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Growing Voters in Rural Communities: Supporting Youth, Creating Opportunity, and Strengthening Democracy

January 9, 2024

Starting in the spring of 2023, CIRCLE and Rural Youth Catalyst kicked off a nonpartisan learning community with anchor organizations from a diversity of rural places that provide support to young people. The goals of the learning community were to learn from one another about experiences working with youth in rural communities, wrestle with the systemic challenges in rural communities and elections, and to co-create a vision for efforts to increase civic participation, including voting, across diverse rural communities in the United States.This brief, produced in partnership with the Rural Youth Catalyst Project, is informed largely by the Learning Community's insights and reflections. It outlines our collective findings and offers ideas for rural organizations to begin to center youth civic engagement as an integral part of their work.

Benefits Beyond Measure: The Role of Workplace Benefits in Improving Job Quality

January 8, 2024

One of the key challenges facing the future of work is ensuring that all jobs are good jobs—that is, jobs that offer workers economic stability; opportunities for mobility; and basic levels of equity, dignity, and respect. Workplace benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, are an important component of good jobs. But there is little consistency in what benefits are offered to workers and how those benefits are designed and administered. The term "benefits" is used widely but rarely defined. The range of benefits offered is incredibly diverse, including health insurance, paid time off, pet insurance, and gym memberships. Though grouped together, these offerings are vastly different and unequally available across the workforce, and they can have very different effects on workers' lives.This brief synthesizes existing knowledge on the landscape of benefits available to workers in the United States and the impacts of those benefits. It begins by defining workplace benefits and providing a brief history of their use. It then explores the connection between workplace benefits and job quality, mapping known impacts against key components of job quality. Finally, it reflects on opportunities for improvements in job quality and for future research.

Civic Thought: A Proposal for University-Level Civic Education

December 11, 2023

Key PointsThere is widespread, bipartisan concern that American universities are not adequately preparing students for citizenship. The most ambitious efforts to attend to this problem to date have been undertaken by Republican-led state legislatures, which have mandated that state universities create new academic units for civic education.While this innovation has been undertaken to meet political needs, its success or failure will be determined by academic standards. To meet those standards, these new academic units will need to define and execute a distinctive intellectual mission.An intellectual mission in the fullest sense requires a coherent program of teaching and research in a specific and demanding discipline. This report sketches the outlines of such a program, which we call "Civic Thought." As its core elements are derived from a consideration of the intellectual demands of citizenship, it may be useful to all those working toward the renewal of university-level civic education.

Maternal Suicide in the U.S.: Opportunities for Improved Data Collection and Health Care System Change Issue Brief (Updated Sept 2023)

November 29, 2023

Maternal suicide is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the US. While maternal mortality has rightfully garnered increasing attention in recent years, maternal suicide has been historically overlooked as a cause of maternal mortality because national maternal mortality rates previously excluded suicides as pregnancy-related deaths, instead classifying maternal suicides deaths as incidental or accidental deaths. According to the provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) there was a record high number of deaths in 2022 from suicide for the general US population. It is important to continue to address suicide prevention efforts for the general and maternal population.

From Pollution to Solution in Six African Cities (French Version)

November 23, 2023

La pollution de l'air est un véritable fléau silencieux pour l'Afrique. Chaque année, l'air pollué tue plus d'Africains que l'eau insalubre, l'assainissement et le lavage des mains combinés. En plus du million d'Africains qui meurent chaque année de la pollution de l'air provenant de sources intérieures et extérieures, des millions d'autres vies doivent vivre avec ses conséquences dévastatrices. La situation est bien pire dans les villes, où les activités hautement polluantes nuisent à la santé des habitants et à l'économie. Une étude réalisée par Dalberg Advisors pour le Clean Air Fund révèle que si rien n'est fait, la pollution de l'air coûtera collectivement à Accra, au Caire, à Johannesburg, à Lagos, à Nairobi et à Yaoundé environ 138 milliards de dollars US en décès prématurés et en absentéisme des travailleurs d'ici à 2040, ce qui représente 8 % de leurs PIB actuels combinés.L'urbanisation rapide du continent ne devrait pas se faire au détriment de la santé de ses citoyens. Les villes africaines peuvent opter pour une croissance verte, dans laquelle les investissements visant à lutter contre les principales sources de pollution atmosphérique contribuent à améliorer la productivité des travailleurs et les budgets nationaux de santé, et à créer des lieux de vie sains, équitables et prospères. Les gouvernements africains prennent de plus en plus conscience de l'importance cruciale de ce défi. L'Évaluation environnementale intégrée en Afrique présente les mesures nécessaires pour parvenir à une croissance verte, mais la mise en œuvre de ce projet pour l'Afrique nécessite une action plus globale, coordonnée et à plus grande échelle. Cette analyse indique que dans les six villes étudiées, des mesures prises aujourd'hui pourraient permettre d'éviter 109 000 décès prématurés et la perte de 19 milliards de dollars US d'ici à 2040.Se fondant sur des études de cas de meilleures pratiques à travers le continent africain, cette note stratégique formule des recommandations susceptibles d'aider les gouvernements à favoriser une croissance économique verte en milieu urbain. Pour relever ce défi, il est essentiel d'investir dans la bonne gouvernance et la législation, d'améliorer le suivi de la qualité de l'air, de mener des politiques de réduction des émissions scientifiquement fondées, de mettre en place des modèles de partenariat et des formations efficaces, et d'améliorer l'accès au financement de la lutte contre le changement climatique. Ces recommandations représentent la première étape de conception et de mise en œuvre d'actions adaptées au niveau local que les gouvernements doivent prendre en compte.Air pollution is Africa's silent killer. Each year, air pollution kills more Africans than HIV / AIDS and malaria combined. In addition to the 1 million Africans who die from diseases caused by indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution annually, millions more have to live with its devastating consequences. This problem is worse in cities, where highly polluting activities stunt the health of both their residents and economies. Analysis undertaken for the Clean Air Fund by Dalberg Advisors finds that left unchecked, air pollution will collectively cost Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé an estimated US$138bn in premature deaths and worker absenteeism by 2040, equivalent to 8% of their current combined GDPs.The continent's rapid urban growth should not come at the expense of the health of its citizens. African cities can choose to put themselves on the path of green growth, in which investments to tackle the major sources of air pollution bring about benefits to worker productivity, national health budgets and help create healthy, equitable and prosperous places to live. African governments are increasingly aware of this challenge. The Africa Integrated Assessment outlines the steps needed to reach green growth, but realising this blueprint for Africa requires more comprehensive, coordinated and scaled action. This analysis shows that across the six case study cities, actions taken today could prevent 109,000 premature deaths and prevent the loss of US$19bn by 2040.Drawing on best-practice case studies from across the African continent, this policy brief lays out recommendations that can help governments unleash green urban economic growth. Investments in good governance and legislation, better air quality monitoring, evidence-based emission reduction policies, effective partnership models and training, and improved access to climate financing are essential to meeting this challenge. These recommendations represent the first step for governments to consider as they design and deliver locally-tailored action.

From Pollution to Solution in Six African Cities

November 23, 2023

Air pollution is Africa's silent killer. Each year, air pollution kills more Africans than HIV / AIDS and malaria combined. In addition to the 1 million Africans who die from diseases caused by indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution annually, millions more have to live with its devastating consequences. This problem is worse in cities, where highly polluting activities stunt the health of both their residents and economies. Analysis undertaken for the Clean Air Fund by Dalberg Advisors finds that left unchecked, air pollution will collectively cost Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé an estimated US$138bn in premature deaths and worker absenteeism by 2040, equivalent to 8% of their current combined GDPs.The continent's rapid urban growth should not come at the expense of the health of its citizens. African cities can choose to put themselves on the path of green growth, in which investments to tackle the major sources of air pollution bring about benefits to worker productivity, national health budgets and help create healthy, equitable and prosperous places to live. African governments are increasingly aware of this challenge. The Africa Integrated Assessment outlines the steps needed to reach green growth, but realising this blueprint for Africa requires more comprehensive, coordinated and scaled action. This analysis shows that across the six case study cities, actions taken today could prevent 109,000 premature deaths and prevent the loss of US$19bn by 2040.Drawing on best-practice case studies from across the African continent, this policy brief lays out recommendations that can help governments unleash green urban economic growth. Investments in good governance and legislation, better air quality monitoring, evidence-based emission reduction policies, effective partnership models and training, and improved access to climate financing are essential to meeting this challenge. These recommendations represent the first step for governments to consider as they design and deliver locally-tailored action.

Industry and Inclusion: Highlights from Community Colleges

November 13, 2023

The report provides actionable recommendations for community colleges desiring to provide inclusive programming that supports the recruitment, enrollment and credentialing of historically marginalized students in the Advanced Manufacturing sector. It also provides recommendations for policymakers to focus investments and strategies in support of this work.

Options for U.S. Federal Involvement in Elections

November 9, 2023

Amid growing threats to election infrastructure and the increased complexity of administering elections, legislators have an opportunity to reassess how the federal government helps state and local officials ensure secure, accessible, and trusted elections. Over the past few decades, the federal government has acted to protect elections from malign foreign actors, passed legislation to change state voter registration processes, and established the first federal agency solely devoted to election administration. The federal government's role in election infrastructure is at an inflection point that warrants reevaluation to better prepare for the challenges to come.This report lays out several options for federal involvement in elections and describes the security, accessibility, and trust trade-offs of each option. The Bipartisan Policy Center consulted with more than 40 election stakeholders in the creation of this report, including representatives from federal agencies, state and local election offices, nonprofit election groups, academic researchers, and philanthropic organizations.

Partners for Impact: Community Colleges and Human Services Nonprofits BOOSTing Family Economic Success Through Organizational Policy and Practice

November 8, 2023

Forging connections between community colleges and human services providers makes it possible to build stronger pathways that include both learning opportunities and social supports. This brief explores how community colleges and human services nonprofits can partner to advance multigenerational family economic success. The paper highlights insights and recommendations from six sites in The Kresge Foundation's BOOST initiative working to change organization policies and practices and connect students with critical supports and career opportunities.

Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Governmental Public Health Workforce and General Population

October 26, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic led to worsening mental health in the US population, with the mental health of health care workers responding to COVID-19 being particularly vulnerable. The governmental public health workforce has played an essential role in responding to the pandemic, particularly in keeping public health systems and infrastructure afloat to sustain the increased demand for health services. Yet, the influence of the pandemic on the mental health of the public health workforce has been less studied than has the impact on other health professions.Elevated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the COVID-19 pandemic have been well documented. In March through April 2020, 22% of US adults reported symptoms of PTSD. Furthermore, a survey of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health workers fielded in the spring of 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third (36.8%) of respondents reported symptoms of PTSD; however, this study was limited through its use of a non–probability-based convenience sample.This research brief estimates the prevalence of elevated levels of COVID-19–related posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in the governmental public health workforce compared with estimates in the US general adult population in 2021.

A Conceptual Map of Structural Racism in Health Care

October 25, 2023

Longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in health care experiences contribute to profoundly inequitable health and life outcomes in the United States. Researchers, policymakers, practitioners, advocates, and communities seeking to eradicate these disparities must understand and intervene in their root causes. In this brief, we develop a conceptual map of structural racism in health care that demonstrates the connections between (1) mental models that, in often unnoticed ways, guide how society thinks and acts; (2) inequitable structures, including laws and policies that codify the distribution of and access to resources; and (3) racial and ethnic disparities in health care experiences and outcomes.

Caring for the Carers: A Spotlight Brief for Supporting the Mental Health of Family Caregivers

October 25, 2023

This installment in the Social Innovations Spotlight Series explores the mental health impacts of family caregiving and explores policy opportunities to increase mental supports for the caregiver community. This brief outlines recommendations to elevate the mental health of family caregivers, increase dialogue, and advance policies that can address the negative mental health impacts family caregivers too often face.