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Everybody’s Doing It

Everybody’s Doing It

There’s a lot of year-in-reviewing, best-of-listing, and resolution-setting going on this week. It’s hard to resist, so we’ve compiled our own list of articles, reports, and videos from 2012. The message from all of them is clear:

education + work + assets = opportunity

For 2013, we’re resolving to continue our commitment to this formula and we’re hopeful about the good things ahead for our communities and country. (Want to learn more about the work we do? Watch one of our favorite videos of the year.)

Place

Brandon Martin-Anderson of MIT’s Changing Places lab made one of our favorite maps of the year. It’s the US Census count with a dot for every person. Even if you can’t find your particular dot, you can see some interesting patterns of density and networks.  

Partners for Postsecondary Success sites in Amarillo and Brownsville both produced videos about their efforts to unite their communities in the work to increase college completion rates. Check out All In Brownsville and Amarillo’s No Limits No Excuses initiative. And prepare to be inspired.

Education

Jason DeParle’s New York Times story from December 22, For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall is long but well worth your time.

On the last day of 2012, Forbes featured a report from CollegeMeasures that compared earnings of community college technical/occupational programs with those of non-technical community college grads and bachelor’s degree holders in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia. The technical grads outearned both.

Okay, so this Daily Yonder piece about Rosenwald Schools is from 2013, but it’s a bit of history that you don’t want to miss.

Employment

In May 2012, the Aspen Institute released a report on the Courses to Employment (C2E) initiative. In Courses to Employment: Partnering to Create Paths to Education and Careers, profiling six community college–nonprofit partnerships. In most communities, “no single education or community-based organization has all of the…resources in-house to implement a sectoral employment development strategy” that meets needs of employers and job seekers. That means we’ve got to work together, folks.

At an MDC event in May, Peter Edelman, law professor and co-director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, gave us his recommendations for taking on structural inequity and the resultant joblessness and poverty in our communities. You can view the webcast here.

Economic Security

Don’t forget the Opportunity Index that was launched in November. Each state gets a score in three dimensions—economy, education, and community—along with an overall opportunity score. It’s a good place to start the conversation about where we’re at and where we’re going.

In early December, the National Journal laid out “The No Good, Very Bad Outlook for the Working-Class American Man.” Author Jonathan Rauch painted a bleak picture of productivity gains bypassing workers—and workers subsequently leaving the workforce. Rauch calls for fixes in everything from jobs to infrastructure to housing security. Here’s hoping the reality check moves us to action.

Let’s not forget this bit of positive action on the asset front in 2012: the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) launched a new matched savings initiative, the 1:1 Fund. The 1:1 Fund is an online community that connects low-income students with individual donors.