McCormack Speaks

June 5, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Center for Social Policy Hosts Annual Conference For Improving Job Training, Workforce Systems in MA

Earlier this spring, the Center for Social Policy hosted the 15th annual Sharing Skills-Building Connections Commonwealth Workforce Coalition Conference in Worcester. The Commonwealth Workforce Coalition is a program of the Center for Social Policy at the McCormack Graduate School. The statewide initiative offers research-based training and networking events to strengthen the capacity of Massachusetts’ job training and workforce system to produce better employment and earnings outcomes for both unemployed and underemployed residents.

Center for Social Policy director Susan Crandall welcomed the group of nearly 300 workforce development practitioners. She explained that the conference theme of Advancing Equity was chosen because the “Commonwealth Workforce Coalition is on the frontline of inclusion and helping workers advance.” The CWC has always had a strong emphasis on making sure everyone has what they need to be successful in their pursuit of employment, Crandall continued. She encouraged participants to soak in workshops on diversity and inclusion to “learn how to get even better at our craft” of job training and development.

Crandall then welcomed morning keynote speaker Secretary Rosalin Acosta of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Secretary Acosta reminded attendees that not every community and every population is benefiting from Massachusetts’ strong economy. She noted that “now is the time to work on equity, both in access to employment and pay.” She also encouraged employers to cast a wider net when it comes to hiring and to be more intentional and thoughtful regarding diversity. She also highlighted the importance of the statewide cross-agency Learn to Earn initiative, which leverages Center for Social Policy research on cliff effects to develop solutions for workers balancing public supports, such as childcare, with their efforts to advance in the workforce.

The conference featured impactful workshops relevant to the conference theme of Advancing Equity by community partners around the state, including EMPath, Commonwealth Corporation, Jobs for the Future, Jewish Vocational Services, WayFinders, Holyoke Community College, several Workforce Investment Boards, and the UMass Boston Institute for Community Inclusion.

The Platinum Sponsor of the CWC conference was the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. MGC Commissioner Bruce Stebbins delivered remarks about MGC’s ongoing efforts to ensure diversity. He highlighted the “Build A Life That Works” campaign, a first-of-its-kind statewide recruitment initiative which aims to increase tradeswomen in the building trades to 20% by 2020.

MGM Springfield General Manager Alex Dixon delivered the luncheon keynote address. Dixon spoke about MGM’s extensive workforce development efforts and the 3,000 jobs—many that are entry-level with opportunities for growth–available when the resort opens. In addition, MGC’s Director of Workforce, Supplier, and Diversity Development Jill Griffin led a workshop detailing MGC’s work to maximize access to careers created by the state’s emerging expanded gaming industry.

Additional conference sponsors included Boston Private Bank, CEDAC (Founding Partner), CHAPA, SkillWorks, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Partners Healthcare, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

“This kind of conference is exactly what the Center for Social Policy excels at,” noted David Cash, dean of the McCormack Graduate School, “leveraging its research expertise to convene the right people to address pressing issues of equity, job growth and economic development.”

June 5, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Center for Social Policy Research Director Leads Conversation on Job Creation

Françoise Carré, Research Director at the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, spoke this spring at a symposium hosted by the MIT Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. The symposium examined job quality across industries. Carre reviewed the findings and recommendations from her recently published Russell Sage book, Where Bad Jobs are Better.

Carré’s policy recommendations included raising the minimum wage, which would improve the quality of retail jobs, since retail workers hold about one-fourth of all minimum wage jobs in the U.S. She also recommends limiting the “hours arms race” that pressures stores to stay open overnight. She proposed policy changes to hours regulations targeted by geographic area and type of store.

Read more about Dr. Carré’s research and presentation here.

December 21, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Bad Retail Jobs Are Not Inevitable – New Book by Françoise Carré and Chris Tilly Explains Why

book cover: Where Bad Jobs are Betterby Robert Turner, McCormack Graduate School

Retail, the largest U.S. employer, is not inevitably the domain of dead-end jobs with low pay, few benefits, and problematic work schedules. A new study of seven countries demonstrates that better retail jobs are not just possible but already exist.

Françoise Carré of UMass Boston and Chris Tully of UCLA, the study authors, say that changes in government policies and broadly-held values could improve the quality of retail jobs in America, as they have in Europe. New York Times columnist and Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman tagged the study findings as “Supremely important. We have low wages in large part because of political choices, not ineluctable logic of markets.”
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October 20, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Center for Social Policy’s Research on Cliff Effects Drives Systems Change

two women testifying at the State HouseFor over a decade, the Center for Social Policy has been a pioneer in “cliff effects” research. CSP Senior Research Fellow Randy Albelda has conducted extensive research to show how a small increase in earning can result in the sudden loss of public assistance that can leave a family with lower total net resources–known as the cliff effect. As demonstrated in CSP’s signature On Solid Ground Report, cliff effects are a growing concern due to the rising costs of living, especially housing, coupled with stagnating wages, making it nearly impossible for thousands of low-income working families to make ends meet without supports from public benefits.

Transforming Research into Policy

Consistent with its strong commitment to turn its research efforts into action, the Center for Social Policy is the lead research partner for the On Solid Ground Coalition, a cross-sector group of over 40 partners committed to a research-based, family-centered approach to ensuring access to housing stability and economic mobility for Massachusetts families. Now in its third year, with major support from the Oak Foundation, the coalition is led by CSP, Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), and Homes for Families (HFF). Research Associate Marija Bingulac (Public Policy PhD, ’17), senior project manager of the coalition, ensures alignment between research and advocacy efforts, encouraging cross-regional collaboration, and engaging families impacted by cliff effects. Continue Reading →

July 25, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Center for Social Policy Highlights FY 2017

Center for Social Policy team

CSP Research Director Francoise Carre, Administrative Assistant Rolando Del Villar, and Director Susan Crandall

As the new fiscal year gets off to a warm start, the Center for Social Policy (CSP) reviews its accomplishments over the past year to celebrate successes as they gear up for the year ahead.

The center focused on releasing  impactful research, influencing policy, building capacity in the field, supporting student growth, and sharing their scholarship with the media.

CSP Director Susan Crandall notes, “I am grateful for the support of our constituent advisors, the Emerging Leaders Program, our partners, sponsors, and funders. I look forward to our ongoing work together!”

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