Mapping Study: Two-Generation Ideas for Denver Neighborhoods

Helping Coloradans advance economically often means preparing them to better compete for and obtain good-paying jobs in our expanding economy. Ensuring they develop the skills, knowledge, and ability needed to perform the tasks required in these jobs is an important step in this process. As these jobs evolve over time, workers often need more advanced training or retraining to perform them.

By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. and three-quarters of the jobs in Colorado will require some level of education beyond high school. Many of the Coloradans needing additional training to qualify for these jobs are considered “non-traditional” students by historical standards. For example, many are first-time college students, young adults who have dropped out of high school, or students who are parents. These students face many challenges and need additional support to successfully complete their education.

Related: Guide to Economic Mobility in Colorado

One of the major needs student parents struggle with is child care and education for their children while they work and attend classes. Research shows intentionally providing educational services simultaneously to both parents and their children increases the likelihood of success for both.

This “two-generation” approach to providing educational services to the entire family shows promise as a way of increasing the academic and economic success of families. For example, the Community Action Program in Tulsa, Oklahoma finds integrating workforce training for parents with high-quality early childhood education for their children helped both advance academically and effectively moved the families out of poverty.

The Bell Policy Center’s mission is to provide policymakers, advocates, and the public with reliable resources and information to create a practical policy agenda that promotes economic mobility for every Coloradan. As part of that work, the Bell Policy Center partnered with Mile High United Way (MHUW) to identify the educational needs of working adults, parents, and youth in the United Neighborhoods Program serving Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea (GES), as well as families served by the MHUW Center for Family Opportunity located at College View Elementary School.

The Bell identified the educational and job training needs of the families in these areas and developed a list of the programs, policies, and resources currently available to provide families with these services. This mapping process focuses on identifying what currently exists, the students currently being served, and the major barriers and gaps in accessing the available services. We also examine the extent to which a two-generation approach is currently being used in providing educational services and the potential for expanding its use by more providers.

Related: Ideas That Work

We convened a group of local thought leaders in early childhood education, postsecondary education, workforce training, and philanthropy to help identify the resources currently available in these areas and to help focus our research on key topics.

Based on our research and analysis, we offer a series of recommendations to expand and better deliver the services available to families in these areas with the goal of helping the families advance economically. This report presents the results of our work on this project. You can read and download it by clicking here or on the PDF below.

Thank you to Mile High United Way for its help in completing this study.