McCormack Speaks

September 4, 2018
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Updates on the Center for Social Policy From Director Susan Crandall

“Stars are born out of dark moments.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

It has been a year of crisis and upheaval across our campus, the nation, and the world. In spite of it all, the Center for Social Policy has made significant progress in our quest to shepherd meaningful change for low-income families. The Center for Social Policy leverages its unique strength as a research center at an urban public university rooted in the community it serves, and taps the talents of our faculty, staff, and students in order to:

PRODUCE IMPACTFUL RESEARCH

CONTRIBUTE TO POLICY

  • CSP Director Susan Crandall was appointed to the City of Boston Mayor’s Office Economic Roundtable.
  • CSP Research Director Francoise Carré was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Research Advisory Council.

BUILD THE CAPACITY OF THE FIELD

SUPPORT STUDENT GROWTH

  • Center for Social Policy student employees obtained employment with the City of Boston, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and the Community Economic Development  Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).
  • Public Policy Doctoral Student Caitlin Carey was awarded the Beacon Graduate Leadership award.
  • Public Policy Doctoral Student Bianca Ortiz-Wythe was selected to present her research on youth inclusion for the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.
  • Uchenna Nwangu, a third-year doctoral student at the UMass Boston School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, joined us as our summer Werby Intern.

ATTRACT ATTENTION

  • CSP Research Director Francoise Carré’s Where Bad Jobs are Better book was cited in the New York Times, The Nation, CBS News, and Le Monde.
  • CSP Director Susan Crandall’s research on Open Book Management profit-sharing for restaurant employees was featured in the Boston Globe.

I am so proud of the accomplishments of our CSP team! I am especially proud of our hardworking students, who, without the resources of a private university, dedicate themselves to produce high quality, award-winning research. I am deeply indebted to our funders, sponsors, partners, family engagement advisors, and UMass Boston faculty, staff, and students. With the Center for Social Policy receiving less than 15% of its funding from the state, we need your support to continue our efforts to systematically research policies and reveal the stories of those living in poverty, and develop policy solutions for a much brighter world for all families.

With appreciation,
Susan Crandall

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.”
Continue Reading →

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 →

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