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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.

CT Nonprofits & COVID-19: A Pulse Survey on Organizational Impacts and Needs

September 1, 2020

In late June 2020, the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, Fio Partners, the New Canaan Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven partnered on a pulse survey to glean the current state of nonprofits in Connecticut.Over the course of two weeks (June 18 – July 2, 2020), more than 250 organizations provided valuable insights into common COVID-19 challenges and highlighted the pandemic's varying impacts on both small and large agencies.This report captures the pulse survey findings, which were processed by Fio Partners, LLC.

Voters in largest Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states are open to new policy to reduce transportation emissions

December 1, 2019

Over the course of this year, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration between 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic state and the District of Columbia, have been designing a new policy to curb carbon pollution from transportation. Key details are yet to be decided, but in broad strokes, the program would cap the amount of pollution from transportation in the region. Over time, that cap would decrease. Fuel distributors would have to pay for the pollution their fuels produce by buying allowances. The funds generated from the sale of those allowances would be distributed to the states participating in the program to invest in cleaner and better transportation options.As these states finalize the details of the program, new polling finds broad public support for the concept. The MassINC Polling Group conducted simultaneous surveys of registered voters in the seven largest TCI states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.This report highlights key findings from the polling. Full topline results for the region and each state are appended to this report. Crosstabular results for the region each state surveyed are available online.

Field Notes: Equity & State Climate Policy

September 5, 2019

For more than a decade, states and cities across the country have served a leadership role in advancing science-informed climate policy through city, state and multi-state efforts. The rapid pace by which state climate policy is emerging is evidenced by the number of new laws, directives and policies adopted in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone. Currently, there is an active ongoing dialogue across the U.S. regarding the intersection of climate and equity objectives with efforts targeted at addressing needs of disadvantaged communities and consumers. This climate/equity intersection is due to several factors, including recognition by many cities and states that climate change is and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations and will exacerbate existing stressors faced by disadvantaged communities and consumers. Research indicates that a greater proportion of environmental burden exists in geographic areas with majority populations of people of color, low-income residents, and/or indigenous people. It is well known that certain households (including some that are low-income, African American, Latino, multi-family and rural) spend a larger portion on their income on home energy costs. States and stakeholders are realizing that a transition to a low-carbon future by mid-century will require significantly increased participation of disadvantaged communities and households in the benefits of climate and clean energy programs.

Getting to BRT: An Implementation Guide for U.S. Cities

September 1, 2019

While momentum in recent decades has elevated bus rapid transit (BRT) as more than an emerging mode in the U.S., this high-capacity, high-quality bus-based mass transit system remains largely unfamiliar to most Americans. In the U.S., lack of clarity and confusion around what constitutes BRT stems both from its relatively low profile (most Americans have never experienced BRT) and its vague and often conflicting sets of definitions across cities, sectors, and levels of government. As a result, many projects that would otherwise be labeled as bus improvements or bus priority under international standards have become branded in American cities as BRT. This leads to misperceptions among U.S. decisionmakers and the public about what to expect from BRT. Since its inception in Curitiba, Brazil, BRT has become a fixture of urban transport systems in more than 70 cities on six continents throughout the globe. Just twelve BRT corridors exist in the United States so far.This guide offers proven strategies and insights for successfully implementing BRT within the political, regulatory, and social context that is unique to the United States. This guide seeks to illuminate the upward trends and innovations of BRT in U.S. cities. Through three in-depth case studies and other examples, the guide shares the critical lessons learned by several cities that have successfully implemented, or are in the midst of completing, their own BRT corridors. Distinct from previous BRT planning and implementation guides, this is a practical resource to help planners, and policy makers specifically working within the U.S. push beyond the parameters of bus priority and realize the comprehensive benefits of true BRT.

Engaging Families, Empowering Children

July 30, 2019

As the country becomes more diverse, schools that successfully engage all families will transform learning and leadership. This executive summary captures "takeways" from partnerships forged by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to create environments where teachers, families and community members can effectively collaborate and share power.

The Impact of Handgun Purchaser Licensing Laws on Gun Violence

June 12, 2019

There is a major flaw in federal firearm laws in the U.S. and in most states' laws; prohibited purchasers can acquire firearms from unlicensed private sellers without subjecting themselves to background checks and record-keeping requirements. Violent criminals and traffickers exploit this weakness with fatal consequences. This report discusses the need to improve background checks and handgun purchaser licensing laws which would result in reduced gun deaths.