Tag: esl

Two-Gen Programs Aim to Break Cycle of Poverty

At United Way for Greater Austin, we focus on wrapping our arms around entire families and fighting the root causes of poverty. A family living in poverty rarely struggles with only one factor causing their situation, and therefore cannot rise out of poverty by only receiving one type of aid or only one person in the family receiving help. As an example, let’s say Diane is a single mom of three children. Diane is working fulltime making minimum wage during the day and also has a side job at night to make extra money. She must pay for childcare for her youngest child during the weekdays, and is having trouble making ends meet to pay the rent, put food on the table and clothing on her children’s backs. She has no opportunity for promotion at work as she only speaks Spanish and only has her GED. As a result, she is also struggling with depression and feels she has no support. Her oldest child watches the other two after school, and he is struggling with grades and never has time or help with his homework because of this. If Diane receives one service, such as food stamps, this will help her put food on the table—but the fact remains that the family is still unable to be lifted out of poverty due to the variety of other factors affecting them. This is where two-generation, or “two-gen,” programs come into play. Many programs focus solely on low-income children or low-income adults, […]

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Two-Generation Pilot Project Shows ESL As Biggest Need

Ascend is a policy program of The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization that aims to pass on economic security and educational success from one generation to another. They emphasize a two-generation approach in every thing they do, meaning that they want to create opportunities for both the parent and child living in disadvantaged situations. UWATX received a grant from The Aspen Institute Ascend Fund in order to develop and test a two-gen pilot project of our own. United Way for Greater Austin engaged two researchers from the University of Texas’s Ray Marshall Center to measure impact through an evaluation that used multiple methodologies, including participant focus groups, individual interviews, surveys and pre- and post-skill tests. At the onset of the pilot, UWATX met with community partners to discuss project strategies to test an adult education care model for parents with children already engaged in high-quality early education. With Austin Independent School District (AISD) and Uphaus Early Childhood Center, UWATX developed an outreach plan to reach potential participants. After several weeks of dedicated outreach, UWATX reached over 100 parents and learned some valuable lessons. Over half of respondents cited English as their primary need and interest. Those who were interested, qualified and eligible for job training had diverse interests, making it difficult to form a cohort. At the same time, UWATX learned most of the job training families had reliable transportation and could access the existing training centers, while the Spanish-speaking families struggled with isolation. All of this […]

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