“This report examines the CareerAdvance® program in Tulsa (OK) as a case study on the sustainability of a two‐generation anti‐poverty strategy that seeks to increase family economic mobility by investing intensively in sector‐based, career pathway education and training for parents, while their children are simultaneously enrolled in quality early childhood education [which includes child-care]. It is the length and intensity of the CareerAdvance® program that creates the most serious challenges for sustainability. Current program dynamics have resulted in a situation in which a significant share of CareerAdvance® participants have no children of preschool age currently enrolled in a CAP Tulsa or Tulsa Educare program.
Another significant share of participants simply cannot afford the opportunity cost involved in going to school for an extended period rather than working a full‐time job. Grant funding from the Administration for Children and Families’ Health Professions Opportunity Grant program (HPOG) is set to expire at the end of September 2015, so this is an important time to consider the sustainability of various CareerAdvance® components associated with program outcomes and impacts.
The sustainability of the CareerAdvance® program is analyzed using the Microsoft Scaling Framework, which provides a lens to consider the program’s design, adaptability, use of technology, and context. This analysis indicates that some components of the CareerAdvance® program, e.g., wrap‐around services and peer supports, lend themselves to positive and sustainable outcomes for participants, and some components, e.g., a strong workforce intermediary and identifying more reliable funding streams, require further investment. Based on this analysis, the report offers a series of recommendations for policymakers and program staff implementing two‐generation programs, and considers the challenges associated with bringing them to scale” (p.iv).(Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“Recommendations include: hiring an employer representative to bolster relations with employers and assist with job placement, supporting technology purchases for required coursework and training, and reinforcing the importance of linking investments in adults and their children in whole‐family development” (p.iv). Robust Design Recommendations • “Strengthen the workforce intermediary function and job coaching, bolstering the job search process” (p.20). • “Establish measurable goals for progress based on participants’ career pathway goals” (p.21). • “Deliberately and purposefully outreach to families with younger children as appropriate” (p.21). Avoid Trap of Mutation Recommendations • “Identify core components of the program model that are good foundations for program expansion” (p.22). • “Prepare Coaches and other staff for new competencies prior to launching expanded efforts and new career pathway options” (p.23). Computers and Technology Recommendations • “Provide enhanced access to technology or support technology purchases, including laptops, Internet connections, software required for coursework, and training” (p.23). Context Recommendation • “Reinforce links between adult and child programs to emphasize whole‐family development” (p.24). “Even with private investment in two‐generation strategies, fiscal constraints are a pervasive problem for the sustainability of this program and future efforts. Comments from Career Coaches in response to interview questions indicate that support from coaches and peer cohorts, financial incentives (in the form of tuition, testing fees attendance incentives and travel reimbursements), and childcare are fundamental aspects of the program that need to be supported. All of these aspects are costly. Future analyses must identify options for maintaining stable funding for two‐generation programs over the long‐term, particularly for the components most associated with participants’ persistence, completion and ultimate success in the labor market” (p.25). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)