Labor

Corporate – Community: Workforce Development Networks

Corporate – Community: Workforce Development Networks
Communities and Workforce Development. Kalamazoo, MI: Upjohn Institute, December

Sutton, S.A.
12/01/2004

This paper examines employer perspectives on, and needs and expectations with respect to, building and sustaining collaborations with community-based organizations, as well as the usefulness of such collaborative relationships in creating opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers. The analysis is based on the examination of eight cases that are representative of a much larger group of very active corporations engaged in developing and sustaining workforce development programs. Particular attention is given to the level of corporate involvement with CBOs, which is referred to as external or corporate connectedness; and the level of internal corporate support for and integration of workforce development practices, which is their level of cohesiveness. Based on the analyses of these cases, I conclude that firms with high levels of connectedness and cohesiveness are more likely to provide “good” jobs—jobs that provide living wages, benefits, and the potential for upward mobility. By contrast, firms with low to moderate levels of connectedness and cohesiveness are more likely to provide entry-level jobs, with fairly low wages, low job security, and little mobility. This research fine-tunes Harrison and Weiss’s (1998) thesis about the importance of networks. Though optimal networks are both cohesive and connected, if we look at workforce development collaborations from an employer perspective, external connectedness seems to matter less than internal cohesiveness in producing good jobs for disadvantaged job seekers.

Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's

Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's
Demographic Review, June 2004, Vol 10, Article 11.

Lu, H.H., Palmer, J., Song, Y., Lennon, M.C. & Aber, J.L.
06/18/2004

This paper helps document significant improvements in the child low-income rate as well as the significant decrease in the proportion of children who relied on public assistance in the United States during the 1990s. Many disadvantaged groups of children were less likely to live in poor or low-income families in the late 1990s than such children a decade earlier. The improvement in the child low-income rates of these disadvantaged groups was accompanied by a substantial increase in parental employment. However, parental employment appears to do less to protect children from economic hardship than it did a decade earlier. This paper shows that working families� children in many disadvantaged social groups, especially groups in medium risk ranks�children in families with parents between ages 25 to 29, with parents who only had a high-school diploma, and in father-only families�suffered the largest increase in economic hardship. Our results indicate that the increased odds of falling below low income lines among children in working families facing multiple disadvantaged characteristics and the increased proportion of these children in various subgroups of working families in the 1990s can help explain the increased economic hardship among subgroups in the medium risk ranks listed above. Finally, the paper also notes that the official measure of poverty tends to underestimate low-income rates.

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000
American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings of the American Economic Association, v. 94, n.2, May 2004

Corcoran, S., Evans, W.N. & Schwab, R.M.
05/01/2004

This study focuses on the changing labor-market opportunities for women, and teacher quality in the U.S., from 1957 to 2000. The study data consist of longitudinal surveys of five cohorts of high-school graduates. These five surveys are alike in that they each include results from a questionnaire administered during the senior year. All require participation in a battery of aptitude test scores for all students, which allows us to place graduates into a cohort skill distribution and to assess how the propensity for women or men with high relative scores to enter teaching has changed over time. Despite a small number of cross-sectional study that have examined the characteristics of college graduates choosing to enter teaching, there has been little empirical evidence on how these characteristics have changed over a long period of time. The study found sound evidence of slight but detectable decline in the relative ability of the average new female teacher, when ability is measured as one's centile rank in the distribution of high-school graduates on a standardized test of verbal and mathematical aptitude. The magnitude of this decline is even greater when measuring ability using standardized scores. The study also found that examination of the entire distribution of new teachers is more informative than trends in central tendency alone.

Financing Transportation Services in the New York Region

Financing Transportation Services in the New York Region
Citizens Budget Commission, March

Brecher, C.
03/01/2004

With the largest metropolitan labor force in the nation, and one of the densest concentrations of employment in the world, New York requires an extensive mass transit system as well as a large network of highways to bring its workers from their homes to their jobs and back. If its transportation system is not well maintained and does not expand to meet future needs, then the New York economy will not thrive. This report examines the financing policies for passenger transportation services in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. Included are 25 entities consisting of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit, four additional authorities operating or financing toll roads, the City of New York, and 15 counties. The combined annual operating expenditures of these agencies for transportation services are approximately $13 billion. This is the first comprehensive, fiscal analysis of these agencies. The recommendations call for a public enterprise approach to organizing and financing transportation. Similar to water systems, transportation systems have individual customers who should pay appropriate fees (fares, tolls, and others) to benefit from the services. These fees should be dedicated to supporting transportation facilities with subsidies from general government limited in size and purpose but provided in a predictable manner. By combining pre-determined subsidies with strong reliance on user fees, transportation agencies can operate more like independent businesses, able to plan and deliver services that their customers want.

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research
Action Research, March, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 47-69 (22) Sage Publications.

Ospina, S., Dodge, J., Godsoe, B., Mineri, J., Reza, S. & Schall, E.
03/01/2004

The Leadership for a Changing World (LCW) program is a joint endeavor between the Ford Foundation, the Advocacy Institute, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. This paper focuses on the experiences of the Research and Documentation component of LCW – lead by a research team from the Wagner School – during the initial implementation phases of the research. This component formed an inquiry group consisting of both academic researchers and social change practitioners to collaboratively explore and discover the ways in which communities doing social change engage in the work of leadership. We used group relations theory to understand a series of critical dilemmas and contradictions experienced by the coresearchers. This paper identifies four such paradoxes that center around issues of democracy and authority.

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York
Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 38, pp. 5295-5304.

Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R., Thurston, G., Clemente, J., Gorczynski, J., Zhong, M., Blaustin, M. & Chen, L.C.
01/01/2004

The South Bronx is a low-income, minority community in New York City. It has one of the highest asthma rates in
the country, which community residents feel is related to poor air quality. Community residents also feel that the air quality data provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its network
of monitoring stations do not reflect the poor quality of the air they breathe. This is due to the fact that these
monitoring stations are located 15m above ground. In the year 2001 this project collected air quality data at three
locations in the study area. They were collected close to ground-level at a height of 4m by a mobile laboratory placed in a van as part of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. This paper compares data collected by the project with data from DEC's monitoring stations in Bronx County during the same periods. The goal of the comparison is to gain a better understanding of differences in measured air quality concentrations at these different heights. Although there is good agreement in the data among DEC stations there are some important differences between ground-level measurements and DEC data. For PM2.5 the measured concentrations by the van were similar to those recorded by DEC stations. In the case of ozone, the concentrations recorded at ground level were similar or lower than those recorded by DEC stations. For NO2, however, the concentrations recorded at ground level were over twice as high as those recorded by DEC. In the case of SO2, ground level measurements were substantially higher in August but very similar in the other two periods. CO concentrations measured at ground-level tend to be 60-90% higher than those recorded by DEC monitoring stations. Despite these differences, van measurements of SO2 and CO concentrations were well below EPA standards.

A Profile of Families Cycling On and Off Welfare

A Profile of Families Cycling On and Off Welfare
New York, NY: MDRC, July

Richburg-Hayes & Freedman, S.
01/01/2004

This report analyzes the experiences of welfare “cyclers,” a group that has received relatively little attention in previous research on welfare dynamics. For this study, “cycling” is defined as receipt of welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period. The goals of this report are to understand the incidence of cycling and the types of families who cycle on and off the rolls, and, if possible, to shed light onto why they repeatedly return to assistance. The report also considers whether welfare cyclers appear to be more advantaged or more disadvantaged than other welfare recipients in the labor market. One view of cycling is that cyclers move on and off welfare, repeatedly, during transitional periods as they attempt to leave welfare. Eventually, cyclers may attain stable employment and leave assistance more permanently. An alternative view of cycling is that cyclers may work for pay only briefly and return to welfare for longer spells with little progress toward self-sufficiency.

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens
In David Cooperrider and Michel Avital (eds), Advances in Appreciative Inquiry Vol 1: Constructive Discourse and Human Organization. Elsevier Science, Ltd.

Schall, E., Ospina, S., Godsoe, B. & Dodge, J.
01/01/2004

This chapter explores the potential of appreciative inquiry for doing empirical work on leadership. We use a framework that matches a constructionist theoretical lens, an appreciative and participative stance, a focus on the work of leadership (as opposed to leaders), and multiple methods of inquiry (narrative, ethnographic and cooperative). We elaborate on our experiences with narrative inquiry, while highlighting the value of doing narrative inquiry in an appreciative manner. Finally, we suggest that this particular framework is helping us see how social change leadership work reframes the value that the larger society attributes to members of vulnerable communities.

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations
Journal of Public Economics, July

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
01/01/2004

This paper investigates the responsiveness of individuals’ retirement decisions to forward-looking measures of pension accumulations. In contrast to previous research, we use within-person variation in retirement incentives and are able to control for unobserved heterogeneity in tastes for retirement by studying a panel of subjective retirement expectations. We confirm that individuals do respond as expected to pension incentives, even when we control for individual fixed effects. However, the magnitude of these responses differs when estimated from models based on within-person versus cross-sectional variation: the inclusion of fixed effects reduces the response by about half.

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