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Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity

May 12, 2022

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity is a report by Race Forward and PolicyLink  that describes the work that commenced in partnership with federal agency offices, considers observations and lessons learned along the way, and discusses efforts that must continue at the federal level to fully realize the intentions of the executive order and move this country toward a more racially just future.Race Forward and PolicyLink co-led a Racial Equity Governing Pilot Project with federal agencies in the fall and winter of 2021 and 2022. This report discusses critical elements of these partnership pilots and lessons to inform and support the longer term aspirations of the federal government to become actively antiracist. 

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. 

Building Trust with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

Trust between social service organizations and their clients is crucial to effectively provide services to immigrant and refugee families. Our brief on building trust with these groups explores how we can form these relationships and sustain them long-term to best serve these vulnerable communities.

Better Responses to Differing Immigration Statuses: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

What does it take to deliver 2Gen services to families, youth, and children whose various immigrant statuses may dictate different access to benefits and make sure all family members are supported, healthy, and feel welcome and safe in their place? Our brief on immigration status examines how service organizations can provide a sense of stability and security and create a supportive environment in which immigrant and refugee communities feel safe enough to seek help around immigration statuses. When organizations are prepared for this sensitive topic, they can serve an even more valuable role in ensuring that these communities feel safe and prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Growing Language Skills with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

What can be done to help immigrant families with the language barrier as they work on improving their language skills? This brief focuses on the linguistic challenges many face as they try to acclimate to life in the United States or abroad when their native language is no longer dominant in their surroundings. From designing ESOL programs and curricula around the needs of families to recognizing and accounting for dialects when sharing resources or providing services, we took an in-depth look at how we can help families overcome the language barrier.

Cultural Competency Secrets to Success with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

The cultural shift for immigrant and refugee families can be welcomed for some and terrifying for others, but what are the cultural competency secrets to success that can best support these groups? As service providers build their understanding of and responsiveness to the cultures of their newer customers, they can more equitably engage with and effectively serve them, which leads to better outcomes for immigrant and refugee families and the local communities.

Educating English Learners During the Pandemic: Insights from Experts, Advocates, and Practitioners

April 13, 2022

There is a growing body of evidence about the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on English learners (ELs). We sought to capture the complexity of learning conditions for this student population during the COVID-19 pandemic by interviewing 20 EL education leaders. These experts' experiences revealed that while remote learning posed significant challenges to EL education and services, educators improvised, collaborated, and continued to innovate throughout the pandemic. To help EL students moving forward, education leaders on all levels must acknowledge both the struggle and perseverance that shaped their educational experiences during the pandemic.

Researchers Should Understand and Adapt Race and Ethnicity Data That Change Over Time

March 31, 2022

Embedding race equity principles into supports provided for young people who age out of foster care can better prepare them for a successful transition into adulthood. Child welfare practitioners and policymakers must consider how race and racism affect a young person's child welfare experience and the services and supports they receive. For example, practitioners and policymakers should understand how employment program outcomes vary by race/ethnicity, or the ways in which access to culturally competent sexual and reproductive health care varies by race/ethnicity. This focus on race equity principles ensures that all young people have access to services tailored to their needs.For practitioners and policymakers to accurately interpret data and make decisions about programming for all racial and ethnic groups, researchers must be able to capture someone's racial and ethnic identity alongside their outcomes. One common resource available to researchers who want to examine outcomes over time is panel, or longitudinal, data, for which the same people are repeatedly and regularly surveyed over an extended period of time. However, researchers should carefully consider how they use these data in analysis because individuals' responses to race/ethnicity and other demographic variables may change over time. When researchers treat race/ethnicity as an unchanging variable they potentially miss important equity considerations.Reviews of panel data show that responses to questions on racial and ethnic identity can and do change over time. While this is a fairly common occurrence in longitudinal data for respondents of all ages (adolescence through adulthood), such changes may be particularly meaningful for young people aging out of foster care. These young people's child welfare experiences (e.g., frequent moves, lack of information about family history, placement in foster homes with parents of a different racial and ethnic identity) may leave them without the information needed to form a healthy racial and ethnic identity. During the transition to adulthood, implicit and explicit biases around racial and ethnic identity from both individuals and systems can create opportunities and barriers at key moments in life, such as pursing postsecondary education or attaining first jobs. Despite the potential fluidity of racial and ethnic identity, however, this variable is commonly treated as static and unchanging in analysis. To date, there are few resources to guide researchers in designing and conducting analyses that both honor the racial and ethnic identities of young people and maximize the reliability of the data.In this brief, we first provide some background on racial and ethnic identity formation and describe some of the barriers to this identity formation process that child welfare system involvement may create for young people. Next, we qualitatively explore, through interviews with former foster youth, why racial and ethnic identity may shift during emerging adulthood, particularly among young people with foster care experience. The interviews provide context on the importance of honoring a young person's chosen identity as that identity shifts. We then explore the practical implications of these identity changes for researchers by quantitatively demonstrating how small decisions made while preparing longitudinal data for analysis can produce completely different results.After describing patterns of racial and ethnic changes observed in our dataset, we then undertake what we call a "three-approach analysis" in which we repeat the same analysis three different ways, with the only change being how we prepare the racial and ethnic data. We conclude by discussing the equity implications of being transparent and detailed when describing how racial and ethnic identity data is used in research studies.

The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI

January 24, 2022

College typically pays off for low-income students, but not as much as it does for their peers. Low-income students, whose families earn $30,000 or less per year, comprise more than one-third of college students. The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI finds that low-income students have a lower return on investment (ROI) than all students, largely because they tend to earn less as adults. This holds true across public and private institutions and certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees. Among institutions that primarily award bachelor's degrees, public institutions generally lead to the highest ROI for low-income students during a 40-year timeframe ($951,000), followed by private nonprofit institutions ($863,000) and for-profit colleges ($763,000). The ROI for low-income students follows a similar pattern at colleges that primarily grant associate's degrees and certificates, with the highest returns from public institutions, followed by private nonprofit and for-profit institutions. However, low-income students' returns from associate's degrees can exceed $1 million, and certificates can be just as lucrative, depending on which college a student attends.

Basic Needs Insecurity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A #RealCollege HBCU Report

January 18, 2022

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established primarily in the post-Civil War era to meet the educational needs of Black Americans. They provide pathways to upward social mobility and have a long-standing commitment to promoting both academic success and students' health and well-being. But persistent funding inequities at both the state and federal levels actively undermine those commitments and leave the sector particularly vulnerable during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.This report, a collaboration between The Hope Center and the Center for the Study of HBCUs, uses data from the #RealCollege Survey to examine the overlapping challenges affecting students attending HBCUs during fall 2020. In total, nearly 5,000 students from 14 public and private four-year HBCUs responded to the survey.Topics covered include:Impacts of the pandemic on students' health and employmentStudents' basic needs securityUtilization of public and campus supports, including emergency aid and SNAPRecommendations for federal and state policymakers

Youth Policy: How Can We Smooth the Rocky Pathway to Adulthood?

December 6, 2021

While boosts in labor demand have helped young workers as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 recession, young people continue to grapple with a youth labor market that has been deteriorating for 20 years. Their prospects have been dimmed by three major recessions: the burst of the dot-com bubble (2001), the Great Recession (2007-2009), and the COVID-19 recession (2020). Further, long-term structural changes in the economy have favored older workers with more experience, training, and education while limiting opportunity for young workers.Youth Policy: How Can We Smooth the Rocky Pathway to Adulthood? examines the United States' fragmented and inadequate approach to youth policy against the backdrop of these economic pressures and recommends changes necessary to move toward a more comprehensive and holistic approach.

For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity

October 27, 2021

The nation's first comprehensive racial equity blueprint for federal agencies, For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity provides resources, tools, and a plan for federal agency leaders to implement President Biden's historic executive order on advancing racial equity. Geared toward staff working within federal agencies, For Love of Country: A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity also includes tools that are applicable for equity advocates across the nation working inside and outside of government, including:Several key roles the federal government can use to shape racial equityThe transformative potential equity presents for key socioeconomic outcomesGuiding principles that can serve as a common foundation for the work across the federal governmentA starter tool for conducting and refining an initial equity assessmentA tool for agencies to develop a strategic vision and action plan to advance equity, and guidance on how to launch this journey