A case study funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and conducted by Global Learning Partners describes how a workforce development program effectively incorporated efforts to strengthen executive skills — the cognitive abilities needed to set goals, develop plans, and follow through. The report, Implementing an Executive Skills Approach: Insights for the Field (38 pages, PDF), looks at how the Chicago-based New Moms' paid job training program helps young mothers develop skills and reduce the effects of toxic stress. The five components of the program are 1) introducing environmental modifications to make tasks easier to complete; 2) building trainees' executive skills knowledge; 3) coaching trainees to help them meet objectives; 4) tracking trainees' progress toward short- and long-term goals; and 5) offering trainees incentives to gain new skills. According to the study, the approach has taken root across New Moms' programs, but effective integration depends on a range of factors, including leadership buy-in, a core team of committed staff, openness to research and a commitment to translating that research into programs and policies, and opportunities for staff to connect to the learning. The case study is accompanied by an implementation toolkit (42 pages, PDF), a video, and a webinar.
(Photo credit: Anjali Pinto for New Moms)