Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Launches Pilot for Evanston Two-Generation Program

Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Launches Pilot for Evanston Two-Generation Program

CareerAdvance

Professor Lindsay Chase-Lansdale’s research has shown the effectiveness of two-generation programs that educate young children and their parents simultaneously. Now Chase-Lansdale brings the winning concept home as she launches a pilot two-generation program in Evanston.

The Evanston Two-Generation Initiative is a collaboration of the Aspen Institute, the Evanston Community Foundation and Northwestern University. Its goal is to promote parents’ career development, foster the economic stability of Evanston families and enhance children’s school and life success.

The pilot program, which will take place from February through May 2014, will consist of 15 parents with at least one child enrolled in a local early education program. While the children participate in a high-quality learning program, the parents will advance their own education and job training.

“We are offering the pilot so that we can learn from families themselves what they believe will be useful,” says Chase-Lansdale. The pilot will also help researchers to gain better understanding of which parents are best suited for the program and how they can best be served.

After the pilot, the initiative will proceed with several important components. These include career exploration, connection to employers, and structured training in a specific area. All parents will take part in activities including family goal setting, financial planning, educational assessment and career exploration. Mentorship and support will promote their success at work as well as at home, Chase-Lansdale notes.

Long-term, the initiative will be put to the test with concrete evaluation criteria. The researchers will determine the impact of training on parents’ careers and earnings, as well as the resulting outcomes for children. 

Along with the pilot program, this year's planning for the Evanston Two-Generation Initiative will include mapping of assets, research of employment opportunities, partnership building, research and fundraising. The director of the Evanston Two-Generation Initiative pilot program is Artishia Hunter, a former Illinois Early Childhood Education Fellow.

The Evanston initiative complements Chase-Lansdale’s prior work with two-generation programs in collaboration with the Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her research with CAP identified promising features of two-generation programs for families’ well-being. “There is an untapped resource in adding parents’ job training and education to early education centers. Such a program can capitalize on parents’ motivation on behalf of their children as well as their sense of belonging to a community,” Chase-Lansdale notes.  

Chase-Lansdale was recently named an Ascend Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a program designed to bring innovative leaders together to take a two-generation approach in policy, practice and research.

At Northwestern University, Chase-Lansdale is the Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at the School of Education and Social Policy and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research. She is an expert on the interface between research and social policy for children and families, a former American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Science Fellow, and the first developmental psychologist to be tenured in a public policy school in the United States. She specializes in multidisciplinary research on social issues and how they affect families and the development of children, youth, and adults.

 A policy research briefing on "Two Generations, One Future" featuring Lindsay Chase-Lansdale will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 16 at Evanston Township High School.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 2/25/14