May 2008  
Family Economic Success Newsletter
In this Issue

EVENTS

Seattle Event to Screen New Affordable Transportation Documentary

Roundtable Meeting Examines Driver’s License Suspension as a Problem for Building or Sustaining Family Economic Stability

Peer Learning Session Focuses on Support for Adults with Low Literacy and Low English Proficiency


FEATURE STORIES

New Website Stories Look At Innovative Rural Approaches for Creating and Expanding Economic Opportunity

Casey Family Services Publication Features Interview with FES Director


PUBLICATIONS, PRESENTATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES

New Blog Addresses Wide Range of Nonprofit Challenges

Social Security Provides Critical Life and Disability Insurance for Young Families

Maryland’s Immigrant Population Ranges from Highly Educated Professionals to Low-wage Service-Sector Workers

Neighborhood Pipelines Connect Families to Good Jobs with Benefits

Working Poor Families Project Releases New Assessments and Reports

Consortium Works for Standards to Ensure Family-Friendly Workplace

Partnership of Community Foundations Supports FES Strategies in Border Region
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s quarterly Family Economic Success (FES) Newsletter provides updates on activities, developments and resources in the three major areas of FES—workforce development, family economic supports and asset building. The goal of Casey's FES work is to promote specific strategies that enable parents to get jobs and advance in the workforce, increase their income, and build and protect a base of assets sufficient to secure a better future for their families.

Events


Seattle Event to Screen New Affordable Transportation Documentary
Casey’s new documentary, Pursuit of the Dream: Cars & Jobs in America, will be screened at an event in Seattle on May 29. Sponsored by Seattle Port Jobs, the event will showcase a shorter version of the full documentary, featuring two Seattle families who struggled with car purchase problems and eventually found help from Working Wheels, a local car ownership program created by Port Jobs and operated by Solid Ground. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion and reception.

The Pursuit of the Dream documentary DVD describes the importance of affordable transportation to building the economic success of families and their communities. The documentary features three people who talk about the pitfalls they encountered when they tried to buy a car, including over-priced and unreliable vehicles, sub prime loans, exorbitantly high down payments, hidden purchase costs, and the consequences of poor credit histories. The documentary offers tips for avoiding these pitfalls and making wise car-purchase decisions. The DVD includes English and Spanish versions, and a printed discussion guide for different audiences.
See the invitation to the Seattle event
Learn more about the documentary



Margy Waller, Mobility Agenda
Roundtable Meeting Examines Driver’s License Suspension as a Problem for Building or Sustaining Family Economic Stability
Research shows that low-wage workers who have access to a car are more likely to work, to earn more, and to work more hours. Not having a driver’s license is a barrier to work, and can be a disqualification for some jobs in construction, healthcare and other fields. Currently many licenses are suspended or revoked for non-driving offenses, as states have increasingly begun to use the license to enforce other non-driving-related laws. A day-long roundtable discussion was held recently at the Casey Foundation, and hosted by The Mobility Agenda, to examine driver’s license suspension and revocation issues. The meeting was attended by representatives from local and national government, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and academia. A new policy brief will be released soon on this issue.
View meeting video, photos, background materials


Peer Learning Session Focuses on Support for Adults with Low Literacy and Low English Proficiency
Nearly 40 workforce development practitioners, researchers and leaders from Casey’s Making Connections sites gathered in Denver recently to discuss strategies for connecting low literacy and low English proficiency adults to employment opportunities. The gap between available workers’ basic skills and employers’ workforce needs is serious—it has been estimated that 30 to 40 percent of adults have below sixth grade literacy skills. Session participants shared lessons, practices and policy strategies to assist these populations. A report by The Manufacturing Institute and Jobs for the Future, based on research funded by the Casey Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Vocational Education, focuses on techniques manufacturers have used to train their immigrant workers and improve their English language skills while at work. Improving Workplace Opportunities for Limited English-Speaking Workers looks at effective programs that integrate technical skill training with English language instruction.
Read the report



Feature Stories
New Website Stories Look At Innovative Rural Approaches for Creating and Expanding Economic Opportunity
Two new feature stories in the Rural FES section of the Casey website focus on innovative ways that two rural communities have increased job opportunities in their region. Strengthening Rural Families: Expanding College and Job-Skills Opportunities in Western Maine, tells the story of how a group of local leaders brought community college classes and jobs skills training to their area; while Using Local Creativity and Entrepreneurship to Build Family-Supporting Jobs in North Carolina highlights the efforts of an Ashville nonprofit to energize their economy by building on the region’s tradition of crafts.
Read the story about Western Maine
Read the story about Handmade in America, NC


Casey Family Services Publication Features Interview with FES Director
The recent Winter 2008 issue of Casey Family Service’s quarterly Voice magazine features an interview with Bob Giloth, the director of the Family Economic Success (FES) unit at the Casey Foundation (See page 10). The interview addresses how the FES approach was developed and the specific strategies that are part of this widely adopted agenda for helping families to stabilize their finances and move up the economic ladder. The conversation with Giloth also includes reflections on the growth and importance of EITC campaigns and asset-building strategies across the country and the directions FES work may take in the future.
Read the article



Publications, Presentations and Other Resources
New Blog Addresses Wide Range of Nonprofit Challenges
A new blog by FES Director Bob Giloth offers his reflections on a wide range of challenges and opportunities facing our society and the nonprofit community. With more than 30 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations—primarily focusing on economic development—Bob has valuable insights on good strategies, partnering, common mistakes and more. Check out the blog at www.bobgiloth.com


Social Security Provides Critical Life and Disability Insurance for Young Families
A new report, Children’s Stake in Social Security, funded by the Casey Foundation and released by the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), underlines the importance of Social Security to the well-being of children. About 6.5 million children under 18 – or nearly 9 percent of all U.S. children – received part of their family income from Social Security in 2005. They include 3.1 million children who themselves receive benefits as dependents of a deceased, disabled, or retired parent, and an estimated 3.4 million other children who do not themselves receive Social Security, but live with relatives who do. Fully 1.3 million children were lifted out of poverty by Social Security benefits in 2005. This important data can help to inform policy discussions about the future of Social Security.
Read a summary of the report


Maryland’s Immigrant Population Ranges from Highly Educated Professionals to Low-wage Service-Sector Workers
A new brief, Integration of Immigrants in Maryland’s Growing Economy, funded by Casey, summarizes the contribution of immigrants to Maryland’s workforce and trends in the workforce between 2000 and 2006. Many of Maryland’s immigrant workers are unusually highly educated and work in skilled industries such as healthcare, information technology and the sciences. However, there are also large numbers of immigrant workers with low educational attainment and English proficiency, who largely work in construction, agriculture, and services. The brief describes how education, English language, and job training programs that are tailored to immigrants’ and employers’ needs could potentially raise the incomes of immigrant workers and increase their tax contributions to the state.
Read the brief


Neighborhood Pipelines Connect Families to Good Jobs with Benefits
Connecting People to Jobs: Neighborhood Workforce Pipelines, by John Padilla, is the first publication in a series describing the Casey Foundation’s efforts to develop a new approach to connecting the dots between people living in low-income neighborhoods and jobs that provide health benefits and career advancement. The Neighborhood Pipeline joins residents, schools, community organizations, employers, workforce agencies, and elected officials to connect families to jobs. The report includes stories from Seattle /White Center, San Antonio, and Louisville, illustrating how pipelines work.
Read the report


The Working Poor Families Project Working Poor Families Project Releases New Assessments and Reports
The Working Poor Families Project has recently released:
  • Two new State Policy Assessment Reports on economic conditions and state policies affecting working families in Washington, DC and New Jersey.
  • Ohio Stackable Certificates: Models for Success, from Community Research Partners in Ohio. This report looks at approaches to removing barriers that adults face to college success by connecting pre-college academics to career-technical coursework under a framework of credit-bearing certificates.
  • Skilled Workers, Quality Jobs: Meeting the Needs of Wisconsin’s Workers and Businesses, by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. The report focuses on the conditions of low-income working families and the state workforce and educational policies needed to better serve adult workers and fill middle-wage jobs.
  • Unlocking the Doors to Higher Education and Training for Massachusett’s Working Poor Families, by the Crittenton Women’s Union. This report examines the needs of working poor families in the state—many of whom are headed by women—and identifies how state postsecondary systems and workforce policies can be strengthened to help then gain the education and skills needed to reach or sustain self-sufficiency in the new knowledge economy.
Read the state assessments and the new reports


Family Values at Work Consortium Works for Standards to Ensure Family-Friendly Workplace
A new report from the MultiState Working Families Consortium summarizes the need for new legislation for paid sick days, paid and expanded family and medical leave, and increased flexibility in the workplace. Families Value at Work: It’s About Time! Why We Need Minimum Standards to Ensure a Family-Friendly Workplace describes the wrenching choices than many workers are forced to make while trying to keep their jobs and also care for their families. The Consortium is a partnership of coalitions in eight states that are seeking to reform workplace rules in ways that support families and benefit workers and employers. You may learn more about these issues at: www.9to5.org, www.paidsickdays.org, and www.nationalpartnership.org.
Read the report


Partnership of Community Foundations Supports FES Strategies in Border Region Partnership of Community Foundations Supports FES Strategies in Border Region
A partnership of 19 Border community foundations and 12 regional, national and international funders is working to improve the quality of life in the Border region. The US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP) helps low-income working families realize their potential through asset building, family economic supports, and workforce development strategies. Initiated in 2002 and managed by the Synergos Institute, the BPP has helped community foundations attract new and increased support while improving opportunities for struggling families in the region. A new report, Building the Financial Vitality of Border Families, surveys the experiences of seven BPP community foundation members and the challenges they have faced and lessons they have learned in implementing FES work in their region.
Read the report

Please let us know if this newsletter is helpful to you and how it might be improved to meet your needs. Contact fesnewsletter@aecf.org with questions or suggestions. Feel free to forward this newsletter to interested colleagues.
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