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Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky;
Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots is an innovative research initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and administered by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. This multi-part health research project will, in successive reports: measure population health and document disparities in health outcomes in the Appalachian Region compared to the United States as a whole, as well as disparities within the Appalachian Region; identify "Bright Spots," or communities that exhibit better-than-expected health outcomes given their resources; and explore a sample of the Bright Spot communities through in-depth, field-based case studies. Taken together, these reports will provide a basis for understanding and addressing health issues in the Appalachian Region. This research initiative aims to identify factors that support a Culture of Health in Appalachian communities and explore replicable activities, programs, or policies that encourage better-than-expected health outcomes that could translate into actions that other communities can replicate.
This first report, Health Disparities in Appalachia, measures population health in Appalachia and documents disparities between the Region and the nation as a whole, as well as disparities within the Appalachian Region.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
The Duke Endowment today is built on the strong foundation of our past. We celebrate that living history in our 2014 Annual Report.
South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy;
For the past two years, with funding from The Duke Endowment, we have guided a first-of-its-kind research project to identify a path forward for teen pregnancy prevention efforts that would maximize resources and target communities most in need. While we served as the catalyst agency, organizational leadership from more than a dozen agencies participated in this endeavor. As a result, we have produced a collection of information, recommendations, and investment strategies that provide a clear path forward to achieving further reductions in South Carolina's teen birth rate.
This report is part of a series of 21 state and regional studies examining the rollout of the ACA. The national network -- with 36 states and 61 researchers -- is led by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, the Brookings Institution, and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
South Carolina has its work cut out for it. As a state with one of the highest poverty rates and poorest health outcomes indicators, one thing stakeholders from all perspectives agree on is the need for improvement in the state's health status. Successful implementation of the ACA in South Carolina -- for those who believe that is the goal -- will require building greater public understanding of the ACA and enrolling all who are eligible in a state in which government distrust is high and public insurance program take-up rates have traditionally been low. It will also require a shift in position on the Medicaid expansion option. As long as the state's poorest uninsured remain without assistance, the aims of the ACA to promote widespread access to health care will never be realized.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP);
This report was produced by ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) with CEFS (Center for Environmental Farming Systems) and CFSA (Carolina Farm Stewardship Association) to inform the food systems development work of the CONNECT Our Future project in Charlotte, North Carolina, and 14 surrounding counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties in North Carolina, and Chester, Lancaster, Union, and York counties in South Carolina. (These counties will be referred to throughout this report as the "CONNECT Our Future project region" or "project region.") This report documents current food and farm conditions, raises awareness of local food system opportunities emerging in the project region, and contributes to the CONNECT Our Future goal to develop a blueprint for regionally directed economic growth. The Food Systems Assessment Report summarizes major findings from the assessment research and discusses key opportunities and actions for the region based on these findings. The research conducted for this report included a thorough inventory of existing food production and consumption data by county, as well as investigations into regional food system assets including infrastructure, markets, accessibility, and the food waste stream. The Food Systems Assessment Report also identifies the significant data indicators for local food systems throughout the CONNECT Our Future project region and can be used as a resource for the region's communities to conduct their own assessments based on community-specific needs.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA);
Millions of dogs enter animal welfare organizations every year and only a fraction of them are adopted. Despite the most recent American Pet Products Association (APPA) data that nearly half the US population owns a dog, only 20% acquired their dog from an animal welfare organization. Studies show that people consider adopting from an animal shelter more often than they actually do, which indicates a potential market increase if programs can make shelter dogs more visible to adopters. This research focused on a novel adoption program where shelter dogs were transferred into foster homes who were tasked with finding an adopter. Shelter dogs were placed in the path of potential adopters and bypassed the need for the adopter to go to the shelter. The results show that this novel program was effective in a variety of ways including getting dogs adopted. Although length of stay was significantly longer for dogs in the program, the dogs were in a home environment, not taking up kennel space in the shelter. The program also had a lower rate of returns than dogs adopted at the shelter. The foster program tapped adopters in different geographical segments of the community than the dogs adopted from the shelter. By bringing shelter dogs to where adopters spend their time (ex: restaurants, parks, hair salons), the program potentially captured a segment of the population who might have obtained their dog from other sources besides the shelter (such as breeders or pet stores). This novel approach can be an effective method for adoption, has many benefits for shelters, and can tap into a new adopter market by engaging their community in a new way.
American Mental Health Counselors Association;
This comprehensive study shows that 6.7 million uninsured people with a mental illness are currently eligible for coverage under the Medicaid Expansion that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. But the majority of these individuals with mental health conditions will be left out in the coverage cold due to their state's antagonism toward the Medicaid Expansion health insurance initiative.
National Fund for Workforce Solutions;
The need to build a more robust workforce development pipeline is evident in the hundreds of thousands of job openings in our nation's advanced manufacturing industry. Rapid technological change has created a severe skills gap, compounded by a pending wave of retirements due to the aging of the workforce.
Investment in industry-driven on-the-job training (OJT) can be an effective workforce development strategy in this economy. This brief explores one promising OJT model: the Boeing Manufacturing On-the-Job Training Project (the "Boeing Project"), funded by The Boeing Company and managed by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (National Fund).
The Boeing project demonstrates that a well-designed OJT initiative can be valuable for both workers and employers. The project provided insight into the best uses of on-the-job training within the workforce development system, as well as recommendations for which design elements are most likely to help programs succeed. Results show that the OJT model is well suited for creating career advancement opportunities for entry-level employees, as well as for helping workforce development partnerships build relationships with employers.
Between the summer of 2012 and the spring of 2013, the Boeing OJT project placed 101 unemployed workers into training at 39 advanced manufacturing companies. Eight regional workforce industry partnerships of the National Fund provided employers with 50 percent wage subsidies during training periods of between 10 and 15 weeks. At the end of this training, employers retained 91 of those workers. Employers and employees overwhelmingly found the program beneficial, reporting high levels of satisfaction with the training experiences and the skills required.The following are the three key lessons learned from the project about the role of on-the-job training in workforce development:
On-the-job training is well suited to customize training to the employer's specific needs, while creating career advancement opportunities for entry-level workers
On-the-job training must include clear employer incentives to consider low-skilled candidates-and to hire newly trained workers-in order to serve as an effective job placement strategy for low-skilled, unemployed adults
Creating on-the-job initiatives helps workforce development programs strengthen existing partnerships with employers and build new employer relationships.
Millions of low-income working families in America today are struggling to make ends meet. While working hard, often in low-wage jobs, many of these families are living close to the edge of hardship and have little or no resources to fall back on in case of emergencies. Public benefit programs can make a huge difference in the well-being of these working families, providing help with food, child care, and health insurance expenses. These programs help families address immediate needs and weather short-term crises, such as repairing a car needed to get to work or dealing with an unexpected health problem. They can make it possible for families to hold onto their jobs in these emergencies, stabilizing employment and keeping families from falling further into poverty.
Yet many families that are eligible for public benefit programs do not participate. Although the recession and its aftermath led to unprecedented increases in receipt of nutrition assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the latest data (from 2010) show that only 65 percent of the eligible working poor are participating. Similarly, of all children eligible for public health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, only 86 percent are participating. The participation rate for public health insurance for parents is only 66 percent. And, these participation rates vary widely across states.
The Work Support Strategies, or WSS, Initiative is motivated by the value public benefit programs can provide to working families and the belief that the states and localities administering these programs can improve how eligible families access and retain these benefits. In the first year of the demonstration, nine states took on the challenge of streamlining, integrating, and improving the provision of work support benefits through their SNAP, Medicaid, and child care programs (and, in some states, additional programs such as heating assistance and cash welfare). While most states hope their efforts will also reduce burden on caseworkers and administrative costs in these systems, all are motivated to improve the lives of the families they serve.