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Showing posts from May, 2016

Supporting Veterans through Chicago's Faith Community

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by Megan Everett, Veterans Program DirectorWhere does one go in times of struggle? Every person’s response is different based on their current and past experiences. This holds especially true for veterans returning home from service. The success of a veteran’s transition from military to civilian life is dependent upon a number of factors including length of service, and experiences during one’s service, family structure, resources available in the communities’ veterans are returning to, and much more. The question remains – with a varied veteran population, how can we best support successful transitions? Last January, I wrote about the Foundation’s partnership with the Steans Center's Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships (UECP) at DePaul University to launch the Multi-Faith Veterans Support Project (MVP). For over a year, this initiative has been working to strengthen relationships between the Chicago faith-based communities and local social service organiz…

Downstate News Collaborative

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In an effort to ensure news stories throughout the state are being shared regionally and nationally, seven public media stations across the state joined forces to start a journalism collaboration Under the working title, Illinois Newsroom. Led by Illinois Public Media, the Illinois Newsroom will focus on covering education, public policy, and health and the environment. It will produce content for partner stations, in addition to, working with national syndicates, including PBS NewsHour and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The McCormick Foundation is funding the audience engagement and partnership strategy for this initiative. The strategy includes developing digital tools that connect users with content and one another. Additionally, hosting events, discussions and workshops for community members, civic leaders, students and journalists to establish meaningful relationship with downstate audiences. “The face of journalism is changing but its critical role in democracy…

Developing Strong Education Leaders in Illinois

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In 2010, Illinois became the first state to create a PreK-12 principal endorsement requiring preparation programs in early education, special education, and English Language Learning coursework and field experiences for aspiring school leaders. Those policy changes became law in 2010 and went into effect in 2014. With more than 860 school districts and 400 principal vacancies each year, these new requirements provide an opportunity to transform the principal pipeline in the state to ensure that school leaders demonstrate both managerial and instructional leadership skills. Research commissioned by the McCormick Foundation on the implementation of the new requirements has identified some early concerns from principal preparation programs. One concern is that the more rigorous program requirements will lead to a decrease in the supply of principals in the state thereby negatively affecting districts and schools. While there is no data confirming this, it's a potential issue that may…

Reducing Violence and Creating Opportunities through Employment

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by Carrie Thomas, Executive Director, Chicago Jobs CouncilUnemployment for young black Chicagoans is staggering, damaging, and has solutions. Young adults 20-24 year olds in Chicago are more likely to be out of work and school than their peers in other large US cities, or the nation as a whole. (Graphic: Chicago Tribune)
The data comes from a report recently released by the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Great Cities Institute that found low-income black teens in the city are employed at an abysmal rate of 9 percent. It also revealed that the highest concentration of youth unemployment were in low-income and minority neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago. Communities where resources are scarce.These statistics are bleak but there are solutions.One being to increase employment opportunities and resources in low-income communities. Research from the University of Chicago found that an 8-week, minimum wage, part-time job reduced violence by 43 percent for 16 months afte…