Financial Stress a Priority in Olmsted County


The Olmsted County Community Health Improvement Plan for 2021-2023 has identified their top three community health priorities: mental health, financial stress, and substance use.   Financial stress occurs when the household income is less than expenses, creating an inability to meet basic financial commitments and needs. Basic financial commitments and needs include; rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, medical care and (hopefully) insurance, transportation, food, child care, and things critical to supporting the home environment. In additions, financial stress is considered a contributor to mental health issues. This plan also states that 33% of Olmsted County adults report being financially stressed. The biggest financial stressors are credit cards, medical bills, and housing costs (including rent, mortgage, and utilities).    Let’s look at the numbers and resources  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2021 poverty guideline for a family of four is an income of $26,500 (for each [...]

Financial Stress a Priority in Olmsted County2021-04-28T14:16:21+00:00

Study Shines Light on Head Start Value


An interesting study took place starting in 2011 through 2021 with the goal of learning about the early public school experiences of children who had participated in Head Start. Nineteen to twenty-two (depending on the year) Minnesota Head Start programs across the state participated and collected data on their four year old children over this time period. The approach was to match the Head Start children’s data with their K-5 grade-level student data. The K-5 data was from the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS). MARSS (an individual student record system) is the Minnesota Department of Education's primary reporting system for student data. Please, note tribal and migrant programs chose to not participate in this study.  Study results  The study results were characterized as follows:  Outcomes related to the years a child participated in Head Start Outcomes related to a child’s attendance [...]

Study Shines Light on Head Start Value2021-04-15T12:45:30+00:00

Additional Causes of Learning Loss in the 2020-2021 School Year


To learn more about findings covered in this post read the report issued by Education Minnesota's Educator Policy Innovation Center (EPIC). Their advocacy work centers on equitable school funding, full-service community schools, universal pre-k, teacher recruitment and retention, student discipline, teacher training, and early childhood education. The epic report Disrupted Learning, COVID-19, and Public Education in Minnesota is available at web address: EPIC-Disrupted-Learning-Report.pdf (    COVID-19 is not the only traumatic event causing learning loss in the 2020-2021 school year. There are additional stressors hindering many student’s education. The stressors include repeated exposure to the murder of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) at the hands of police, the current political turmoil, job loss, and the impact of natural disasters on our nation.  Observed effects of COVID-19 and these collective traumas   COVID-19 and these traumas have [...]

Additional Causes of Learning Loss in the 2020-2021 School Year2021-03-31T19:52:33+00:00

Employment Numbers Improving for Some


According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% in January, down from 4.7% in December. The number of unemployed fell by 7,652 and the number of employed fell by 14,851 which means on the whole, Minnesota’s labor force shrank by 22,503 on a seasonally adjusted basis.  There are two important things to consider:   When the number of employed and unemployed are both falling at the same time, it can be due to an increase in the number of discouraged workers. That means there are positions open and hiring, but workers are either not finding those job postings or there is a [...]

Employment Numbers Improving for Some2021-03-31T19:14:56+00:00

Strengths-Based Communities


There are many tools out there for team development. One of the most effective and accessible tools is Clifton Strengths. Not only is it validated in numerous countries and languages, it is also asset based.   In our American culture, we spend a lot of time discussing weaknesses and deficits. However, Clifton Strengths gives the top 5 results of our 34 strengths. When we put more effort toward our strengths, we will naturally yield more results than trying to pour into the bottom tier of strengths and end up feeling exhausted and demotivated.   Cradle 2 Career values community. We focus on what connects us [...]

Strengths-Based Communities2021-03-31T19:24:32+00:00

Higher Ed Vital to Earning Potential


Countless studies show that young adults who pursue and attain a college degree or other technical/professional training shortly after high school increase their earning potential in the early years of their careers. This reality effectively increases their lifetime earning potential. The pandemic is also having an impact on employment opportunities for low and unskilled labor. The federal government has stated that young workers among others are facing a tough job market potentially compromising their futures.    Consider the statistics  The following statistics looked at students who graduated from Rochester Public School District (RPSD) in the 2013-2014 academic year. We identified students who have been awarded an academic certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s [...]

Higher Ed Vital to Earning Potential2021-03-31T19:26:08+00:00

We Have Data on Kindergarten Readiness!


We Have Data on Kindergarten Readiness! March 8, 2021 We are excited to report that five network partners contributed data on 383 pre-kindergarten children. This data enables us to generate our first ever baseline for kindergarten readiness. Having this data means network members can develop a shared perspective on what it means to be kindergarten ready and informs the kindergarten readiness of the children they serve.  Two years ago our Kindergarten Readiness Network convened and quickly realized they lacked a shared/common definition of what kindergarten readiness is and how to measure the success of their efforts. In addition, at a community level, these network partners had no way to communicate how well they were preparing children for their entry into the school environment.  Subsequent to this realization, Cradle 2 Career (C2C) and network partners worked hard to develop a shared definition of kindergarten readiness and a consistent and common way to measure it.  Kindergarten readiness is a [...]

We Have Data on Kindergarten Readiness!2021-03-10T20:52:13+00:00

The Importance of a Living Wage


The Importance of a Living Wage February 18, 2021 Currently, there is a lot of talk in the nation about the need to increase the minimum wage in order get more people to a living wage. Consider the statistic that 40% of students who graduate from Rochester Public Schools work in Southeast Minnesota. And of those graduates approximately 55% earn a living wage. That’s right just over half.  According to the Investopedia article Living Wage by Julia Kagan “A living wage refers to a theoretical income level that allows an individual or family to afford adequate shelter, food, and other basic necessities. The goal of a living wage is to allow employees to earn [...]

The Importance of a Living Wage2021-03-10T20:42:28+00:00

Over Half Of 3 Year Olds Are Not Getting Early Childhood Screening


Over Half Of 3 Year Olds Are Not Getting Early Childhood Screening December 15, 2020 How do you know when a child is ready for school? Early childhood screening can help ensure a child is adequately prepared for kindergarten. The screening is available to children starting at age 3. By performing the testing at this age, age-appropriate resources can be made available to children needing support and readiness training. Surprisingly, Cradle 2 Career (C2C) has found that 57% of Rochester area children at age 3 are not participating in early childhood screening. This lack of screening leads to [...]

Over Half Of 3 Year Olds Are Not Getting Early Childhood Screening2021-03-10T21:01:55+00:00

A Targeted Solution Helps Drive Our Impact


A Targeted Solution Helps Drive Our Impact November 24, 2020 United Way, Cradle to Career (C2C) and Rochester Public Schools (RPS) are continuously searching for ways to increase their positive impact on children. How does this team really know that they are having the desired impact? Reviewing results allows them to better manage data, track participation, and document progress across programs, services, and locations. With the addition of Cityspan the team is confident they can better track, analyze, and ultimately improve their impact. Cityspan is data management system for tracking social service programs, funding, and outcomes. It can help ensure [...]

A Targeted Solution Helps Drive Our Impact2021-03-10T21:03:54+00:00
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