Ongoing Research



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CareerAdvance®

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The Community Action Project of Tulsa County, OK (CAP Tulsa) is an antipoverty agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that embraces a two-generation approach for families, offering Head Start services for young children and stackable career training for their parents. CareerAdvance® is a work-readiness development program designed for low-income parents of young children enrolled in CAP’s early childhood education programs. The two-generation approach of CareerAdvance® is one of the only sectoral workforce development programs with the explicit goal of improving educational outcomes simultaneously for parents and children. CareerAdvance® includes pathways for parents at all education levels, including skill ready, school ready, college-bound and career-bound. The program supports parents with intensive and high-quality social and financial supports. These include career coaching, family support, small peer cohorts, tuition coverage for college coursework, and incentives for school attendance and performance. 

CAP Family Advancement Study

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The CAP Family Advancement Study (CAP FAST) is a randomized control trial of CareerAdvance®. The goal of this program is to promote the economic self-sufficiency and well-being of low-income families across generations. In CAP FAST, the researchers examine both the implementation and the effectiveness of CareerAdvance®. In the implementation study, they focus on the fidelity of the model and the strengths and challenges of the two-generation program. In the effectiveness study, they examine the impact of CareerAdvance® on parent and child outcomes. Download publications, reports and media coverage here.

Collaborators & Funders: This project is in collaboration with Community Action Project of Tulsa, OK, (CAP Tulsa). This multiyear evaluation is funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). We also partner closely with the Child and Adolescent Development Lab at OSU-Tulsa.

The research team includes:

CAP Family Life Study 

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The CAP Family Life Study (CAP FLS) is a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods, multi-level study of CareerAdvance® Healthcare (Career-Bound pathway), in which the research team examines the short-term and longer-term effects of the program on family, parent, and child outcomes. CAP FLS uses a rich array of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the influence of CareerAdvance® Healthcare on longer-term parent outcomes (educational attainment, career paths, earnings and financial stability), as well as child outcomes (academic success, motivation and engagement in school) and why certain CareerAdvance® Healthcare pathways might produce better outcomes for some subgroups of low-income families and not others. Download publicationsreports and media coverage here.

Collaborators & Funders: This project is in collaboration with Community Action Project of Tulsa, OK. (CAP Tulsa). This evaluation is funded by the Health Profession Opportunities Grant (HPOG), the Health Profession Opportunities Grant – University Partners (HPOG-UP), W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Foundation for Child DevelopmentWe also partner closely with the Child and Adolescent Development Lab at OSU-Tulsa.

The research team includes:

Child and Family Outcomes Study of CAP Tulsa's CareerAdvance® Program

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The Northwestern University Two-Generation Child and Family Outcomes Study (NU2Gen) examines the effects of CareerAdvance® on parent, child, and family outcomes (e.g., child academic achievement and behavior, parenting, and parent psychological well-being). In collaboration with CAP Tulsa, the researchers are comparing the effectiveness of the timing of investments in parent human capital on parents of younger (i.e., preschool-aged) versus older (i.e., elementary school-aged) children. The overall motivation for the proposed new evaluation is to extend the population of parents and children under study and to expand the generalizability of study findings, allowing for comparisons among a larger parent population.

In 2015, CAP Tulsa was awarded a Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG II) and is conducting a randomized control trial of CareerAdvance®’s impact on 1,000 parents in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. With a subcontract through CAP Tulsa, as part of the HPOG II grant, the NU2Gen supplementary study began with both brief parent surveys and parent- and child-level administrative data from CAP Tulsa and local public school districts in Tulsa County, OK.

In September 2016, the Northwestern research team was awarded the HPOG II University Partnership grant. The expanded NU2Gen study will also employ parent surveys at two additional time points as well as in-depth measurements of a subsample of families in three domains: parents' coping, balance, and stress; changes in academic and career identities; and the home language environment. 

Collaborators & Funders: The project is in collaboration with CAP Tulsa, and the study is funded by the Administration for Children and Families.

The research team includes:

Mobilizing Social Networks in Early Childhood Education Centers 

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Researchers and program experts partnered to develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of an intervention that encourages parents to mobilize their social networks in ways that might promote increased child attendance in early childhood education centers. The present project examines a low-cost mechanism to increase average daily attendance of children who attend Acelero Learning centers which, if successful,should result in increased social ties among parents and potentially higher academic and social gains for children. Download publicationsreports and media coverage here

Collaborators & Funders: The project is in collaboration with Acelero Learning Head Start centers, and the study is funded by Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

The research team includes:

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Evanston Two-Generation Initiative

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The Evanston Two-Generation Initiative aims to increase the educational success of low-income parents and their young children simultaneously in Evanston, Illinois.  The program also aspires to offer local employers a skilled workforce for in-demand career fields. Parents with children enrolled in quality early learning programs in Evanston participate in a weekly Career Exploration curriculum in small cohorts of peers. The Career Exploration curriculum includes goal-setting, career- and financial-skill building, and monthly coaching sessions. Career Coach and Evanston Two-Generation Director Artishia Hunter guides participants with the support of outside experts in financial goal-setting and planning (Evanston YWCA) and postsecondary education, training, and financing (Oakton Community College, National Able Network, and Women Employed). The curriculum includes site visits and tours of local businesses to explore career opportunities in local employment sectors (IRMCO Manufacturing Company and Mather LifeWays, a residential senior living community). The Evanston Public Library and the Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center (District 65) has generously provided space for parent programming. Northwestern University is currently leading an implementation study of the Evanston Two-Generation Initiative, which includes surveys of parents and a focus group with each participating cohort. Download publicationsreports and media coverage here

Collaborators & Funders: This project is in collaboration with the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), who include its President Sara Schastok, Vice President for Programs Marybeth Schroeder, and Artishia Hunter. This project is funded by local philanthropy and a seed grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

The research team includes:

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