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									      Assisting Newcomers through Employment and
                    Support Services:
       An Evaluation of the New Americans Centers
                  Demonstration Project
                  in Arkansas and Iowa

                                 Robin Koralek
                      The California Symposium on Poverty
                                October 15, 2009

The Urban Institute
                      Overview of Presentation

     •     Demonstration overview
     •     Design of the New Americans Centers
     •     Services provided
     •     Sustainability
     •     Lessons learned

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                      Demonstration Overview

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                      New Americans Centers
                      Demonstration Project
  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor
    Employment and Training Administration

  • Three-year grants ($850,000) to develop
    NACs in Arkansas and Iowa

  • Located within One-Stop Career Centers in
    high-immigrant population areas
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                      Purpose of Grants
• Promote stability and rapid employment with living
• Speed the transition of new immigrants into their
• Assist employers as they adjust to a changing
• Enhance economic development opportunities in
  local communities

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                      Immigration Context
• Immigrants make up a large share of all U.S.
        – 15 percent of all U.S. workers (2005)
        – 21 percent of workers earning below twice the minimum
        – 45 percent of workers with less than a H.S. education

• Great variation in educational attainment and
  ability to speak English
        – Limited English skills are single factor associated with low
          wages and poverty among immigrants

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    Immigration Context (Cont’d.)
• Rapid growth in immigration between 1990
  and 2000
        – 196 percent increase in Arkansas
        – 110 percent increase in Iowa
• States struggle with rapid flow of new
        – Integration into community
        – Language barriers
        – Increased dependence on immigrant workers

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                      Design of the NACs

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                      Project Goals
• Help “newcomers” establish themselves in the

• Enhance local workforce and further local
  economic development

• Raise awareness of diversity issues

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              Sponsoring Organizations —
                                                  Fiscal and            Local program
                  Site         Oversight      programmatic agent          operation
                         Department of
                                              Little Rock Workforce Latin Community
      Little Rock        Workforce Services
                                              Investment Board      Organization (LCO)
                                              West Central           West Central
                                              Arkansas Planning      Arkansas Career
      Malvern            DWS
                                              and Development        Development Center
                                              District, (WCAPDD)     System (WCACDCS)
                                                                     Northwest Arkansas
                                              Northwest Arkansas
      Rogers             DWS                                         Development
                                              Development District
                                              West Central           West Central
                                              Arkansas Planning      Arkansas Career
      Russellville       DWS
                                              and Development        Development Center
                                              District, (WCAPDD)     System (WCACDCS)

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    Sponsoring Organizations — Iowa

                                             Fiscal and   Local program
                                           programmatic     operation
                      Site     Oversight       agent
              Council Bluffs

              Des Moines

                                 Iowa Workforce Development (IWD)

              Mount Pleasant

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           Planning & Implementation
• Community meetings to garner support
  and gauge need
        – Local government officials, police and fire departments,
          local WIBs, service providers, employers, and business
• Advisory committees
• Staff
        – Bilingual
        – Established in the community
        – Skilled in networking with service providers and
          community organizations
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                Planning & Implementation

   • Establishment of community trust and
   • Identify existing services
   • Outreach to participants via “word of

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                      Key Partners
• Development of partnerships with local
  leaders and other service providers
        – Advisory committees
        – Networks of local service providers and
          businesses (One-Stop Career Center programs,
          health care, adult education, banks, colleges,
          schools, employers, local government agencies,

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   • Typically, two full-time bilingual staff per site

   • Coordinators
      – Responsible for community outreach, establishing
        networks, partnerships with other service providers,
        project sustainability

   • Intake Specialists
      – Support coordinators in outreach, work more directly
        with participants, provide services, make referrals,
        translation and interpretation services

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                      Staff Responsibilities
      •     Intake
      •     Resource and referral
      •     Translation and interpretation
      •     Job search
      •     Do not carry caseloads

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                      Services Provided

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                      Program Enrollment
 • Arkansas — 4,883 participants across four sites
    – Nearly two-thirds are men
    – Most are Hispanic
 • Iowa — 2,775 participants across three sites
    – Over half are women
    – Hispanic (40%), white, non-Hispanic (20%)
 • Most are recent immigrants

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                          Service Delivery
        1. Participants
                •     Increasing income
                •     Achieving self-sufficiency
                •     Gaining English proficiency
                •     Building awareness of civic laws and institutions
                •     Promoting civic participation
                •     Accessing needed services

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                      Service Delivery (Cont’d.)
       2. Employers
               •      Meeting staffing needs
               •      Adapting to increasingly diverse workforce

       3. Community
               •      Educating on diversity issues
               •      Conducting general outreach

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             Service Delivery Approach
     • Staff in each site given flexibility to design program
       to meet local needs

     • No eligibility requirements

     • No formal assessment process

     • Services and referrals based on individual need

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                      Services to Participants
• Supportive services (child care, clothing, food housing,
  health care, other basic needs)

• Translation and interpretation services

• Employment assistance (job search, resumes,
  applications, interviewing)

• Civics education (education, immigration, law
  enforcement, cultural issues, taxes, local services)

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Services to Participants (Cont’d.)
       • ESL classes

       • Other education and training

       • Legal and civil rights assistance

       • Computer and internet access and other

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Services Provided to Participants


                                       General Information

                                      Computer Access

                                             Financial                    Supportive Services

                      Immigration Services


                           Legal Issues

                                                                                  Employment Services
                                Other Classes
                                                                          Civics Education Classes
                                                   ESL/Language Classes

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Services Provided to Participants

                                                          Other      Supportive Services

                              General Information

                          Computer Access

                                                                                     Employment Services
                  Immigration Services
                           Legal Issues
                                          Other Classes            Civics Education Classes

                                                     ESL/Language Classes

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                      Employer Services
• Resource to area employers and businesses

• Assistance with staffing needs (referrals to
  language classes, targeted training, translation
  and interpretation, diversity training,
  immigration issues, etc.)

• Local welding training program (AR)

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                      Community Services
• Local community events (job fairs, networking
  events, Cinco de Mayo, etc.)

• Workshops on cultural awareness and

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             Sustainability — Arkansas
• Goal is to build a “network” to sustain
  partnerships created through the demonstration

• No formal state-level role

• Seeking funding through grants from local
  banks, and foundations, additional grant

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                      Sustainability — Iowa
• Goal is to secure permanent funding stream
  through the state

• State appropriations support a larger system of

• Local communities encouraged to secure local

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                  Implementation Lessons

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                      Implementation Lessons
 • Network building and community support are
   critical early steps

 • Dynamic and committed staff are essential

 • Location is a factor in service delivery

 • Project sustainability is challenging and
   requires support at a high level

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                Next Steps for Evaluation
• Currently completing a final report

• Incorporates updated information about site
  operations and sustainability

• Includes analysis of individual-level service
  receipt data and employment and earnings data

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                      Contact Information
                      New Arkansan Resource Network
                              Mike Kennedy
                              (501) 682-3142

                    New Iowan Centers
                       Barbara Bobb
                      (515) 242-6240
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                            U.S. Department of Labor
                      Employment and Training Administration
                                 Michelle Ennis
                                 (202) 693-3636

                                  Robin Koralek
                               The Urban Institute
                                 (202) 261-5736

        Full report is available at http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411874

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