2Gen Toolbox

Ascend is pleased to offer these resources to the growing two-generation field. We kindly request that you attribute Ascend’s work by citing the tool referenced. Please email ascend.info@aspeninstitute.org with any questions. Thank you!

Summit Toolkit 2019

2Gen convenings have the potential to create change for whole systems and the lives of the families they serve. This planning guide is the first step. Having planned and supported more than 100 2Gen convenings, Ascend has cultivated a depth of knowledge for the practical elements and nuanced factors that result in successful convenings. This toolkit considers concrete examples from many 2Gen convenings and illuminates the lessons learned and best practices developed with the aim to at once maximize the impact and minimize any inefficiency in developing and hosting convenings. Our hope is that the toolkit will support 2Gen practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and philanthropists across the country in more effective convening outreach, partnership, and impact. 

From the Urban Institute: Supporting Young Parents as They Advance Their Education and Careers

Approximately 43 percent of US children are born to parents who had their first child when they were younger than 25. These young parents often face greater economic challenges, because half of them live in low-income households. To advance their career prospects and improve their family’s economic security, many young parents work while also pursuing education. But balancing all those responsibilities is challenging, and parents may need additional support to succeed. This fact sheet includes key facts for understanding young parents balancing work and education as well as recommendations for how policymakers and education programs can support them.

From the Urban Institute: Balancing Work with School and Training while Raising Young Children

Parents who have children at a young age often face an interruption in their schooling, their plans for career training, and overall life trajectory. But a growing number of young parents are seeking education and training to achieve better opportunities for their families, and many work while attending school. In this report, we use the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education to examine the prevalence of children born to young parents (under age 25) who are currently working while in education or training, the characteristics of these children and their families, and the implications for child care when young parents balance work with advancing their skills and education to get ahead. We find that although children with young parents balancing work with education or training constitute a small share of the child population, they are more likely than all children under 13 to live in low-income households, have single parents, and have parents with lower levels of education. Their parents spend long hours at work, education, or training, including during nontraditional hours. These children are more likely to be in nonparental care, especially the care of unpaid relatives, and to be in that care for more hours than children whose parents only work. The median child care burden for these families is 14 percent—twice the federal government recommendation that child care cost no more than 7 percent of household income. Our findings highlight the unique situations of young student-parents who may need greater support and resources to access and pay for child care than they currently have.

From the Urban Institute: Young Parents Making Their Way: Combining Education and Work while Parenting

More than 40 percent of children in the United States are born to parents who had their first child when they were young (under age 25). Many of these young parents work and participate in education to advance their career prospects and improve their families’ economic security. Managing those responsibilities is challenging, and parents may need support to succeed. In this report, we analyze data on young parents (people who had their first child between the ages 16 to 24) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. We investigate the patterns of work and education young parents engage in from the birth of their first child until they are 30 years old. We find that a higher cumulative share of time spent combining work and education is associated with increased earnings at age 30 while time spent in neither work nor education (being “disconnected”) is associated with earnings decreases. Furthermore, initial characteristics of young parents (such as their demographic group or their education status when they had their first child) affect earnings at age 30, and economic disparities persist or become greater over time. We summarize possible approaches programs can take to engage and support young parents.

Messaging Guide

The messages found in this guide are based on the results of research and analysis by the FrameWorks Institute. These tips will help you craft memorable, effective messages for the public and policymakers. More information on the research and rationale behind these recommendations is available in Framing Two-Generation Approaches to Supporting Families.

Committed to helping families create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity, LIFT, a national nonprofit that connects parents with trained coaches who help them achieve career and financial goals, implements a two-generation (2Gen) strategy. Their partnership with AppleTree, a recognized leader in evidence-based early childhood education, demonstrates LIFT’s commitment to staying laser-focused on the needs of its members – the parents – while recognizing that the educational and financial well-being of parents affects their kids. The initial data from this strategic partnership has yielded promising results. (July 2019)