what they see as working and what tends to fail when onboarding new young employees. Our goal is to help employers examine their hiring and onboarding practices, increase the speed at which new hires become productive team members, and reduce the high financial and emotional cost of turnover from failed hires.In this environment of short-staffing and difficulty finding new employees, some firms are raising wages, offering more full-time positions, redesigning jobs to include better benefits, and offering signing bonuses. These are important, but so are more subtle aspects of onboarding, especially those having to do with developing mutual respect and trust between the employer and the new hire. Both employers and employees need hiring to be done right. In this study we share ten lessons to help employers hire right. The workforce specialists learned these lessons observing the typical mistakes employers make, sometimes over and over again. 

Results of the Connecticut Clean Energy Survey fielded by Global Strategy Group

October 14, 2021

An October 2021 survey of Connecticut voters on clean energy shows broad support for clean energy solutions and a strong concern that climate change is already a crisis and getting worse.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in October 2021 showed Connecticut voters view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.88% of Connecticut voters surveyed think that climate change is either a problem or a crisis, and eight in ten voters surveyed think it's getting worse. A significant majority of voters support a plan to transition to zero emissions by 2050 (68%) and zero carbon electricity (70%).Solar and wind are hugely popular among Connecticut voters, who support increasing their use in the state's energy mix by wide margins (87% and 74% respectively), while voters overwhelmingly support using less oil and coal (71% and 72%, respectively).Voters are generally split on whether gas is a clean energy source, suggesting there is more work to do in public messaging and education about the role that gas plays in worsening carbon emissions.Connecticut voters see a move toward clean energy as having potential to positively impact health and safety, with voters of color particularly optimistic. An overwhelming majority of Connecticut voters are ready for the state government to take bold action on a range of clean energy initiatives, with repairing leaking gas pipes at the top of the list (91% support), followed by provide incentives for people to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient (88%), incentives to homeowners to switch from propane, oil, or gas heating to cleaner alternatives such as heat pumps and funding for startup and emerging clean energy tech companies (both at 75%).

The Power and Problem of Criminal Justice Data: A Twenty-State Review

June 30, 2021

Despite accounting for a substantial portion of local, state, and federal budgets, our criminal justice institutions are among the least measured systems in our country. In an effort to bring transparency to this sector, MFJ has collected, standardized, and made public 20 states' worth of criminal justice data.The purpose of this report is to share what we have learned through this effort, including: (a) what we cannot see when data are missing, and (b) the value that data can provide when they are available and comparable. In particular, we identify patterns around the following:There is a substantial lack of data around pretrial detention and release decision-making, as well as individual demographics (particularly indigence).New data privacy laws are also making it needlessly difficult to obtain certain data. This poses challenges to understanding how individuals experience the system in cases that do not result in conviction.There is great variation in how counties dispose of and sentence nonviolent cases; how financial obligations are imposed on individuals; and the collateral consequences that individuals face when convicted.Across many of these findings, where demographics are available, we have an opportunity to identify and respond to significant disparities in group outcomes.This report challenges stakeholders and policymakers to dig deeper into these patterns and missing data. It also implores policymakers and legislators to improve criminal justice data infrastructure to ensure a more transparent, fair, and equitable implementation of justice.

Essential and Excluded: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting Immigrant Families

February 23, 2021

Between April and November 2020, organizers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina had in-depth conversations with over 900 primarily Latinx immigrants—including nearly 400 undocumented community members. While capturing different moments of the pandemic, important issues facing immigrant communities were surfaced across the surveys.

Essential Equity: Women, Covid-19 and Rebuilding CT

January 1, 2021

Covid-19 has revealed the inequities and injustice that perpetuate the systems in our state and in our larger society. As advocates for women and girls, we knew that systems of sexism and racism already disadvantaged women and girls and we braced ourselves for how the economic and health crisis would further harm them. This report documents the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on women and girls, and particularly on women and girls of color. We intend this vital information to inform decisions in the future that can direct resources to women and girls. We urge policymakers, government officials, philanthropists, nonprofit service providers, corporations and our fellow community members to use this information to create equity through relief and recovery efforts.

Using State-level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality

November 17, 2020

In this report, we examine how seven states use state policy levers to advance policy change to improve the quality of school principals. These states are all actively engaging in a collaborative initiative focused on principal preparation program redesign. We consider the following questions, drawing on data about the use of various policy levers in the states:How does a state's context shape its use of policy levers to improve principal quality? What  policy  levers  are  states  using,  how  are  the  levers  used,  and  what  policy changes have states made that affect the way levers are used? What supports the effective use of policy levers?What are the barriers to and facilitators of policy change?All seven states in the study were part of The Wallace Foundation's University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). Launched in 2016, UPPI is supporting seven university-based principal preparation programs to work in collaboration with their district and state partners to redesign and improve the programs to better support the development of effective principals.  The programs were chosen for the initiative, in part, because they were located in states that had favorable conditions for supporting principal quality. In addition, the programs had expressed interest in and already conducted some initial work toward redesigning their principal preparation programs. The UPPI programs and their respective states are Albany State University (Georgia), Florida Atlantic University (Florida), North Carolina State University (North Carolina), San Diego State University (California), the University of Connecticut (Connecticut), Virginia State University (Virginia), and Western Kentucky University (Kentucky).We drew on three data sources for this analysis: (1)  biannual interviews with UPPI participants, (2) interviews with state-level stakeholders across the seven UPPI states, and (3) relevant secondary data, such as state plans, state licensure requirements, state legislation, reports from state departments of education, and research literature on school leadership. In this report, we focus on seven policy levers that states can use to improve school leadership. The first six of these were drawn from research as described by Manna (2015), and the seventh was derived from Grissom, Mitani, and Woo (2019): setting principal standardsrecruiting aspiring principals into the professionlicensing new and veteran principals approving and overseeing principal preparation programssupporting principals' growth with professional development evaluating principalsusing leader tracking systems to support analysis of aspiring and established school leaders' experiences and outcomes.