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The J-PAL research center at MIT, founded by 2019 Nobel Prize winners, will support CWEE and three other winners to test promising models to help workers navigate the shifting labor market
The Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) will have a rare opportunity to collaborate with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct a randomized evaluation of CWEE’s strategies to increase opportunity and help low-income Denver area workers navigate the changing labor market.
CWEE’s program is one of just four initiatives nationwide that were selected for evaluation by J-PAL at MIT, as part of J-PAL North America’s inaugural Work of the Future Innovation Competition.
Earlier this month, co-founders of J-PAL, MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their work developing more effective strategies to combat poverty across the globe.
In addition to CWEE, the City of Los Angeles, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and Checkr, a background check company that uses artificial intelligence to make hiring more inclusive, were selected as J-PAL North America partners to help identify and scale programs that improve outcomes for all workers.
As a partner, CWEE will receive technical assistance, funding and support from researchers to design and implement a randomized evaluation of CWEE’s comprehensive workforce development programming. For over 37 years CWEE has provided intensive case management and career readiness to low-income parents in the Denver Metro area.
CWEE equips participants for career paths through training and connections to quality employment that offer a living wage, benefits and opportunities for advancement. The J-PAL study will discern what precisely makes the CWEE program effective with the goal of enabling replication of effective strategies.
“Technology and automation are transforming our labor market and the future of our economy, and too often lower-wage workers are left behind,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “This is an opportunity – not just for CWEE, but for our entire state – to learn about policies and practices that we can scale across Colorado and leverage toward a shared economic prosperity for all workers.”
While many strategies may hold promise when it comes to supporting lower-wage workers to have long and durable careers, most ideas are still unproven. That means policymakers, leaders and social service providers don’t have the evidence they need to make decisions about how to spend public resources and direct training and support services.
“CWEE has been supporting low-income families in the Denver area for almost four decades, so it feels incumbent on us to better understand specifically how we are contributing to economic mobility,” said Katy Hamilton, CEO. “It’s incredibly exciting and potentially transformative for a nonprofit of CWEE’s size to have access to the world’s foremost thinkers on topics related to the future of work, social programs and poverty reduction.”
Click for information about the Future of Work Competition and the J-PAL North America research center at MIT.
About CWEE: CWEE provides low-income parents with complete career readiness and retention skills and has been the leading workforce development and anti-poverty agency in Colorado for 37 years. CWEE fosters personal and professional transformation for families affected by multigenerational poverty through confidence building, customized skills training, career advancement and retention services. CWEE has served more than 15,000 families since its inception. The majority of CWEE program participants receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and are referred to CWEE by Denver and Arapahoe counties. www.CWEE.org
About J-PAL North America: J-PAL North America, based at MIT, leads J-PAL’s work in the North America region. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. J-PAL’s work spans health care, housing, criminal justice, education, and economic mobility. We leverage research by affiliated professors from universities across the continent and a full-time staff of researchers, policy experts, and administrative professionals to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why. www.PovertyActionLab.org/NA
"CWEE has helped me build my self-esteem. I feel worthy and inspired to do something positive everyday. Because of my wonderful experience at CWEE, I’m able to share it with others."
– Shawan, Alumni Award Winner 1998 & former CWEE staff member for 13 years
"I sit on many boards and councils but the endeavor that I am most passionate about is sitting on the Board of Directors for the Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE). CWEE helps individuals receiving TANF get the education and skills necessary to obtain viable employment putting them in a position to eventually transition off of public assistance and hopefully out of poverty."
– Taryn Lewis,
Board of Directors
"CWEE has given me the confidence I need and brought me some hope through this difficult time in my life. I am really grateful to be here."
– Michelle, CWEE Participant
CWEE has been a wonderful and positive experience for me. I’ve updated my skills and am preparing to re-enter the workforce. It has revived my self-worth.
– Rochelle, CWEE Participant
"One of the highlights of my year is taking pictures of the women and men of CWEE. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the graduates of this program, and especially the Alumni Award Winners."
– Whitney Yeager,
Whitney Yeager Photography
"Presenting at CWEE is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. The participants are fun, interactive and willing to learn."
– Linda Hicks, Premier Members
Following a nationwide search, the Center for Work Education and Employment (CWEE) is happy to announce that we have hired a new CEO.
Katy Hamilton, an experienced national leader in workforce development and anti-poverty strategies, will join CWEE as CEO in early November.
Katy comes to CWEE from the Markle Foundation in New York, which serves as a national thought leader in developing solutions to address the ways automation and technology are shaping America's labor market, particularly for under-employed and low-income populations.
Click here to read more.
CWEE’s CEO, Laurie Harvey, recently attended the National Skills Coalition Summit in Washington DC. More than 270 workforce advocates, employers, and community college leaders from 29 states participated. Laurie spent a day “up on the Hill” visiting Senators Bennet and Gardner as well as six of our Congressional offices. Our Colorado attendees included Frank Waterous of The Bell Policy Center, Paula Schriefer of Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning and Chaer Robert of Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
Laurie and her team advocated for seven different policies from the Skills Coalition’s legislative agenda- including expanding access to Pell grants, supporting adult education funding, fully funding the new WIOA workforce legislation, as well as reauthorizing TANF legislation. The workforce and education policies discussed will all improve the lives of low income Coloradans and the participants that CWEE serves.
Nearly 30% of CWEE’s participants are homeless and in need of basic essentials. Dozens of generous organizations and individuals have contributed to building these packs that are now offered to our participants. These packs include basic essentials like shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream and razors. We will also be providing baby packs to our participants who’ve recently welcomed a new addition to their family! Our baby packs include essentials like baby wash, shampoo, lotion and diaper cream. If you're interested in hosting a hygiene drive, or donating unused hygiene or baby products, please contact Emma Feitelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-892-8444 ext. 344
1175 Osage Street
Denver, CO 80204