Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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IASP in the News

"The Education Myth" by Sean McElwee and Marshall Steinbaum in Aljazeera America

"Hidden Divorce Penalty is Older Age Poverty" by Sharon Johnson in Women's eNews

"College is not the great equalizer for black and Hispanic graduates" by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of The Washington Post

"The Racial Wealth Audit: Policy Analysis through a Racial Lens" by Beadsie Woo of the Annie E. Casey Foundation

"Black Money Matters!" by Harry R. Jackson, Jr. of The Christian Post

"More U.S. children living in poverty now than during recession" by Brett Wilkins of Digital Journal

"Financial Reform at 5: Some Gains, Some Big Disappointments" by Orson Aguilar of The Bradenton Herald

"Homeownership for Minorities in Schenectady Still Elusive" by Bethany Bump of The Daily Gazette

"Why Now is the Right Time to Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap" by Sabrina Terry of Huffington Post Black Voices

click here to view articles or to see more

What's New

September 2015

Quality Workforce = Quality Health Care

IASP and its partners hold an interactive research and policy forum to share findings from the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative and Beyond Supply and Demand.  Titled "From Research to Practice: Expanding and Diversifying New Hampshire's Healthcare Workforce," the event took place at Manchester Community College on September 25.  

Asset building within human service organizations 

IASP and The National Human Services Assembly publish Empowering Prosperity: Integrating Asset Building within Human Services, a guidebook outlining key asset development approaches underway in human service agencies in the U.S.  A webinar will be held in October to review and discuss this new publication.  

Career success for healthcare professionals focus of new paper

IASP researchers publish The Networked Workforce:  Maximizing Potential in Health Careers.  This paper examines the importance of strategic relationships and connections to career success for healthcare professionals.   

August 2015

Santos successfully defends dissertation

Jessica Santos successfully defended her dissertation, Beyond Supply and Demand: Networks of Opportunity and Inequality in Health Careers, on August 6. Dr. Santos conducts applied research aligned with her expertise in workforce development and diversity, and refugee and immigrant integration. At IASP she works on two complementary projects, the "Employer Research Initiative," and "Beyond Supply and Demand," both of which investigate aspects of workforce diversity in New Hampshire's health care sector. Dr. Santos holds a Master's degree in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training and a BA in International Studies from Middlebury College.

July 2015

First report for BHA Enhanced FSS Program issued

IASP has issued the initial report to the John T. Gorman Foundation evaluating the new Family Self-Sufficiency program it is supporting at the Bangor Housing Authority. To learn about the early results, check out BHA Enhanced FSS Program Process and Implementation Report.  

Dietrich successfully defends dissertation

Lars Dietrich successfully defended his dissertation, Bullying in Schools: How School and Student Characteristics Predict Bullying Behaviors in American Secondary Schools, on July 22. Dr. Dietrich is a political scientist and Fulbright Scholar from Austria who has many years of work experience with asylum seekers. He is a social policy researcher with a focus on education and racial/ethnic inequality using quantitative and qualitative methods. His expertise is in policy research in bullying behavior in schools, racial/ethnic achievement gaps, employment inequality, and the racial wealth gap.

Graduate Research Associate accepts new and exciting position

Giselle Routhier, a Graduate Research Associate at IASP, has accepted a position at the Coalition for the Homeless in New York City.  As Policy Director, Giselle will be working at the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children.

June 2015

Building an Equitable Retirement System for the 21st Century

IASP and PolicyLink hosted a webinar to discuss the newly released brief in the Leveraging Mobility Study, “Navigating an Unclear Path: Preparing for Retirement in the 21st Century” Moderated by Alexandra Bastien, Program Associate at PolicyLink, other webinar speakers included: Laura Sullivan (Senior Research Associate at IASP), Ramsey Alwin (Director of the Economic Security Initiative at the National Council on Aging) and Jody Blaylock (Policy Associate with the Financial Empowerment Policy Project at Heartland Alliance). Click to view webinar.

Research Director Lead Co-Author on Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Brief

Tatjan Meschede, visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Regional & Community Outreach department was lead co-author of Family Financial Resources Among Boston Residents: Flow by Race and Ethnicity. The brief reveals new data collected for the Boston metro area, as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey. For the first time this study provided detailed information on financial assets that allow analysis to be broken down beyond the traditional black-and-white divide at the metropolitan-area level.

MAY 2015

Elsevier Publishes IASP Research Director and Graduate Research Associate's Paper on Evaluation and Program Planning

The use of short-term rental subsidy vouchers offers a new approach to addressing the housing needs of families facing homelessness. IASP's Tatjana Meschede and Sara Chaganti co-authored Home for now: A mixed-methods evaluation of a short-term housing support program for homeless families. This mixed-method case study complements staff and participant interview data with participant survey and administrative data to evaluate the implementation and short-term outcomes of Family Home in one region. Data point to improved family well-being in housing but also persistent barriers to achieving longer-term housing and economic stability. This research points to the need for integrating supportive services from the program’s start, including targeted workforce development, to plan for the end of the short-term rental subsidy. 

IASP Receives 2 Provost's Research Fund Awards

Recently, the Provost awarded grants to support research across Brandeis University.  IASP received 2 of the awards. IASP Associate Director, Janet Boguslaw, received funding for "Outsourced at Home: The Impacts for Job Quality, Public Resources, and Family Well-Being".  IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, received funding for "Homeless Families: Can Targeted Workforce Development Improve Employment and Housing Outcomes?"

The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters Webinar

Director Tom Shapiro, Catherine Ruetschlin (Senior Policy Analyst, Dēmos), and Anne Price (Managing Program Director, Insight Center for Community Economic Development) introduced the Racial Wealth Audit™, a new tool that prepares advocates, policymakers, and analysts to proactively reduce the racial wealth gap through policy analysis and design during a highly anticipated webinar.  To read more about this tool, download The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters.

Associate Director Presents at Strategic Philanthropy Webinar

IASP's Associate Director Janet Boguslaw and Daria Sheehan from the Citi Foundation discussed the strategic framework of asset development during a webinar hosted by Asset Funders Network.  As part of the release of the brief Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building, developed by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, this webinar addressed how integrating investments in asset building can impact sector-based strategies, and revealed examples of how funders and community-based organizations are applying this strategic approach to effect greater social and economic impact. 

APRIL 2015

New Report Focuses on New Hampshire's Healthcare Workforce

IASP, in partnerships with Trinidad Tellez, Director of the NH Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs, released Culturally Effective Healthcare Organizations: A Framework for Success.  This brief outlines strategies that organizations can take to embark on an ongoing organizational process of improvement to keep pace with changing patient and workforce demographics, and to achieve health equity. 

Research Director Lead Co-Author on Financial Supports Paper

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a Community Development Discussion Paper that examines the extent to which family financial transfers occur among Boston residents of color, as compared with national estimates.  Financial Resources in Kinship and Social Networks: Flow and Relationship to Household Wealth by Race and Ethnicity among Boston Residents. Authored by IASP's Tatjana Meschede, visiting scholar in the Bank’s Regional & Community Outreach department, the study analyzes new data collected for the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey. The survey provides detailed information on assets and debts that allows analysis to be broken down by race, ethnicity, and country of origin for targeted groups.

Research Associate Joins Racial Wealth Audit™ Project

Lars Dietrich has accepted a part-time position as Research Associate.  He is a political scientist and Fulbright Ph.D. student and a social policy researcher with a focus on education and racial/ethnic inequality using quantitative and qualitative methods. His expertise is in policy research in bullying behavior in schools, racial/ethnic achievement gaps, employment inequality, and the racial wealth gap. At the Institute, Lars is working on the Racial Wealth AuditTM project by running statically analysis, writing and editing, and presenting findings. Lars received a Master's in Political Science at the University of Vienna, and a Master's in Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  He is a PhD candidate, currently working on his dissertation which focuses on the causes, consequences and racial/ethnic differences of bullying behavior in schools.

Utilizing Economic Mobility to Advance our Understanding About How People and Communities Get Ahead

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, presented "Wealth Mobility of Families Raising Children in the 21st Century" at the Ninth Biennial Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. Over the years, this unique event has aimed to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice on key issues facing the country. The 2015 conference seeks to inform a robust public conversation about economic mobility.

More What's New


Empowering Prosperity webinar to be held Thursday, October 15, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Join us to review and discuss a new guidebook, Empowering Prosperity:  Integrating Asset Building within Human Services, that can support human service agencies' efforts to incorporate asset building into their practices by:

  • Understanding the complex economic challenges faced by diverse populations
  • Comprehensively addressing barriers so that long-term strategies and solutions "stick"
  • Cultivating a prosperity grid for stability, opportunity, and mobility
  • Increasing opportunity and well-being by focusing on and eliminating structural barriers shaped by race, ethnicity, and culture.

Register now:

Speakers include:

  • National Human Services Assembly / Tonya Wiley-Robinson, Vice President, Programs & Membership
  • Institute on Assets and Social Policy / Janet Boguslaw, Associate Director; Becca Loya, Senior Research Associate
  • Innovative Changes / Nancy Yuill, Executive Director
  • National Disability Institute / Michael Roush, Director, Real Economic Impact Network
  • Aurora Family Service / Kathryn Crumpton, Manager, Center for Financial Wellness
  • Kresge Foundation / Christine Robinson, Senior Program Officer 

This new guidebook and webinar are co-produced by The National Human Services Assembly and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy

Featured Projects

Empowering Prosperity:  Integrating Asset Building within Human Services

cover of Empoiwering Prosperity paperThis guidebook serves as a primer on asset building within human service organizations.  It outlines key asset development approaches and explores stragegies and efforts already underway in human service agencies throughout the United States.  The guide also provides a snapshot of ideas and models to spur discussion about explicitly integrating asset building into human service missions and practices.  By visiting our Resources page, you may browse the entire guidebook or select just those sections you will find most useful.  

The Dual Impacts of Good Jobs and Good Health

IASP is wrapping up a multi-year research partnership in New Hampshire designed to investigate challenges and opportunities related to workforce diversity in health care. Findings from the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative, a federally-funded initiative with the NH Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs, highlight the role that healthcare employers play as key drivers of workforce diversity and inclusion. In addition, the study Beyond Supply and Demand, funded by the Endowment for Health, offers insights into how healthcare professionals access opportunity and navigate career paths through networks.  Together, these studies point to a need for new collaborative program models and innovative policies for employment and economic inclusion.  Efforts to employ and advance diverse health professionals are critical for creating a secure workforce and economy through good jobs and good health for all.  All of the studies may be found here.

For more information, please contact Jessica Santos at (781) 736-8680 or Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738.

The Networked Workforce: Maximizing Potential in Health Careers

cover of Networked paperHuman capital is a driving factor for career success and advancement, and skill development is a priority area for workforce development policymakers.  However, the study Beyond Supply and Demand, funded by the Endowment for Health, found that healthcare professionals achieve career success and advancement through strategic relationships and connections with individuals, institutions and programs - their networks.  Health professionals who are embedded in quality networks are more likely to end up on a path to good jobs and long-term economic security over the life course.  Implications for policy and practice include the need to move “beyond supply and demand” through strategies that address and strengthen healthcare professionals’ networks and social capital in addition to their human capital.

Job Readiness Training, a Key Strategy for Addressing Unemployment in Homeless

Secure Job's Brief 2IASP is conducting a multi-year evaluation of the Secure Jobs Initiative, in partnership with the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation. Secure Jobs is a new service model for homeless families that integrates employment and housing services to provide holistic support to families in crisis. Initially launched in three cities in Massachusetts in February, 2013, Secure Jobs is now operating in seven regions in the state. IASP's mixed-method evaluation tracks program implementation at all Secure Jobs sites, and short-term participant outcomes.  

Job Readiness Training for Homeless Families: Preparing for Work to Achieve Housing Stability is the second research and policy brief in the Secure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families series. This brief focuses on the job Readiness Training component of the Secure Jobs Initiative. Job Readiness Training is a package of services intended to move job seekers quickly into employment by market their existing skills and abilities, and is central to Secure Jobs at all seven sites. Secure Jobs participants experience Job Readiness Training as supportive and empowering. Recommendations for best practices include using an evidence-based curriculum and providing wraparound supports such as childcare and transportation.

For more information, click: Secure Jobs Project or contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

How Secure is Your Retirement? IASP Report Reveals Retirement Uncertainty

Click to download reportAll families hope for lasting financial security, but today many families in the United States struggle to make ends meet, let alone prepare for their financial future. In the sixth brief in the Leveraging Mobility Series, “Navigating an Unclear Path: Preparing for Retirement in the 21st Century”, a mixed-methods approach is taken to analyze the long-term financial well-being of middle-aged households as they plan for the future and approach retirement. 

Notably this research suggests that establishing a secure, long-term financial position does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, neighborhood and family resources, as well as institutional setting, are key resources in creating a financial foundation for a family. By understanding the sources of security and the key vulnerabilities families face, policy can be proposed and structural solutions suggested that expand long-term later life security to a greater numbers of families.

Webinar: Building an Equitable Retirement System for the 21st Century

In June, 2015, IASP and PolicyLink hosted a webinar to discuss the findings of “Navigating an Unclear Path: Preparing for Retirement in the 21st Century”. Webinar Speakers included: Alexandra Bastien, Program Associate at PolicyLink (Moderator), Laura Sullivan, Senior Research Associate at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Ramsey Alwin, Director of the Economic Security Initiative at the National Council on Aging, Jody Blaylock, Policy Associate with the Financial Empowerment Policy Project at Heartland Alliance

To learn more about the Leveraging Mobility Series, please click here.

Secure Jobs for Homeless Families: Expanding an Integrated Service Model

Secure Jobs In 2012, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation, in partnership with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), spearheaded a new service model for homeless families that integrates employment and housing services to provide holistic support to families in crisis. This model, called Secure Jobs, piloted in five cities in Massachusetts in the spring of 2013. Met with widespread support since its inception, Secure Jobs has expanded to two more cities in Massachusetts, is launching in Connecticut, and has been showcased nationally.

This research and policy brief introduces the second phase of Secure Jobs model and documents changes to the model in the second phase of the initiative. Subsequent briefs will focus in on specific program elements, offering information on their impacts and recommendations for best practices.  For more information about this project, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Paper Demonstrates the Advantages of Combining Public and Private Sector Asset Building

Click to Read ReportDeveloped by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, with the generous support of the Citi Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building offers compelling evidence and examples for achieving stronger and more sustainable outcomes by combining asset building with a variety of public and private sector community partners including employment, education, healthcare and affordable housing.

A promising approach for addressing these challenges is utilizing a framework that more effectively ties together and shapes the disparate policies, investment structures, practices, and stakeholders to leverage resources and impacts. The strategic framework of asset development helps to create an effective, integrated, and sustainable system, enabling families to move through safety nets into financial security and opportunity. Asset building integration shifts investment goals from remedying deficiencies to building on strengths by increasing capability, access, and opportunity. It enables foundations to integrate and expand the scope, scale, and long-term impact of their work, shifting the focus from families' vulnerabilities to their opportunities for success.

For more information, please contact Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738.

Researchers Design New Tool to Measure the Impact of Public Policy Choices on the Racial Wealth Gap 

Click to read Press Release 

A vast amount of research has focused on how public policy addresses economic disparities but there has not been a systematic analysis of the types of public policies that offer the greatest potential for reducing the racial wealth gap, until now.  In The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters, researchers from IASP and Dēmos collaboratively designed a new tool—the Racial Wealth Audit—to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.  This tool assesses how policies and outcomes in these areas affect the racial wealth gap. To greatly reduce the racial wealth gap, policymakers must confront its historic and policy root causes. 

For more information on the Racial Wealth AuditTM please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671.

Report Reveals “No Significant Improvement” in Senior Security

Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains HighIndicators such as growth in employment rates and gains in the construction and housing sectors signal that the national economy is on the road to recovery.  Yet, with the economy recovering there has been no significant improvement in senior security.  In the 7th brief in the Living Longer on Less series, Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains High, IASP explores the obstacles seniors face and the pitfalls Policymakers should avoid.

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Study Examines Wealth Creation and Wealth Management Among the Nation’s Wealthiest African Americans

Click to view reportCredit Suisse, in collaboration with IASP, released “Wealth Patterns Among the Top 5% of African Americans” highlighting the distinctive investing behaviors within the top 5% (as measured by net worth) of the African-American community.  The study showed that the top 5% of African Americans invest a greater proportion of their wealth in lower-volatility assets relative to a white comparison group, including insurance, savings bonds, and CDs.  Click here to read more

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Issue Brief Presents Program and Policy Implications of Workforce Diversity Research for Health Care Employers and Workforce Development Leaders in New Hampshire

Click to read reportWorkforce development initiatives traditionally focus on increasing access to education and training for low-income individuals.  IASP's research on the health care sector in New Hampshire indicates that a successful response to changes in demographics and the health care environment includes an increased focus on preparing the workplace, together with cutting-edge preparation of the workforce.  Strengthening New Hampshire's Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Employers and Workforce Development Leaders (link) presents four key strategies to enhance the workforce, including a new concept of inter-organizational pathways for advancement.  Developing a diverse health care workforce in order to deliver quality care to all will require the collaboration and investment of employers, educational institutions, workforce development agencies, and community organizations.

This brief represents the third publication in a series of research products developed by the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative funded by the U.S. HHS Administration for Children and Families.  For more information, contact Sandy Venner at (781) 736-8688.

New Report Examines the Disparities in Neighborhood Opportunity

Click to download the reportPeople are drawn to neighborhoods for various reasons—family ties, connections to friends, attachment to institutions—yet, the financial and social resources that a family has access to within these neighborhoods affects a family’s well-being and ability to gain social and economic mobility.  In “Location, Location, Location: The Role Neighborhoods Play in Family Wealth and Well-Being”, the Institute on Assets and Social Policy examines the disparities in neighborhood opportunity. This brief delineates between high opportunity and low opportunity neighborhoods, explains the disparities in neighborhood opportunity and reveals the reasons why families are sorted by race and class into different quality neighborhoods.

Drawing on longitudinal survey and interview data, this brief seeks to understand how families negotiate the diverse structure of neighborhood opportunity and explores their experiences of living in different types of neighborhoods.  National-level longitudinal quantitative data illustrates the consequences of where a family lives and highlights why families place so much emphasis on gaining access to the “right” neighborhood. 

The history of racial segregation in the United States has laid the foundation for ongoing neighborhood opportunity segregation.  Policy has helped structure the segregation of opportunity by race and class, and so policy clearly has a critical role to play in helping to create a fairer distribution of opportunity by neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671

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