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Roundtable addresses women veterans’ particular challenges

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Dawn Seymour '39, a World War II flier with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, participates in the roundtable.

Brian Leidy, director of the BCTR’s Military Projects, participated in a panel at a recent roundtable discussion at Cornell on the issues women veterans face. These issues include invisibility, devaluation, work/family balance issues, the lack of jobs in a recession, and the translation of military skills into civilian ones. The panel, Cornell Women Veteran Roundtable: From Service Boots to Civilian Shoes, also included Jordanna Mallach from the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs and was moderated by veteran Lyndsi Prignon.

The focus of the roundtable was to provide a forum for employers to better understand how to recruit and retain veterans as employees. Through their years of work with military families, the BCTR’s Military Projects staff are familiar with the experiences of service men and women and are connected to and knowledgeable about the military and civilian programs and services available to assist them in work and life transitions. Brian Leidy noted,

The majority of women veterans that we engage with have transitioned to civilian work in military family support programs or are the spouses of active duty or reserve military who are currently serving. Although these women veterans may have a lot in common with the women who took part in the Cornell Women Veteran Roundtable, they are still very much associated with the military by employment and/or family ties and have not transitioned back to civilian life in the same sense as the women veterans who may now be students or employees in the Cornell and Ithaca communities. Only a small percent of the US population serve in the military, so many may not understand the specific challenges faced by veterans. Our involvement on the panel was to provide information, background, and a framework for a non-military audience about the experiences and challenges that women veterans may face as they leave military service.

The Military Projects have been working with military family support programs since the early 1990s, initially with the Army and Marine Corps but more recently with all the Services through the Department of Defense. They also recently began working with the Army Reserve Family Programs. Currently The Military Projects conduct research and program evaluation projects, facilitate outreach efforts to engage military families in services, and provided evidence-/research-based programming materials and technical assistance to support the military staff professionals who provide direct family services. The Military Projects’ involvement with military service men and women and their families primarily occurs while they are still serving on active or reserve duty. Nonetheless, having done deployment and reintegration studies as well as needs assessments for various military programs, Military Projects staff are familiar with the challenges that service members and families face when transitioning back to either installation or civilian life.

Women veterans face challenges, panel says - Cornell Chronicle

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Recent work from the Cornell Youth in Society project

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The BCTR's Cornell Youth in Society carries out research and outreach to understand and enhance community supports and opportunities for young people making the transition to adulthood in the United States and around the world. Below are some updates on this project's work.

Mentoring youth at work

Mary Agnes Hamilton and Steve Hamilton trained staff from 24 neighborhood organizations in Chicago about mentoring in April 2013. The organizations are operating summer youth employment opportunities for 16-24-year-olds in low-income neighborhoods with high levels of violence. The organizations will employ adult mentors to enable the youth to take full advantage of the work experience. Mary Agnes and Steve drew on training materials they had developed under contract with the U.S. Department of Labor to produce a training notebook and educate the staff who will in turn train and supervise the mentors.

Training emphasized that designating an adult as a mentor does not make that adult a mentor in the eyes of a youth. Mentoring relationships develop over time as youth and adults share interests, engage in activities, and learn to trust one another. The training also identified six “functional roles” that mentors perform: supporter, advisor, role model, challenger, connector, and compass. All mentors do not perform all of the roles; many youth have more than one mentor. The connector role entails connecting a youth with another adult who may become a mentor.

Steve and Mary Agnes will return to Chicago for a second round of training in July.

Multiple pathways through education to careers

Pathways to Prosperity is the January 2011 report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education advocating the creation of multiple paths through education to productive careers, including, but not limited to, four-year college. Steve Hamilton and Mary Agnes Hamilton attended the March 2013 Harvard conference on the topic, Creating Pathways to Prosperity; Steve, who contributed to the report and to planning the conference, led a panel on “Strategies for Increasing Work-based Learning.” The workshop examined some of the most promising approaches for providing students with meaningful work-based learning in high school and beyond; it took a careful look at evidence of the effectiveness of work-based learning; participants also discussed strategies for expanding the availability of work-based learning, including ways to get more employers to participate.

In response to the Pathways to Prosperity report, the New York State Department of Education has proposed that students be allowed to substitute a career and technical education examination for one of the currently-required Regents examinations. Steve Hamilton has gathered a group of experts to identify high-quality examinations that will be recommended to the Board of Regents for this purpose.

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“Women, Science and Motherhood” features Wethington

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Elaine WethingtonThe BCTR's Elaine Wethington talks about the career vs. motherhood choice that female academics face and her own decision to pursue her academic career in a new video produced by the Cornell Institute for Women in Science. Stanka Fitneva, professor of psychology at Queen's University, Canada, also describes her personal experience of having a child while working in academia. Additionally, Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development at Cornell and founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science, offers commentary and historical perspective.

Women, Science and Motherhood: Then and Now

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2011 Bronfenbrenner Lecture

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Can Real Work-Time Flexibility Promote Health? An “Experiment of Nature”
March 10, 2011

Phyllis Moen
McKnight Presidential Chair in Sociology, University of Minnesota

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