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The U.S. Department of Education’s Place Based Initiative Pilot Team, Office of Innovation and Improvement( OII)  and Performance Partnership Pilot Team, Office Career Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) are excited to share a recently released resource titled Family and School Partnership, that is focused on building and improving these valuable relationships.  Educators are increasingly aware that schools alone cannot raise student achievement and research has demonstrated that family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of school success. Many schools and districts are pursuing strategies to deepen their relationships with families and communities to improve student outcomes. Simply put, students are more successful in school and life when their families are engaged in their education. This document highlights the importance of family engagement and family-school partnerships.   It provides schools and their partners with a jumping off point with an overview of key research, best practices, and funding sources, as well as profiles of how two communities are working to improve family engagement.  These efforts incorporate a variety of strategies for schools to employ to welcome and work with families, and for educators and families to use to collaborate effectively. The document also identifies resources to inform and support local action on building effective family-school partnerships.

  1. Regions win through comprehensive workforce development strategy

With job growth for middle-skill level jobs slowing, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Austin-based nonprofit Center for Public Policy Priorities studied the nation’s best practices and surveyed regional workforce boards in Texas to determine how communities there are addressing the challenge. Their findings are detailed in the report, Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas, released last month. For a region to succeed in their workforce development efforts, the study states three tasks must be accomplished: identify growth through an industry cluster analysis, convene a sector partnership, and create and strengthen career pathways.

  1. Educational Attainment Rates Remain Lower for Rural Minorities
    Chart showing educational attainment by race/ethnicity for rural adults 25 years of age and older, using 2015 American Community Survey data.
    Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
    Date: 01/2017
  1. Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas: A Report From the Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs
    Provides an overview of housing conditions and needs among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) households in tribal areas. Includes AI/AN demographic, social, and economic characteristics. Also discusses housing produced by tribes using HUD housing funds available through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996.
    Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  1. Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2013-2014: A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farmworkers
    Reports on demographic and employment characteristics of hired agricultural workers in the United States. Includes data on health insurance and healthcare access, as well as information on social determinants of health such as income, education level, language skills, and housing. Based on data collected from face-to-face interviews with 4,235 crop farmworkers conducted between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2014.
    Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Labor
    Date: 12/2016
  1. Pine Ridge Agriculture Economy (PRAE)
    Describes the initiative on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to enhance the economy of the reservation through job creation. Initiative was designed to help families achieve an acceptable standard of living while utilizing technology and effective value-added techniques, to incorporate sustainable and natural resource conservation, attract individuals to agriculture, and support self-sufficiency, while also creating a sustainable and healthy food supply for the community.
    Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Date: 01/2017
  1. Veterans in Rural America: 2011-2015
    Reports detailed demographic, social, and economic characteristics of rural veterans, based primarily on 2011–2015 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates. Includes comparisons of rural veterans to both urban veterans and rural nonveterans. Topics addressed include health insurance coverage, disability status and service-connected disability, and use of VA healthcare.
    Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
    Date: 01/2017
  1. Rural counties’ economies depend on different industries

Local economies and employment levels are more sensitive to economic trends that have a pronounced effect on their leading industries. For example, trends in agricultural prices have a disproportionate impact in farming-dependent counties, which accounted for nearly 20 percent of all rural counties and 6 percent of the rural population in 2015. The boom in U.S. oil and natural gas production increased employment in many mining-dependent rural counties; more recently, lower oil and gas prices have led to reduced oil exploration and economic activity in these counties. Meanwhile, the decline in manufacturing employment has particularly affected manufacturing-dependent counties, which accounted for about 18 percent of rural counties and 23 percent of the rural population.

  1. Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age

A new resource guide for communities on high-speed internet access and digital inclusion has been released by the National Resource Network (NRN), which provides technical assistance as part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative. NRN partner organization ICMA and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) led a group of six U.S. cities (Chattanooga, Tennessee; Gonzales, California; Greensboro, North Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; Springfield, Missouri; and Youngstown, Ohio) in a first-of-its-kind partnership to develop the resource guide, Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age. Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age is designed to support U.S. communities of all sizes and geographies in advancing their goals for high-speed Internet access and digital inclusion. Representatives of the six cities communicated regularly about the broadband Internet access and digital literacy initiatives underway in their communities, highlighting major obstacles encountered and key lessons learned. By sharing information on programs, practices, challenges, and opportunities from their own communities, these six cities were


  1. Coursera launches MOOCs for governments, nonprofits targeting workforce-development

Online-education provider Coursera has announced a new program that allows governments and nonprofits focused on workforce development to curate massive open online course (MOOCs) that align with labor market needs, and then make these courses instantly available to their constituents. Initial partners of Coursera for Governments & Nonprofits include the United States and six other nations:  Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Singapore.

  1. 2.HUD Launches New Community Investment Tool

HUD has launched the Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART), which is an online tool that generates a snapshot of HUD’s investments at the community level. The tool provides an interactive mapping interface that allows users to explore HUD investments within their community and see property- and grant-level detail at a variety of geographies.

  1. Department of Education announced FY2017 TA Opportunities

In November, the Department of Education’s Place Based Office held a session just for Promise Zones at the Promise Neighborhoods Convening. After conducting individual interviews with Promise Zone education partners on their priorities and challenges, ED launched a TA package via webinar in early December that will include affinity and peer cohorts on two-generation strategies, trauma informed care and community schools (the PowerPoint slides and on-pager are attached). In March 2017, ED plans to host a convening in Baltimore for the Peer Action and Learning Network- Community Schools, and a collective impact convening in June in Washington, DC.

  1. Children’s Defense Fund/AASA Toolkit Webinar

The Children’s Defense Fund and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, hosted a webinar on November 30th to provide valuable information on how to support outreach and enroll uninsured students in your community. The webinar referenced the Healthy Students Promising Futures Learning Collaborative, a federal publication focused on state and local action steps and practices to improve school-based health. The recorded webinar can be found here.

  1. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Webinars

AMS will host a webinar for potential FMPP and LFPP grant applicants on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and a teleconference for potential FSMIP grant applicants on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  For more information about FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP, visit: www.ams.usda.gov/AMSgrants.  The website also contains a link to a grants decision tree, "What AMS Grant is Right for ME?” to help applicants determine which AMS grant fits their project best. AMS will also host a webinar to introduce potential applicants to Grants.gov on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Applicants are urged to start the Grants.gov registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadline and encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the posted due date.  Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application, read more on AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy



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