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Fund for Our Economic Future;
The Fund for Our Economic Future, Deaconess Foundation and The Raymond John Wean Foundation, along with grantee partner Towards Employment, are pleased to release a local impact report on WorkAdvance, a national pilot tested in Northeast Ohio over the last five years that demonstrated an ability to deliver workforce services more effectively for low-income individuals. Employers can be connected to talent they need, while individuals can enjoy better earnings and increased potential for career advancement.
Coordinated locally by Towards Employment and supported by the Fund for Our Economic Future and other national funders, WorkAdvance showed that a comprehensive provision of services, focusing on targeted sectors and emphasizing advancement, could lead to better outcomes for disadvantaged jobseekers and employers. The local report builds off of analysis released by social policy research firm MDRC in August, titled "Encouraging Evidence on a Sector-Focused Advancement Strategy," that includes results for the test sites in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and New York, in addition to Northeast Ohio.
Results show WorkAdvance is a clear winner. Northeast Ohio program participants accessed more services; were 49 percent more likely to work in a targeted sector (health care or manufacturing) and more likely to be working regular shift, fulltime, or in a permanent job, and in a job with opportunities for career advancement; and averaged a 14 percent increase in earnings after two years.
A key revelation was the important role career coaching plays in an individual's advancement along a career pathway. Those who received WorkAdvance services in Northeast Ohio were 10 times more likely to have advanced if they accessed post-employment coaching. Another key success factor in the local implementation was collaboration across multiple partners in Cuyahoga County and the Mahoning Valley.
"As the research reflects, the impact of this work is significant," said Jennifer Roller, president of The Raymond John Wean Foundation in Warren.
With promising evidence-based results, WorkAdvance demonstrated impressive potential to contribute to long-term workforce solutions that give more individuals the opportunity to advance along a career pathway and into jobs that provide family-sustaining wages, and that connect employers to the talent they need for their businesses to prosper.
"Nothing has been tested and vetted like this model," said Deborah Vesy, president of the Deaconess Foundation.Northeast Ohio practitioners, policymakers, philanthropic funders, and private-sector businesses can leverage WorkAdvance to improve on past workforce development strategies and bring this successful model to scale. While each plays a different role in the system, collectively, the entire community can take actions to drive adoption of WorkAdvance principles. These include:
Spend money better. This requires understanding existing constraints of the funding system and advocating with the local philanthropic community to deliver the model to more people through expanded collaboration to scale it.
Promote core elements of Northeast Ohio WorkAdvance delivery. This includes encouraging collaboration; promoting sector-based strategies through sector partnerships; and mandating a career pathway framework.
Build into policy and practice. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the model, state- and federal-level decision makers must know of its success. This will require advocacy and effort.
"Ultimately, we hope WorkAdvance contributes to improving the lives of individuals in our region, while strengthening the talent pipeline for local businesses to grow and thrive," said Bethia Burke, director of strategy and resource allocation for the Fund for Our Economic Future.
Wallace Foundation, The;
Principals have a difficult job. It requires them to be instructional leaders, managers and mentors, all with the goal of helping every student succeed.
How can school districts provide principals the support they need to excel in this challenging position? Two knowledge products—A Story From the Field and a WNET-produced video, School Leadership in Action: Principal Supervisors—explore how some school districts are responding to that question by remaking the job of the principal's supervisor.
The idea—to shape a job focused squarely on helping principals improve instruction—represents a dramatic break with the conventional notion of the principal supervisor as a bureaucratic enforcer of principal compliance with regulations.
The article and video profile efforts in two districts, Tulsa and Washington, D.C., that have rethought the supervisor's job, in part by giving supervisors fewer schools to oversee. The result is that supervisors now are fixtures in Tulsa and D.C. schools, doing things like classroom walkthroughs to observe what's working and what isn't—then sitting down with principals to discuss solutions. "I can't imagine doing this job without her," one novice D.C. principal says of her supervisor, who is helping her face such challenges as closing an achievement gap between African-American and white students.
Changing the supervisor's job is no easy task. In addition to finding funding for the work—assigning each supervisor fewer schools means increasing the number of supervisors—district leaders face initial wariness from both principals and central office staff members. Supervisors, for their part, don't necessarily step into the job fully prepared to tackle it; so each district provides the supervisors with a considerable amount of professional development. Even with that, supervisors need to figure out how to reconcile two seemingly contradictory roles: developing a trusting relationship with principals while also being their judges in job performance evaluations.
Both Tulsa and Washington, D.C., school districts receive Wallace support as part of the foundation's Principal Supervisor Initiative, which seeks to help participating districts and generate lessons for the broader field.
Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative;
Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. This report
looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.
School-based mentoring is one of the most promising of several new mentoring approaches. This study explores some of the strengths, challenges and potential contributions of this approach by describing two well-run school-based programs. It describes characteristics of the mentors and youth involved, program practices and potential benefits to youth, and discusses implications for practitioners and directions for future research. Findings suggest that well-run school-based mentoring programs are likely to be a powerful intervention for many disadvantaged youth.