Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Wins New $2 Million Grant for Two-Generation Study

Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Wins New $2 Million Grant for Two-Generation Study

Lindsday Chase-Lansdale

Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and her fellow researchers received a new $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to research an education program that seeks to improve outcomes for two generations. The program combines early learning for preschoolers and workforce training for their low-income parents.

“CareerAdvance®: A Dual-Generation Program's Effects on Families and Children” conducts a four-year, mixed-methods study on CareerAdvance — a new workforce development program for low-income parents of young children enrolled in early childhood education programs. Parents are trained for jobs in the healthcare field, and children are enrolled in early childhood programs run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP).

To date, the dual-generation approach of CareerAdvance® is the only workforce development program with the goal of improving outcomes for both parents and children at the same time. 

Previously, Health and Human Services had awarded a research grant for a five-year scale-up of CareerAdvance®, plus a small evaluation study. The current project expands for Chase-Lansdale and her collaborators to conduct a four-year mixed-methods study that will examine the following:

  • short-term and longer-term family, parent, and child outcomes as influenced by participation in CareerAdvance®
  • how variation in program participation is linked to different patterns of educational attainment, employment, and family health and well-being.

Parent surveys and child assessments of 420 CareerAdvance® participants and a matched-comparison group will examine the influence of CareerAdvance® on longer-term parent outcomes (educational attainment, career paths, earnings and financial stability), as well as child outcomes (academic success, motivation and engagement in school). Interviews and focus groups will provide insight into why certain CareerAdvance® pathways may produce better outcomes for certain subgroups of low-income families.

The research-practice partnership for this study involves the Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa County and researchers from Northwestern University, University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University and Columbia University.

“We believe that our multidisciplinary research partnership with CAP will produce findings that will inform and improve CareerAdvance®, the nascent field of dual-generation education and training programs, as well as broader workforce program design and policy,” says Chase-Lansdale.

Preliminary findings from focus groups with CareerAdvance participants show that while children are enrolled in early education and elementary school, parents role model for their children by returning to school and engaging in school-related activities. “My kids will see that it’s never too late to better your education. My kids will see that I’m studying and that hopefully-monkey see, monkey do!” says one participant.

Because low-income parents face strong barriers to advancing their educational and skill levels, a key element of CareerAdvance® is to provide a relatively short-term but intensive education and training program with multiple supportive services to produce long-term labor market and developmental gains for parents and children. Supportive components include career coaches, financial incentives and peer group meetings to prepare parents for high-demand jobs in healthcare.

The long-term goal of this action-research collaboration between researchers and program innovators is to break the cycle of poverty among low-income families in Tulsa, and to possibly serve as a model for other cities.

Chase-Lansdale’s Health and Human Services grant is a University Partnership Research Grant for the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program from the Administration for Children and Families. These grants focus on research questions related to career track education and training programs in the health professions and related labor market issues.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 1/10/12