Evanston nonprofit launches two-generation initiative using Northwestern research

Ciara McCarthy, City Editor

A local nonprofit is launching a two-generation educational initiative using data from Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

The Evanston Community Foundation pilot program will encourage financial independence for local low-income families through an inclusive curriculum that targets both parents and their children.

Two-generation programs “provide workforce development and skills training to parents while their children are engaged in quality early-childhood education programs,” according to an Evanston Township High School news release.

Similar initiatives have been gaining traction across the country as anti-poverty strategies. NU’s associate provost for faculty P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and IPR research associate Teresa Eckrich Sommer have been conducting national research on the effectiveness of such strategies, and the data is being used to design and create the foundation’s program. Chase-Lansdale and Sommer will also work to evaluate Evanston’s program after its implementation.

Chase-Lansdale, a SESP professor, and her research group are “at the forefront” of two-generation research, according to IPR’s website.

The 13-week pilot program is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute, in addition to support from other local nonprofits and businesses.

“Far too often families are so busy moving through life doing their best to meet their family’s needs with little time to intentionally plan their future,” said Artishia Hunter, the program’s director, in a news release. “The Evanston Two-Generation pilot is designed to provide a setting for parents to explore their education and career options, and create a plan that outlines goals for becoming financially self-sufficient.” 

Northwestern researchers will be presenting data on two-generation initiatives and discussing Evanston’s pilot program at ETHS in April.

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