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Partnership for Working Families;
This study explores labor conditions in the construction industry across six key Southern cities in the U.S. and finds that far too often construction workers across the South face working conditions that should not exist in the twentyfirst century in the richest country in the world. The study documents the alarming prevalence of jobs with wages too low to feed a family. It captures the impact of disabling work injuries on workers and their families that are made even more devastating when the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, or misclassifies a wage worker as an independent contractor ineligible for compensation payments.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago;
Afterschool programs are seen as a way to keep low-income children safe and to foster the skills needed to succeed in school and life. Many cities are creating afterschool systems to ensure that such programs are high-quality and widely available. One way to do so is to ensure afterschool systems develop and maintain a data system.This interim report presents early findings from a study of how afterschool systems build their capacity to understand and improve their practices through their data systems. It examines afterschool data systems in nine cities that are part of The Wallace Foundation's Next Generation Afterschool System-Building initiative, a multi-year effort to strengthen systems that support access to and participation in high-quality afterschool programs for low-income youth. The cities are Baltimore, Md., Denver, Colo., Fort Worth, Texas, Grand Rapids, Mich., Jacksonville, Fla.,Louisville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., Philadelphia, Pa., and Saint Paul, Minn.To date, research on data use in afterschool systems has focused more on the implementation of technology than on what it takes to develop and sustain effective data use. This study found that the factors that either enabled or hampered the use of data in afterschool systems—such as norms and routines, partner relationships, leadership and coordination, and technical knowledge—had as much to do with the people and process components of the systems as with the technology.Strategies that appear to contribute to success include:
Starting small. A number of cities intentionally started with a limited set of goals for data collection and use, and/or a limited set of providers piloting a new data system, with plans to scale up gradually.
Ongoing training. Stakeholders learned that high staff turnover required ongoing introductory trainings to help new hires use management information systems and data. Providing coaching and developing manuals also helped to mitigate the effects of turnover and to further the development of more experienced and engaged staff.
Outside help. Systems varied in how they used the expertise of outside research partners. Some cities identified a research partner who participated in all phases of the development of their data systems. Others used the relationship primarily to help analyze and report data collected by providers. Still others did not engage external research partner, but identified internal staff to support the system. In any of these scenarios, dedicated staffers with skills in data analytics were key.
Urban Land Institute;
Real estate projects designed to withstand the effects of climate change can provide substantial returns on investment and an array of other benefits, according to this new report. Case studies from 10 leading resilience projects are highlighted, ranging from a Boston hospital built to withstand coastal storms to a residential community in San Antonio built to withstand the effects of intense heat and drought. Other communities with highlighted case studies include Queens, N.Y.; Miami, FL; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Nashville, TN; Tucson, AZ and Lancaster, CA.
The study found an array of benefits from the climate-smart designs in addition to their strength against climate unpredictability. They include:
Better energy efficiency. For example, multilayered impact-resistant windows save energy and reduce utility bills.Greater marketing, sales and leasing success driven by buyers' desires for well-built structures that will withstand harsh conditions and keep their value longer.Better financing options and lower insurance rates based on the reduced risk from resilient and hardened structures.
American Journal of Public Health;
A new 20-year study shows a link between children's social skills in kindergarten and their well-being in early adulthood.
Researchers from Pennsylvania State and Duke Universities analyzed what happened to nearly 800 kindergarteners from four locations after their teachers measured their social competency skills in 1991. The children were evaluated on a range of social behaviors, such as whether they resolve peer problems, listen to others, share materials, cooperate, and are helpful. Each student then received a composite score representing his or her overall level of positive social skills/behavior, on a scale from ("not at all") to 4 ("very well"). The research team monitored these students and the positive and negative milestones each obtained until they turned 25.
Using a variety of data sources, including official records; reports from parents; and self-reporting by the participants, researchers recorded whether the students obtained high school diplomas, college degrees, and full-time jobs. They also kept track of whether students developed a criminal record or substance abuse problems, among other negative outcomes.
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE);
The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been monitoring, supporting, and analyzing the cross-sector collaborative work undertaken in 16 District-Charter Compact cities. CRPE tracks progress on agreements and reports on local political, legal, and financial barriers to collaboration, and also facilitates networking and problem-solving among participants. Using data and documents from interviews with district and charter leaders, this interim report details the first two years of Compact work and finds evidence that these cities have made mixed progress on a number of fronts, such as facilities sharing, equitable funding for charter schools, more high-performing schools, and improved access to high-quality special education. But challenges like leadership transitions, local anti-charter politics, and key leaders' unwillingness to prioritize time and resources for implementation have thwarted efforts in some cities. The report includes key Compact agreements and measurements of progress for each city, plus a checklist for district and charter leaders considering a collaboration Compact.
Center for American Progress;
Profiles the goals, activities, implementation, and challenges of the twelve states that won Race to the Top federal funds to improve teacher quality and preparation program accountability; analyzes their strategies; and makes policy recommendations.
Cultural Policy Center at The University of Chicago;
Chicago Music City compares the strength and vitality of music industries and scenes across the United States. Sociologists, urban planners, and real-estate developers point to quality of life and availability of cultural amenities as important indicators of the health and future success of urban areas. Economic impact studies show the importance of music to local economies. This publication compares Chicago's musical strength with the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., focusing on 11 comparison cities: Chicago and its demographic peers, New York and Los Angeles, and eight other cities with strong musical reputations -- Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and Seattle.
Migration Policy Institute;
The 1990s marked a distinct shift in the destinations of newcomers to the United States from traditional reception cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston and increasingly towards small- and medium-sized cities. In response to this shift, a unique pilot project conducted in three mid-sized metropolitan areas shows that broad-based community coalitions can proactively integrate newcomers who are increasingly transforming Main Street, USA.
Reflecting the changing face of urban migration, the Building the New American Community Initiative (BNAC) undertook inclusive community-building through the formation of three integration coalitions in Lowell, MA; Nashville, TN; and Portland, OR. Each BNAC site was selected on key criteria that included being cities in which the number of foreign-born residents grew substantially in the 1990s, cities lacking adequate infrastructure to facilitate the demands of newcomer settlement and those with little recent experience in newcomer reception. Recognizing the differences in social, political and economic conditions across these three sites, the coalitions developed their own approaches to integration and innovative projects aimed to promote the successful integration of immigrants in their respective communities. Projects ranged from efforts to promote civic engagement, workforce and business development, youth and adult education to leadership and capacity building.
The project's final report contains valuable findings for policymakers, funders and organizations collectively approaching the challenge of helping newcomers adapt to their new communities and local communities welcome newcomers. Specifically, the report emphasizes that integration is a long-term and two-way process in which organizations and institutions play a key role and that coalitions can provide a strong platform from which to engage diverse stakeholders such as immigrant Mutual Assistance Associations, community and faith-based organizations, city planning departments and business associations. Among the most successful aspects of the Initiative was the promotion of civic engagement through education on the American electoral system and through trainings that provided newcomers with the skills and confidence necessary to communicate with public officials and effectively participate in local policymaking.
Pew Internet & American Life Project;
Examines how institutions in Austin, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., are adapting to the Internet as an economic development and community building tool.