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In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly created a bipartisan task force to explore a CSA program in the state. The task force recommended that a savings account should be opened automatically at birth for every child born in Illinois, using the Bright Start Direct College Savings Program as the savings vehicle.This report examines what it will take to make these recommendations a reality. To better understand the Bright Start program and how to make it an effective savings tool for all families, we look at how Illinoisans are currently using Bright Start, and explore the challenges low-income families and families of color face in using Bright Start to save for college. We also examine how a CSA program could impact the racial wealth gap in Illinois. Finally, we make policy recommendations for the design and implementation of a CSA program to help Illinois families save for higher education.
Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training ProgramApril 30, 2014
While the Great Recession introduced unemployment and underemployment to the masses, its significant negative trends aggravated already declining rates of employment in Michigan, particularly among less-educated, young, male, and minority individuals, who were then also hit hardest by the recession. As the nation began to slowly recover after the recession, Michigan continued struggling to find an economic foothold.The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, with the goal of creating opportunities for people facing barriers to employment to pursue education and occupational training that could help them get ahead. This evaluation report of the Michigan Earn and Learn transitional jobs program was commissioned by The Joyce Foundation on behalf of the State of Michigan.
* Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?* If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?* How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?* Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.
Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report, funded by The Robert. R. McCormick Foundation, tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.
This report examines an important aspect of economic racial disparity -- disparity in credit scores. The relationship between credit scores and minority presence illustrates a clear racial disparity in credit in Illinois. Though many related factors help to explain some variability in credit scores, even when controlling for them, racial differences in credit persist.Having a credit score is important for gaining access to things like education, better jobs, homeownership -- the very things that feed financial and social opportunity. While credit disparities exist in large measure due to the same historic policies that have limited access to broader financial opportunities for minorities, credit scores are particularly important to consider because they also impact individuals' future financial opportunities.In effect, credit scores can create a trap, one that minorities are more likely to fall into, thereby feeding the continued growth of income and wealth disparities.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to build a financially secure future for themselves and their families. Access to equal opportunities is the cornerstone of America's core values and is also a necessity to growing a healthy economy. Unfortunately, the reality is a far shot from that piece of the American dream. Income and wealth inequality are at levels that we have not seen since the Great Depression. The Great Recession further expanded an already growing racial wealth gap. Many families have little hope of upward mobility. In fact, day-to-day life is more expensive for those struggling to make ends meet due to unequal access to the tools we all need to build financially secure futures. This includes a basic checking & savings account, a retirement savings account, a college savings account, home and student loans with low interest rates, and a solid credit score that gives you access to these important loans. Many households of color have been denied access to these crucial financial tools needed to build credit and put them on a path to financial health. As this report will show, this inequity has led to a stark racial disparity in credit scores as well as related indicators, such as education level, student loan debt, employment, income, homeownership, and home loan debt. Fortunately, there are programs and policies that can help close the gap and therefore strengthen the economy, which are also outlined in this report.
Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has now surpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Cities have long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty. However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced the greatest growth in poverty. In this brief, the Social IMPACT Research Center examines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs over two decades. The findings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently, poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and the suburbs.
The Student Family Support Services Initiative (SFSI) provided intensive case management and housing assistance to families with children who were identified as residing in "doubled-up" living situations (e.g. living with relatives or friends because they had lost stable housing but were not yet in homeless shelters or cycled out of shelters) and considered at risk of becoming homeless by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 2009 and 2010. The program offered case management, housing assistance, and a menu of services that families might need to stabilize in housing including therapeutic services, employment services, and asset building. The theory of change was that addressing a family's primary housing and employment needs would positively impact the educational stability and achievement of students, while at the same time benefiting the family overall. This report, prepared by the Social IMPACT Research Center, presents a final evaluation of the initiative.
Too many students in Chicago Public Schools are performing below -- often far below -- grade level. Ideally, all students should be increasing their subject matter knowledge and critical thinking skills over time. In September 2008 a three-year initiative, the Partnership for Instructional Leadership, was created to help a group of neighborhood elementary schools in Chicago Public Schools Area 4, on the city's Northwest Side, build the internal capacity to improve school achievement for all students at all grade levels, including Pre-K and English Language Learners.**Over the course of three years, the Partnership was implemented in 11 elementary schools -- six for the full three years with five more schools joining in the third year. This report summarized significant outcomes and learnings from the Partnership experience.
Illinois Youth - Ready for Life? Illinois Youth Share their Perspective on Challenges and Opportunities as They Make the Transition from Childhood to AdulthoodJuly 30, 2007
Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders and decision makers. They are the future teachers, business owners, parents, and community members of our state. As youth make the important and often difficult transition from childhood to adulthood, families, communities, and the state provide critical opportunities and supports. Investments made in youth today through programs, services, and other opportunities are a wise contribution to Illinois' collective future. In order to ensure that all young people in Illinois are ready for life, Illinois policymakers, parents, and other adult leaders must work intentionally and collaboratively to devise a comprehensive youth development strategy.
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