McCormack Speaks

November 7, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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What’s Cooking at the Center for Social Policy

by Susan Crandall

As the leaves tumble faster and the weather grows ever cooler, the mounting darkness seems to exacerbate the onslaught of tragedies that befall us. I’ve often wondered how people go on in times of upheaval, conducting their daily business as the world is shattering. But I am frequently reminded that tragedies like gun violence and homelessness have been part of the fabric of everyday life for many communities like our neighbors in Dorchester and Roxbury. If they can on, I can go on: deriving purpose through the Center for Social Policy’s dedication to shine a light on the root causes of economic hardship through our community-engaged research.

Aside from voting, to find comfort elsewhere, I cook soups and stews. With my multi-function Instant Pot, I saute, mix ingredients, simmer, walk away and return to a ready-to-serve meal – usually in less than an hour. It’s quick and easy! In contrast, our projects at the Center for Social Policy are more like cooking in an old-fashioned kitchen. We juggle multiple projects at a time, moving the simmering pots and pans from the back to front burners, sneaking a taste here and there, all while keeping some ideas warm in the oven. Here’s a sample of what’s cooking at CSP on cliff effects:

Cliff Effects

Our cliff effects research agenda, guided by CSP Senior Fellow and Professor of Economics Randy Albelda, tackles the dilemma of losing public benefits in response to working more. Now ready to serve is our new chart pack which analyzes more family types and benefit packages and spotlights the impact of housing assistance and universal childcare.

Next up, we are washing, slicing, and dicing the data to prepare our next set of cliff simulations based on our recent report on benefit packages authored by Research Associate Caitlin Carey. We are also analyzing the impact of the new minimum wage law on cliff effects, led by Professor of Economics Michael Carr in partnership with Mass Budget and Policy Center.

We provide technical assistance on public benefits and cliff effects for UTEC in Lowell and for the City of Boston Office of Financial Empowerment. These organizations are grantees in Learn to Earn, Governor Baker’s initiative to mitigate cliff effects for job seekers enrolled in workforce development programs to help them advance in their careers. Our cliff effect research also informs the work of On Solid Ground, a family-engaged statewide coalition with over 45 members that advocates for housing stability and economic mobility for vulnerable families.

Early Education and Care

Cliff effects are especially detrimental for very low-paid workers, such as early childhood educators. Thus the Center for Social Policy, along with the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation, launched a study on Massachusetts’ early care and education workforce. Our interdisciplinary research team is examining compensation and benefits, public benefits and cliff effects, debt load, and professional development in order to provide in-depth data to inform future policymaking for the early care workforce.

Workforce Development and Employment

Our CSP team, spearheaded by Senior Research Associate Brandynn Holgate, is partnering with the City of Boston Office of Workforce Development to map career pathways in the creative economy for non-traditional adult learners. This project is in collaboration with the UMass Donahue Institute, with whom we are also embarking on a study with the City of Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to expand job training and employment to more underserved Cambridge residents.

Meanwhile, Research Director Francoise Carre, with co-investigators Chris Benner of UC Santa Cruz and Chris Tilly of UCLA, is examining the workplace impacts of changing retail technologies, like automation. And through her work with Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Dr. Carre lends statistical expertise on job classification for organizations such as the International Labor Organization to improve policies for informal work, such as domestic workers.

Student Homelessness

Workers and their families need stable housing to thrive. This is why the Center for Social Policy is proud to be selected as the evaluation partner for a cross-sector partnership to address the crisis of 4000 homeless students who attend Boston Public Schools. The collaborative is working together on a pilot program in seven schools to coordinate across housing, education, and health sectors to reduce homelessness and improve educational outcomes. Partners include the Chair of the Boston City Council’s Homelessness and Education Committee, Boston’s Chiefs of Housing and Education, Higher Ground, DSNI, Project Hope, New Lease for Homeless Families, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Housing Authority.

In the Community

When we are not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, we are out and about in the community. Recently, I served on a panel of experts to speak to business leaders on the Modern Workforce, highlighting the need for tuition assistance and debt counseling to attract and retain today’s financially-burdened millennial workforce. I was also an invited speaker on cliff effects and workforce policy at the Department of Labor Employment and Training and Administration Region I Administrators meeting hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

June 29, 2017
by justinmaher
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Workforce Development Conference Brings New Ideas and Renewed Passion

At a recent conference organized by McCormack’s Center for Social Policy (CSP), keynoter Ronald G. Marlow urged workforce development professionals not to bury themselves so deeply in their tasks that they lose perspective. “Sometimes we get so busy doing our job that we forget to do the work associated with doing the job — connecting with stakeholders, informing and bringing along allies, and engaging those who may be antagonistic to mitigate their concerns,” said Marlow, who is vice president for workforce development at National Urban League.

McCormack student Ronald G. Marlow delivers CWC conference keynote, May 11, 2017.

McCormack student Ronald G. Marlow delivers CWC conference keynote, May 11, 2017.

Marlow, who is also a former board member of the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and a current UMass Boston Public Policy PhD candidate, delivered a powerful message of equality, urging a focus on disadvantaged populations.

The 14th annual “Sharing Skills – Building Connections” conference, held this past May in Sturbridge, was organized by the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC), which is administered by CSP and CEDAC. The Commonwealth Workforce Coalition is a statewide initiative that seeks to strengthen the capacity of Massachusetts’ education, training, and workforce system to produce better employment and earnings outcomes for unemployed and underemployed residents. In 2016, CEDAC entered into a partnership with the Center for Social Policy (CSP) to administer the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition.

Each year, workforce development professionals convene to share their experiences and expertise to help develop strategies to support economic prosperity for all Massachusetts residents. Dean David W. Cash congratulated Susan Crandall, Director of CSP, and her staff for their efforts to make the conference a success. “This year’s Commonwealth Workforce Coalition conference provided a forum for diverse stakeholders to share innovative approaches to foster workforce development initiatives at the local and state level. Our Center for Social Policy conducts research and facilitates cross-sector capacity building that engages McCormack faculty, staff, students, and community collaborators to holistically address critical issues like economic mobility.”

Read more about the conference in CEDAC’s latest newsletter.

May 17, 2017
by justinmaher
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From Microsoft to McCormack

In this profile from the Microsoft Alumni Network, Center for Social Policy Director Susan Crandall reflects on her early days at Microsoft and how it fostered her passion for creating access and opportunity through workforce development.

Susan Crandall

Susan Crandall

“Susan moved across the country to start in a PhD program at the University of Washington in Organizational Behavior. And then it hit her: To become an authority on how organizations work, she first needed to gain her own experience working at a corporation. Susan took leave of her PhD program and went looking for a job. What she found was a position at Microsoft in the newly formed HR Executive and Management Development Group.”

Read more.

February 14, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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A Cavalcade of Controversies: Trump’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Agendas

Policy roundtableA recent Boston Globe columnist, reporting on President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in the White House, described recent events as “a cavalcade of controversies.” What an astute (and alliterative) observation.

As part of encouraging broader discussions of this new policy landscape, the McCormack Graduate School recently partnered with the College of Liberal Arts at UMass Boston to host two policy roundtables to discuss President Trump’s domestic and foreign policy agendas.

We invite you to read about our analyses, watch the videos, and engage in the national chatter by sharing your comments on this blog.

The Trump Administration: Domestic Policy Roundtable

Read the news story

Watch the video

The Trump Administration: Foreign Policy Roundtable

Read the news story

Watch the video

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