Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Roundtable: Building Human Capital Two Generations at a Time: The Intersection of Human Services and Postsecondary Opportunities for Families
(Social Equity)

Saturday, November 14, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Sarah Haight, Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Moderators:  Lori Severens, Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Speakers:  Christopher King, University of Texas, Austin, Reggie Bicha, Colorado Department of Human Services and Autumn Green, Endicott College Keys to Degrees

Two-generation approaches – which provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children and their parents together – are gaining momentum across the country. At the same time, the opportunity to address the unique needs of student parents is increasing: according to 2013 data compiled by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, nearly 25 percent of college students in the U.S., or four million students, have dependent children. Among low-income and first-generation college students, more than a third are parents, and students of color are especially likely to be balancing parenting and college, with 37% of African American, 33% of Native American, and 25% of Latino students raising children. Being a parent substantially increases the likelihood of leaving college with no degree, with 53% of parents vs. 31% of nonparents having left with no degree after six years. Among low-income college students with children, parents are 25% less likely to obtain a degree than low-income adults without children. Given the economic challenges facing student parents, and the increasing market demand for skilled workers, including those with sector-specific credentials and bachelor’s degrees, aligning human services systems with postsecondary institutions is imperative. Often, however, local and state human services agencies – which provide supports ranging from food assistance to TANF to mental health counseling – are siloed from community colleges and workforce development boards. Using a two-generation lens that recognizes the need to streamline funding resources and align services more effectively, human services leaders and postsecondary and workforce training institutions have an opportunity to coordinate comprehensive services to student parents and their children. Nationally, practitioners such as Reggie Bicha and Dr. Autumn Green are piloting initiatives to integrate human services and postsecondary opportunities for low-income parents; researcher Dr. Christopher King is examining to short- and long-term outcomes and impacts from combining postsecondary education and workforce training for low-income parents with Head Start services for their children; and Dr. Janice Gruendel is exploring the policy implications for integrated child and parent systems, including workforce, early childhood, and human services systems. Marjorie Sims, managing director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security, will moderate this panel that will debate and respond to the following questions: what is the evidence for integrating human services and postsecondary and workforce opportunities for low-income parents will yield better results? Where are best practices emerging that can guide local, state, and national human services departments to more effectively collaborate with postsecondary and workforce institutions, particularly community colleges? How can these partnerships create greater systemic efficiencies, and how can those efficiencies be measured and shared?
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