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Opportunities in Health Care: Evaluation of Career Connections Program at Norwalk Community College

May 1, 2019

The Career Connections program was a career pathways program at Norwalk Community College (NCC) aimed at connecting opportunity youth in Fairfield County, Connecticut to high-demand allied health care jobs in the local labor force. The term "opportunity youth" in this program refers to youth, aged 18 to 25, who have graduated from high school or the equivalent, are not pursuing postsecondary education, and are not making a living above minimum wage. The program design was conceived of by Fairfield County's Community Foundation ("The Community Foundation"), as part of its Thrive by 25 initiative. The Community Foundation also funded Career Connections. The Community Foundation, NCC and the NCC Foundation jointly selected Philliber Research & Evaluation as the third-party evaluation consultant for the program.Because of the many challenges these youth face, the program was designed to provide full coverage of the cost of NCC's allied health care certificate programs, as well as offer additional supports, such as workforce readiness training, internships, academic advising, job development, and subsidized transportation. An NCC Job Developer worked with employers to help place students in Fairfield County allied health care jobs. Career Connections, housed in NCC's Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division, launched in winter 2017 and concluded in fall 2018. 

The New Orleans Prosperity Index: Tricentennial Edition

April 11, 2018

As New Orleans completes her 300th year, the tricentennial is an important moment to reflect on the city's history and achievements. But in addition to celebrating their storied past, New Orleanians are eager to learn from it. Since 2005, when Katrina struck and the levees failed, New Orleanians have worked hard to rebuild their city better than before, preserving that which they treasure, while reforming and strengthening their institutions, and increasing opportunities for prosperity. The tricentennial represents an auspicious occasion for both celebration and reflection.

Supporting Entrepreneurs: A Longitudinal Impact Study of Accion and Opportunity Fund Small Business Lending in the U.S.

April 1, 2018

The Longitudinal Impact Study of Accion and Opportunity Fund Small Business Lending in the U.S. is a first-of-its-kind national, longitudinal, qualitative examination of these outcomes. It reports on a nationwide cohort of 350 Accion and Opportunity Fund borrowers who were followed for as long as three years post loan in order to understand the impact of small business lending services on their businesses, their personal financial security, and their overall quality of life. The study examined how business owners define success and how access to capitalsupports their goals. Findings from this study not only identify opportunities for lenders to better meet the needs of entrepreneurs, they also provide evidence to other lenders, policymakers, and small business supports about the ability of micro- and small-business lending to transform lives.

Supporting Entrepreneurs: Preliminary Findings from Accion & Opportunity Fund Small Business Lending Impact Study

January 1, 2017

As two of the nation's leading nonprofit small business lenders, Accion, The US Network (Accion) and Opportunity Fund help entrepreneurs thrive by providing affordable capital and support services so they can start a new business endeavor or grow an existing enterprise.Accion and Opportunity Fund came together to develop a first-of-its-kind national longitudinal study of the impact of small business loans in the United States. With lead funding from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and with support from S&P Global, the study aims to uncover the qualitative impacts of lending on individuals, their businesses, and their broader communities. This study, conducted by Harder+Company Community Research, builds on the body of previous evaluation work that showed small businesses that receive loans create and retain jobs, increase revenue, and have high business survival rates. Following a cohort of more than 500 borrowers across the country, this study examines how business owners define success and how access to finance improves their entrepreneurial goals, financial health, and quality of life. By focusing on the longer-term impacts of small business lending while examining variations due to business type, geography, and other factors, the study will help deepen our understanding of how mission-based business lending impacts individuals, families, and communities.This report includes preliminary findings collected during this first phase of the study. While entrepreneurs reported perceived and actual impact to date, these changes will be tracked over time to examine the ways in which they are or are not sustained, and how these changes compare across and within lending regions.

Protect Your Property: Heir Property in Louisiana, How Homeowners Can Build Wealth and Protect Their Assets

December 1, 2016

Homeowners living on property passed down from family sometimes can't take advantage of their property rights. After the 2005 hurricanes and subsequent disasters, some Louisiana residents were unable to receive federal and state aid for property damage. They owned their homes. They even paid property taxes. But legal documents didn't list them as owners. So, they lacked "clear title." Their homes were passed down through generations by family agreement, but not through the legal system. They owned "heir property" and couldn't receive Road Home government aid or finance repairs.

Optimizing Talent: The Promise and the Perils of Adapting Sectoral Strategies for Young Workers

February 8, 2016

The new report from JobsFirstNYC and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, highlights national examples of effective sectoral employment programs for youth. It lays out strategies for developing and maintaining strong partnerships among industry experts and youth development practitioners, to boost employment rates among young adults and improve business outcomes. Finally, it details lessons learned from JobsFirstNYC's Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP), a successful, first-of-its-kind pilot to test whether sector strategies could be specifically effective for young adults who are out of school and unemployed.Drawing on the promising results of several sector-based employment programs for young people throughout the nation, this report explores how:By expanding and deepening access for young people to sectoral employment initiatives, policymakers and funders can help young people find alternative pathways to jobs, job stability, and advancement;Community-based and young-adult-serving organizations can play a critical role in connecting young people to employment;Collaboration across organizations is essential, and financial incentives to support partnerships must be built into future efforts; andSectoral strategies can yield even greater gains when they go beyond strategies focused on job placement to partnering with employers to identify ways to improve workers' conditions while also supporting business success.

The New Orleans Index at Ten: Measuring Greater New Orleans’ Progress toward Prosperity

October 11, 2015

The New Orleans Index at Ten | July 20156When Hurricane Katrina struck and the levees protecting metro New Orleans failed, the western world witnessed an unprecedented catastrophe. More than 1,000 people died, more than a million were displaced, and total damage to the region was estimated at $151 billion. But since August 2005, the world has experienced multiple large-scale disasters including the 2010 earthquakes that devastated Haiti, the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000 people, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which caused over 100 deaths and $67 billion in damage along the East Coast.Southeast Louisiana alone has experienced multiple shocks since 2005. Hurricane Katrina was followed quickly by Hurricane Rita. In subsequent years, Hurricanes Ike, Gustav, and Isaac all caused extensive flooding and wind damage across the region. And in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion gushed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf, fouling miles of Louisiana's delicate coastal wetlands—New Orleans' first line of defense against storm surge.Given the multiple shocks this region has suffered since 2005, the tenth anniversary of Katrina is an appropriate time to assess how the region has recovered from Katrina, and whether the city and metro area are fortifying the capacities necessary to be resilient in the face of any shock. Indeed since 2005, the prevalence of large scale disasters worldwide has drawn the attention of decisionmakers at every level. The lessons learned from New Orleans' recovery experience can inform how the world not only responds to future disasters, but also how it builds the resiliency capacities needed to withstand any shock. Our indicators suggest that while the New Orleans economy is rebounding, and in some ways better than before, several social and environmental trends may test New Orleans' resilience capacity in the future.

HousingNOLA Preliminary Report

August 21, 2015

Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee system failures destroyed more than 275,000 homes and disrupted countless lives across the Gulf Coast. For the past 10 years, passionate residents have been working with non-profit, community-based organizations to rebuild their homes and create a more equitable and resilient New Orleans. In early 2014, the Foundation for Louisiana's TOGETHER Initiative convened a group of residents and non-profits to develop strategies for improving housing policies and increasing equity in New Orleans. What emerged from the TOGETHER Initiative was a desire to build off community engagement efforts since 2005, to keep the momentum going beyond recovery and plan for the future of housing and neighborhoods in New Orleans. HousingNOLA grew out of these discussions, and this Preliminary Report is just the first benchmark. The HousingNOLA process will continue to engage New Orleans residents and key stakeholders in a community-led planning process that will create a road map for addressing housing needs over the next ten years.

Building Sustainable Communities: Integrated Services and Improved Financial Outcomes for Low-Income Households

April 14, 2015

After decades of investing in blighted communities across the country, Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) knows that healthy neighborhoods rest as much on whether residents can earn a decent wage and build financial security as they do on good housing, strong schools and vibrant businesses. As part of our comprehensive strategy, LISC is tackling this pressing need through an expansive network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in dozens of communities nationwide. FOCs help clients find and maintain good jobs, stick to realistic budgets, improve their credit and save for the future. And they are located in the same neighborhoods where LISC is investing in housing and health, reducing crime, strengthening schools and re-energizing commercial corridors.The research shows a direct relationship between the number and type of services accessed and the FOC clients' ability to grow their earnings and secure their finances. For instance, those who spent the most time on all three bundled services offered by the FOCs (employment, coaching and public benefits) had the highest job placement rates and the highest job retention rates -- a 74 percent placement rate and a 78 percent six-month retention rate. Clients who received both financial counseling and employment services had net income increases that were 89 percent higher than those receiving only financial or income support counseling.We also learned that:* 76 percent of clients increased their net income.* More than half increased their net worth.* 60 percent either increased their credit score or acquired a credit score.* 58 percent of those who started with zero or negative net income moved to positive net income.

The State We're In: A Report Card on Public Education in Illinois 2012

November 12, 2012

This report assesses Illinois' academic performance from early childhood through postsecondary, providing a snapshot of how Illinois compares to other states and nations as we collectively work to provide all students a world-class education. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first section examines how Illinois public schools serve 2 million students by spotlighting performance on key academic milestones such as 4th-grade reading, 8th-grade math, college readiness in core subjects and postsecondary graduation. The second section examines the interlocking set of reforms that state education leaders, legislators and advocates have crafted to lay the foundation for future academic growth since the State We're In: 2010. The report also illustrates how the various initiatives fit together to lay a strong academic foundation for Illinois going forward. The third section contains 55 data measures that examine Illinois' standing in early education, K-12 and postsecondary readiness and success.

The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, 2012

September 1, 2012

The Schott Foundation presents a picture of vast inequality, with black males continuing to be the race/ethnicity-gender group least likely to graduate high school in four years, as they have been since 2004. The report cites the need to address the "pushout" and "lockout" crisis in the education system, suggesting support-based reform and highlighting positive solutions.

Positive Student Outcomes in Community Schools

February 23, 2012

Analyzes links between participation in community school supplemental programs in extended learning, family engagement, and support, and student outcomes such as English language development scores and attitudes about school. Makes policy recommendations.