GlobalMindED Experience to Employment Program
To engage a variety of stakeholders in disrupting generational poverty through a collaborative Early Childcare Workforce Training Program.
Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)
The resources provided and community fostered through OpenIDEO platform were immensely helpful in continually honing our idea and re-envisioning potential partnerships. We were connected with our mentor, Lorez Meinhold from Keystone Policy Center, who was so generous with her time and expertise. In conversations with her and in continuing collaboration and idea exploration with our implementing partners, as well as through comments and feedback from fellow innovators on OpenIDEO, we enhanced our project by addressing several weaknesses through additional research and alterations to the program structure:
- It was not necessary viable to present our entire vision for the Hub model of community resources as the whole project from the get-go. Instead, we reframed the program to include key phases of implementation and more manageable, doable chunks. Hence, with our mentor's guidance, we opted to hone in on the workforce training program as the pilot- in focusing our efforts and resources on community feedback and developing this program as a pilot, we would have a much stronger foundation on which to grow and build a community-based resource Hub. We thus enhanced the workforce training aspect of our vision to include a strategic plan for the training, apprenticeship, and mentoring components. The implementation of this workforce training program will be a fluid process as we begin a community-lead resource assessment, reshape our program model based on this feedback, and sustainably expand with continual communication with community partners to develop a model that can serve both rural and urban populations.
- We have also learned a lot from fellow innovators, especially those in more advanced stages and with more experience in the early childhood space, through comments and conversations about the questions we need to be asking to create a viable model, key considerations to take into account before solidifying our program model, and additional connections that we should explore to ensure that we are prioritizing a human-centered design.
- We have also been very encouraged through the OpenIDEO platform to see how many organizations, groups, individuals, and companies are aligned with our mission to close the equity gap in innovative ways, to create connections among uncommon collaborators to foster new, more effective innovations than can be achieved by one group alone. This was one of the most beneficial aspects of this process: the sense of collaboration, partnership, and connection with which every innovator committed to more high-impact solutions.
Name or Organization
Based in Denver, CO, we have programs with national reach.
What is your stage of development?
New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD
What is the stage of your proposal?
Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)
A strategy for 0-3 year olds in low-income populations must address the inextricable links among challenges facing adults and children. Our proposal for early childhood well-being begins with a workforce training program: local Opportunity Youth (OY) and foster youth will receive training to become early childhood educators, providing childcare to neighborhood children, acting as role models who share similar backgrounds, and preparing for a career in education. Parents in the community can then take advantage of this childcare while they pursue personal or professional goals of their own.
Select an Innovation Target
Network: Connecting people with each other to enhance the reach or effectiveness of new or existing resources.
Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)
This collaborative workforce training model will employ a multi-demographic approach to disrupting generational poverty and the pipeline to foster care: Opportunity Youth (OY) and foster youth gain experience in early education, adults can access well-resourced childcare within their communities, and children ages 0-3 have access to developmentally and culturally relevant education resources and role model caregivers who have shared similar upbringings. Facilitating relationships among multiple vulnerable groups within a low-income community can create a mutually beneficial support network in which the development of one group has the capacity to meet the needs of another. This program will prepare OY and foster youth for careers in childcare/early childhood education, as well as foster the skills needed for social mobility including professional expectations and financial literacy. Through this apprenticeship program, neighborhood children will have access to developmental and educational resources, as well as non-family role models. Parent(s) then contribute to the cohort’s education by utilizing this free childcare option, while taking that free time to meet their own needs. Capitalizing on GlobalMindED’s network of uncommon collaborators to ensure quality skill development for the OY cohort and resources for the children, this model prioritizes connections among various groups and the value of shared experiences in building the teacher-child relationship.
What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)
Disrupting generational poverty has historically been characterized by disconnect, even among organizations with similar missions. We propose an approach in which investing in one group, and capitalizing on the inextricable links between families and communities, has the potential to provide benefit and opportunity to another. Our program aims to reverse generational poverty, stop the pipeline to foster care, and access the untapped talent of OY and foster youth through innovative partnerships.
Explain your idea (5000 characters)
In order to unlock the potential of at-risk youth in powering social change and diversifying the EC workforce, we propose an early childhood education workforce training program housed in a low-income community that will contribute to each of these outcomes. The Experience to Employment Program is designed to eradicate generational poverty by supplying OY and foster teens with the professional skills to promote economic and social mobility. Our current proposal is to build a job training program based on community feedback that would meet a joint need for transferable job skills to the education field and quality childcare. A caveat here is that there are likely to be structural changes after we have undertaken a community-based assessment, including with OY and foster youth. Prior to the accumulation of survey data, we have theorized a model that encompasses job skills and social-emotional skills training for OY and structured childcare:
1. Recruitment of OY and foster youth: our team will recruit, in partnership with Peter Samuelson and his team of foster youth experts including locally Shari Shank and Becky Miller Updike, Lorena Zimmer of the Opportunity Youth Denver Project and Sid Saleh, the Legacy Project, and the YEP program through Denver CASA, a group of 100 youth who are interested in the program. Interns will spearhead an interview process, selecting a cohort of 25 OY and foster youth, ages 18-24, to begin the childcare/early childhood education job skills program.
2. Job skills training and compensation: the primary component of this stage will be the creation and implementation of the childcare/early childhood education job training program.
Our partner LifeBound will provide training to the cohort, including social-emotional, question-based critical thinking, and general professional skills. We have recently connected with Dr. Amanda McBride, Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, and Michelle Hannah who runs a 12-year long research institution focused on child welfare, and we are exploring a joint social-emotional training program, as working with low-income children 0-3 will require specialization/expertise. Curriculum will incorporate education on intellectually and emotionally intelligent interactions, trauma-informed care, low-income family dynamics, and the realities of generational poverty. Current community caregivers will also be involved in the education phase, as experts on the community, teaching cultural competence as critical to building relationships with children and families (NAEYC, 2009). Once the cohort completes the education phase with EC experts, they will begin the apprenticeship, working directly with children 0-3 from the neighborhood, supervised by LifeBound and EC expert partners. This apprenticeship will include a year of education and direct work experience, giving the opportunity for the members of the cohort to earn a teaching or childcare licensure through a partner at DU or CU Denver that will enable them to obtain a job after training completion. A portion of the funding received through the EC Innovation Prize will go toward living stipends for the cohort. After they complete the education portion and begin the apprenticeship, they will receive a stipend to assist with living costs, as the hours they are at the apprenticeship are paid working hours lost.
3. Mentoring Program: The OY apprentices (ages 18-24) will act as mentors to younger OY and foster youth (ages 14-17) interested in the training program, as well as role models who exemplify resilience and determination to the children in the childcare program. The benefits of a role model and mentor for younger youth, someone who has shared experiences or comes from the same community, include a personal example of an adult who has overcome adversity, and personal encouragement to make healthy, thoughtful choices (MENTOR, 2014), and for the mentor, a chance to contribute to the next generation of learners.
4. Parent Inclusion: This childcare/early childhood education training model will also incorporate a required element of communication with the parents: apprentices will update parents on children’s daily activities and offer suggestions for outside activities that will encourage the children’s growth.
5. Job connections: For those members of the cohort who complete the apprenticeship, GlobalMindED will assist in facilitating the job search through our network for those who want to pursue a career in childcare or education, as well as our career fair at our annual conference.
6. M&E: In partnership with CU Denver or DU Graduate School of Social Work, we will measure and track outcomes via self-report questionnaires, cognitive computer tasks, public statistics, and interviews. This will include assessments such as the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test, Leadership Skills via the revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire, and measures of income/employment.
Who benefits? (1500 characters)
This workforce training program model benefits children 0-3 living in the low-income neighborhood of focus, OY and foster youth ages 18-24 (as well as 14-17 year old mentees), and single mothers/parents in the low-income neighborhood. Providing OY and foster youth with developmentally and culturally competent training and experience in childcare and EC gives them transferable, industry-specific skills to secure stable employment in the education sector, contributing to a more diverse pool of educators in terms of both background and experience. Additionally, OY can contribute to the essential social, emotional, and physical development of the next generation of children 0-3 with whom they likely share life experiences and backgrounds, providing the children with non-family role models and mentors. Professionally trained OY will provide quality, nurturing childcare for children 0-3, creating an affordable, well-resourced childcare option in a low-income neighborhood, directly contributing to parental growth, as they can focus their attention to meeting their own needs, personally and professionally. Eventually, once we establish a reliable childcare workforce training program for OY, we can integrate additional community members into workforce training through our partners who have already established relationships with these individuals, providing them more direct access to professional and economic opportunities, as well as additional career options for the training.
What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)
Our idea starts with the individual and extends to the community, and we will assess our impact longitudinally, prioritizing consistent community feedback, on multiple levels: OY and foster youth, low-income children 0-3, parents, and the education sector in Denver at large. Our goals for the program are: OY will secure EC jobs and report more confidence in their abilities to affect change, children will show enhanced cognitive and social-emotional growth, and parents will have made tangible efforts toward personal goals during their free time. Our innovation in investing in the development of one group to create tangible benefits for multiple others affords us the opportunity to monitor the interactions between these groups to ensure that we are investing in an effective way. If the workforce program is delivering the desired outcomes (concrete measures to be determined based on community-led assessments) for OY, children 0-3, and parents within a given community, we can expand and adapt this model to provide more direct benefits to parents and the community through an expanding resources network. The impact reaches outside the community, as well: preparing OY for a career through targeted job skills training, and supporting the community through our innovative uncommon collaborations, can contribute to resolving the teacher crisis in Denver through the development of a historically underrepresented and diverse group in experiences and perspectives.
How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)
The cohort of OY and foster youth will work with children 0-3 participating in the program on English and Spanish language acquisition, pattern recognition, bodily kinesthetic skills, numeracy, creative and art-based skills, and skills of self-soothing and EQ., so that they can reach the 30,000,000 word acquisition point commonly reached by children from higher SES backgrounds at the same ages, thereby contributing to reducing the learning gap often observed in children from low-income backgrounds beginning school. On a social-emotional level, having OY as teachers creates an element of connection between teacher and student: these youth can relate to some of the experiences of the children, and can have the opportunity to transform their experiences into tangible benefits for a younger generation through modeling resilience and making healthy choices. Informal and formal role model and mentoring relationships have been found, without many exceptions, to contribute to better attendance and attitudes toward school, enhanced social skills among peers, decreased substance abuse, and the development of a healthier self-esteem of mentees (MENTOR, 2014). At the parent-child relationship level, allowing the parents time to care for themselves and work toward personal and/or professional goals has the potential to deepen the parent-child relationship and foster more nurturing, secure interactions for the child.
Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)
Our model is of a workforce leadership program that incorporates multiple populations has the capacity to be get single mothers to anchor in long-term employment, creatively employ opportunity and foster youth, creatively imply invested role models and trained caregivers who can relate well to low-income toddlers age 0-3 and their siblings, and finally a subsection of the most passionate caregivers who can provide a pipeline into early education and education in general. The innovation in our design addresses multiple needs with one structure, prioritizes connecting previously unconnected groups, and bridges the gap between the outlier, the expert, and the community.
Very few programs are focusing on the hardships of the single mother and providing little to no opporunities for those families to sustain. According to Denver Children’s Affairs, only 13% of licensed child care is targeted towards children 0-3, while the remaining 87% is targeted towards older children (2014). Not only is early childhood care limited, it is also the most expensive form of childcare in Denver county: the average annual cost of infant care is $12,621, while care for older children is roughly $9,239 annually (Denver Children’s Affairs, 2014). The financial burden is heaviest for single mothers: their average income is $26,366, and an average of 47.9% of that is dedicated to childcare (Denver Children’s Affairs, 2014). Our program can provide a quality childcare option for low-income parents without the financial drawbacks while providing job training opportunities to local OY and foster youth.
Additionally, early childhood programs tend to recruit teachers from different, more privileged backgrounds than the population they are serving. While these teachers may be adequate role models in some regards, there is a lack of relatability between role models and underserved children. Our approach recruits OY and foster youth intentionally, as they not only represent a source of un-accessed talent, but they also have the capacity to relate directly to the population they are serving. Establishing relatable role models for underserved children is essential and has been shown to promote positive outcomes and protect children from modeling negative or deviant behaviors they may witness elsewhere (Hurd, et al., 2009). Tapping into the un-accessed talent and experiences of OY and foster youth as caregivers gives us the opportunity to create multi-generational impact.
Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)
In collaboration with H.O.P.E. (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), we are currently in the process of identifying an existing community space that has interest in and the capacity to house this workforce training program, eliminating the need for a capital-intensive construction project, and ensuring accessibility for community members and the potential to grow our program. We have outlined a proposal that would begin with workforce training program, and we envision ultimately evolving this program into a comprehensive resource and support HUB that is designed and sustained by community members. We will use the results obtained from M&E with the OY cohort to adapt and expand the job skills training program to include single mothers/parents in the neighborhood who are interested in a career in childcare/early childhood education. This training, modeled in much the same way as the pilot with OY and foster youth, could provide a link to a stable, gainful career option for single parents in the community. The ultimate realization of our vision entails a complete HUB model realization: a program that encompasses not only multiple job training programs based on our mutually beneficial model of training, but a variety of mental health and social service resources to create a wraparound support and refuge for community members.
Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)
GlobalMindED's strength is in the connections: we have built, through our conference and through facilitate and fostered relationships in education, business, and foundation sectors, a network of uncommon collaborators who share both an interest and passion in providing opportunities for underrepresented populations through innovative solutions and partnerships to solve these vexing problems. Thus, although the workforce leadership program will be our first foray into direct program-based partnerships with these organizations in delivering tangible outcomes for multiple populations at a community level, we believe that these connections that we have the capacity to facilitate will lead to more sustainable outcomes that can scale. Our team at GlobalMindED, comprised of ED Carol Carter, several graduate and undergraduate interns, and the staff of our key implementing partners are prepared to undertake the initial community feedback process to get this project off the ground, while incorporating additional expertise into the structure of the program as we flesh out the model. As this idea comes to fruition, the community in which the Hub will eventually be housed will lead the design, implementation, and maintenance of this program, to ensure that as it evolves they are in control and the outcomes are deliverables that meet their needs as they are part of the solution solving process.
Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)
GlobalMindED has operated as a 501©(3) for 5 years, and is part of another organization, LifeBound, that has over 17 years of experience in life skills and professional coaching. We see a void in service delivery for low-income and underrepresented populations, and as an outlier whose mission is to foster uncommon collaborations, and an established non-profit in the education sphere, our mission is to create those connections to lead to more sustainable outcomes through stronger programming and adequate funding.
As we plan for sustainability and explore expansion, our business model must necessarily include funding from several partners and foundations. We will look to companies like Axion, who invest $1 trillion in low-income entrepreneurs, for support for our cohorts in the workforce leadership program. The Colorado Health Foundation has also indicated their interest in exploring potential collaborations with their strategy moving forward, especially as it pertains to rural goals in the counties of Pueblo, Alamosa, Ft. Morgan, and Eagle. We have also sought funding from the Denver Foundation for this workforce leadership program. We are open to vetting potential participants with larger organizations and corporations to devise how to create a sustainable business model structured around community-indicated resource needs, and to strategize on partnerships and funding from diverse sources that will contribute to a model that will be able to absorb change, clientele growth, and model restructuring.
HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)
The initial stage of our EC workforce development program will be a self-directed community needs assessment with extensive community engagement prior to solidifying the model. This would give our team the base on which to not only build the training programs, but also to begin to accumulate data on the resource gaps to inform growth on the HUB model in the future. This community-driven model of design will ideally ensure a more sustainable model that individuals and families will use and which will meet their self-reported needs. If community members report during this stage that they wouldn’t utilize childcare workforce training, then we will adapt to create a program that will provide useful job skills. Beginning with focus groups and community meetings in which community members can voice their opinions on gaps in service provision and their vision for a workforce training program, our team would compile survey data which will inform the design of the childcare workforce training program. The research team would arrange and facilitate focus groups with single mothers, parents, and caregivers in the target community, and Opportunity Youth and foster youth interested in a workforce training program.
Sample topics for community focus groups include:
What resources do you wish were available in your community? Would you utilize a central location that housed these resources? When you think of your community in the future, what is your vision? What might a workforce training program look like? If childcare was provided by young adults training to be teachers, would you feel comfortable leaving your children? What concerns do you have about this idea? What changes would alleviate those concerns, if any could?
Current community childcare providers, how would a workforce training program for single mothers and OY change your childcare program? Would you be interested in being trainers with the workforce program?
Sample topics for OY and foster youth focus groups: What would a job training program look like for you? If that was available, what jobs would you want training for? Would childcare or early childhood education interest you? Aside from job training, what else should a program like this provide? What additional resources do you think you would need in order to make a training program and apprenticeship work in your life?
We have also begun our research into the feasibility of this program with the expertise of our partners who have already established relationships with residents in low-income communities. H.O.P.E. has not only given us guidance on additional collaborations to pursue, including those organizations with similar programs in place, such as Mile High United Way, but they have also proposed various physical locations for the workforce program that have capacity to handle the whole HUB eventually. GlobalMindED has also, through the OpenIDEO platform, connected with workforce programs with similar models in Boulder and Adams County, so that we may all learn from each others’ successes and challenges.
Tell us more about you (3000 characters)
After 17 years as an executive in corporate America, I left my VP position at Pearson Education to begin my own company, LifeBound, where I published books for 5th-12th graders and the bridge into college. During this period, I worked at a Federal Prison where I taught Native Americans and soon-to-be-released inmates about transitional success skills. Simultaneously, in the first five years at LifeBound, my team and I taught ESL, job skills, computer skills and more in the Denver Housing projects. Based on this experience, I launched a coaching arm of LifeBound, which has trained and certified faculty in coaching at community and four-year colleges around the country and internationally. I became an expert on how low-income populations can succeed in college. Since many low-income and First-Gen students are single mothers, I immediately saw how resourcing low-income neighborhoods and housing projects with a multiple partner strategy could support single moms and offer role models to provide wisdom from their own journeys out of generational poverty.
I saw firsthand how stressed single moms dealt with newborn babies and other children without adequate job skills, coping skills, self-care skills, or parenting skills. These risk factors combined to move young children into our foster care pipeline. Since that time, I, LifeBound, and now GlobalMindED have focused on low-income populations, first generation to graduate high school, and first generation to graduate college.
My early days as a business owner have impressed upon me the need for the Hub strategy proposed here, and for an overall awareness of wealthy professionals and foundations to understand firsthand the multi-solution strategy needed to close these gaps of generational poverty.
Five years ago I founded GlobalMindED, a nonprofit that holds an annual conference convening leaders in education, government, business, and social enterprise committed to making a world of difference through creating a capable, diverse talent pipeline. GlobalMindED’s bold goal is to have 25,000,000 First Generation students, graduates, and those who work with them connected and resourcing each other with educational, job, and promotion opportunities by 2025. My business experience and international work provide a unique perspective on how we can prepare all students – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds – to thrive as learners, professionals, and global citizens.
Babies ages 0-3 born into low income families can’t possibly thrive unless we build an ecosystem around these parents who have not developed the life and self-management skills to feed themselves, much less their kids. They need and deserve the opportunity to master the basic life skills to climb out of generational poverty for good. Many GlobalMindED role models, having done just that, can be those beacons of hope to help others accomplish what they have achieved against all odds.
Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)
GlobalMindED’s vision to convene “uncommon collaborators” can be realized in this workforce Program at a central Hub: it is a prime opportunity to link community members, EC experts, and Opportunity Youth with outliers like ourselves who see these links and have the network and resources to foster them. Our primary implementing partners include HOPE, Mattel/Fisher Price, American Psychological Association, Denver Human Services, LifeBound, and Lego, but we will expand our resource network accordingly, pending community feedback, to include all interested parties to ensure sustainability.
As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)
We believe in the wisdom of the outliers, as well as the experts, to solve our most pervasive social problems. We bring a unique perspective to addressing these problems in that we have been and will continue to convene the uncommon collaborators, including outliers, experts, and community representatives, to ensure that deliverables are achieved. We have high hopes that a lot of the thought leaders from this EC Challenge will going us at the GlobalMindED Conference this summer so our ideas can collaborate and create a broader impact.
Though independent of our submission, we would like to convene in a pre-conference the day before our annual conference with key educational thought leaders and "outliers" in the EC space who together can generate even more powerful ideas than they can alone. Whether we are awarded the EC Innovation Prize or not, we hope that the leaders on this platform can join this pre-conference, plug into a larger EC pipeline, and share experiences, ideas, and challenges in strengthening the EC to career pipeline for every child/student in ways that are ongoing. We would like to involve leading foundations in early childhood, community foundations with both urban and rural reach, and experts in community-based research and EC development to guide both our initiatives in workforce leadership training and comprehensive support networks as well as the broader efforts to disrupt generational poverty and to close the education and attainment gaps through Early Childhood education and innovation.
Would you like mentoring support?
If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)
Yes, we loved working with our mentor, Lorez, and would like to continue to collaborate with her and our other mentors who have already worked extensively in the early childhood space to build the GlobalMindED Early Childhood Leadership team as well as those experts from the school of education, community resource centers, and social services experts.
Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?
Yes, share my contact information
[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caroljcarter/
Organization website: http://www.globalminded.org/
These are profiles of people that represent the kinds of mothers and role models that we want to create through this program. One of these women, Rocio, is writing a book right now on her story:
[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.
Flyer for the GlobalMindED 2018 conference where we will convene thought leaders from education, economics, health, and business and a class of 100 low income and first generation to college students to help them achieve career success by providing them with professional skills, resources, networks, mentors, experiential learning and social support.
Mentorship: How was your idea supported? (5000 characters)
The mentorship component of this platform was one of the most beneficial aspects of this entire experience. Not only was our mentor, Lorez, open and direct with her feedback, but she was flexible with her time and patient as we made quite a few changes to our original submission.
Lorez has extensive experience with community engagement and assessment and encouraged us to hone in on one aspect of our ultimate vision in order to be able to center the community-lead design process and the innovative nature of the proposed workforce program. We had initially written a proposal that attempted to present our entire Hub model concept all at once, but the message and intent and vision were diluted by a lack of detail. Lorez guided us to decide what our focus was going to be, and to enhance the submission based on that focus. As our experience and expertise and connections lend themselves more toward a workforce program as the initial stage of the Hub model, we reframed our concept in stages to clarify how we were going to reach our end goal/vision of a central resource Hub that would provide opportunities and benefits for all the residents of a community, thereby disrupting generational poverty through investment in economic mobility.
This was a significant change from the structure of our initial submission, but if not for Lorez and her feedback, our intent and vision might have gotten lost in a lack of clarity and sustainability strategy. We incorporated her feedback into our submission presentation without losing the integrity of our ultimate collaborative vision, and she encouraged us to not get lost in the business of making connections but prioritize the utility of making connections for the community members. We cannot thank Lorez enough for her guidance and hope that OpenIDEO uses this mentorship model for all of the platforms it hosts!