Another green job!

Below is our second “green job” post in less than a week. As an aside, I’m curious as to whether there’s anything to be said about the recent abundance (relatively speaking, of course) of common good/public service jobs in the region. These are the kind of jobs that tend to attract younger, college-educated types, which is a population that is arguably essential to the ability of cities to prosper. Specifically, I wonder two things: 1) is the rate of job openings in this sector any faster than average, or am I just noticing it because I have a medium with which to share such opportunities?; and 2) how many people will apply/have applied to these postings? At least in other parts of the country–particularly in those cities that can attract young professionals effortlessly–hundreds of recent college grads are applying for even the most low-level nonprofit jobs available. Might be worth looking into. At any rate, here’s the latest gig available:

SouthCoast Energy Challenge Seeking Lead Organizer

Are you outgoing, energetic, and cheerful? The SouthCoast Energy Challenge is currently seeking an experienced organizer to take on outreach! The SouthCoast Energy Challenge is a free, neighbor-to-neighbor energy savings campaign. The goal is to engage people from all backgrounds across the SouthCoast to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, thereby enhancing long-term community sustainability. The primary focus of the Lead Community Organizer will be to plan and oversee Energy Challenge direct and indirect community outreach, develop and coordinate a volunteer base, and to manage the organizing interns. Download the full job description PDF here. Applications requested by Friday, October 21, at 5:00 pm. Please address all resume/cover letters to: Mercy Cover, Program Manager. Email: mcover@seeal.org (Or) Mail to: SEEAL attn: Energy Challenge Organizer, 63 Union Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. Get details here.

Design + data = accessible urban policy

I’m a big fan of GOOD magazine (or at least their website) for its ability to make policy topics engaging and relevant and its cross-disciplinary approach to tackling challenges in cities, education, the environment, etc. etc. They devote quite a bit of content to design, and my news feed highlighted a recent bit they did on a new initiative undertaken by AIGA (the design world’s professional association). Called Design for Good, this engages graphic designers in efforts to use their talents to improve outcomes in their communities.

At the end of the day, what good is policy research if it’s not easily understood by stakeholders? The visual display of information can help overcome the accessibility gap. Moreover, it’s easy to see how the marriage of policy and design will become almost essential to effective communication: for one, we’re increasingly used to getting our information in snapshots (see: this blog), so it would follow that the best way to compete with ever-shortening attention spans is to make data look cool. Finally, the proliferation of infographics makes Excel-generated charts and graphs look tired and antiquated. (Infographics:Wii as Excel charts:Atari.)

Aligned with AIGA’s efforts is GOOD’s recent challenge to designers to redesign the report card. Think about how effectively this could show parents not just where their kids stand, but how their kids compare to their peers in the classroom, district, and maybe even students statewide. It would be interesting to see if making student-level data more accessible and digestible will result in a higher level of parental empowerment and engagement.

Early childhood education and…Occupy Wall Street?

In today’s New York Times, Nick Kristof writes that if protesters really want to address inequality, they should forget Wall Streeters and push for broader access to early childhood education. As a presenter for the opening day of Leadership SouthCoast yesterday, I spent some time discussing the role of pre-k programming in addressing things like vocabulary acquisition, third grade literacy, and eventually, the dropout rate. Kristof cites a few interesting studies here and makes a great connection to a most timely subject matter.

Two new job opportunities

Good news for job seekers looking for public service jobs in the SouthCoast: just this week, both the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and The Trustees of Reservations have posted some exciting opportunities to address youth and environmental issues, respectively.

The WIB is searching for a new Youth Council Manager, the position held by now-South Coast Rail project manager Jean Fox. This is a full-time position that addresses youth workforce development in the region; applicants should hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and have experience working in youth services and writing grant proposals. It looks like their website isn’t updated with more information, but their Facebook page has more.

Another newly posted job is with the Southeast Region of The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR). They’re seeking a full-time community engagement manager who will be charged with broadening public awareness of and involvement in TTOR’s efforts across the South Coast, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod. Learn more by clicking here.

Fall River, New Bedford to partner with BCC to address dropout

Starting next calendar year, Fall River and New Bedford school districts will begin a program in partnership with Bristol Community College to address high school dropout through dual enrollment. The premise for both programs is that recent and likely dropouts will enroll and begin earning both high school and college credits, increasing the likelihood of earning both a high school diploma and a college degree. Such programs are already prevalent in urban school districts throughout the country and closer to home (for example, Springfield’s dropouts participate in a program at Holyoke Community College, while Massasoit Community College engages students from Brockton and Boston).

But does this approach work? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks so, a 2008 study shows that 89 percent of early college graduates pursued higher education the following fall (compared to 66 percent of their peers across the country), and North Carolina’s programs are achieving unprecedented success.

Based on those findings, a well-implemented, sustainable early college program could give a boost to the graduation rates of these districts (an improving 66.2 percent in Fall River and a declining 53.5 percent in New Bedford). Here’s hoping for a rigorous, ongoing program evaluation that will ensure this program’s ability to have an impact that is so greatly needed.