Institute on Assets and Social Policy
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University
By: Bethany Romano
This September marks the conclusion of a four-year joint venture between Heller’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy(IASP) and New Hampshire’s Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs (OMHRA) to strengthen the diversity of the state’s healthcare workforce. As the patient population of New Hampshire grows increasingly diverse, the state strives to mirror that diversity among healthcare workers as well.
Throughout the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative, principal investigator Janet Boguslaw and co-investigator Sandra Venner have helped New Hampshire employers and other stakeholders improve the hiring, retention and advancement of its minority healthcare workers. This partnership, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, seeks to understand the role that job training and workplace practices have in advancing the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the healthcare workforce.
OMHRA explicitly seeks to enroll 25 percent minority trainees....Clcik to read more
IASP 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.
All 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.
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.
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.
Developed 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.
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.
Indicators 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.
Credit 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.
Workforce 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.
People 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