Racial Equity Project Overview

YPII has collaborated with Iowa’s Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Cultural Equity Alliance Steering Committee, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and the Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN) to develop and implement a race equity pilot project that moves beyond the conventional “one and done” training modality.

YPII began by analyzing disaggregated intake and exit comparison data from IASN participants in recent years to determine any racial differences in outcomes related to education, employment, earnings, housing and banking. In all categories, youth of color trailed white youth in the percentage of positive increase in outcomes from program entrance to program exit. YPII also surveyed young people participating in Aftercare and the Self-Sufficiency Advocates who directly support them about the frequency that they discuss race and culture with one another. With an understanding that numerous factors can contribute to such differences, this project focused on providing a unique racial equity training opportunity to the IASN Self Sufficiency Advocates.

Thirty-five IASN advocates from across Iowa attended DHS’s Race: The Power of an Illusion Learning Exchange (RPI).  Along with setting a historical foundation, this training encourages participants to develop a racial equity (rather than equality) lens through which they then engage in “courageous conversations” regarding race. A month after the RPI, during a two-hour follow-up session, the RPI facilitators again met with the IASN advocates to share outcome and survey data and to provide additional race equity training tools and activities. 

To support the two face-to-face trainings, the third component of the project is a commitment to provide Advocates with additional tools and support via emails and during regular Network staff meetings. The short-term goal of YPII and our partners is to provide a race equity training and information resource center for IASN Advocates.  The long-term goal is equitable outcomes for all IASN participants.

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