Cancer Patients and Survivors Want to Work but Face Challenges

This week the CEO of Goldman Sachs announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and would continue to work while receiving treatment.  Whether one remains at/returns to work after a cancer diagnosis depends greatly on an individual’s situation, but an online survey of American cancer patients and survivors found the majority (73 percent) want to work, citing financial concerns but also the belief that working helps in their overall recovery.

According to the survey, conducted by the Harris Poll for Cancer and Careers, although most respondents enjoy working, they also face challenges balancing their health needs with the workplace. For example, women were more likely than men to report working a reduced schedule due to treatment, and people of color were more likely to be advised by a medical professional to stop working while in treatment. Other findings from the poll,

  • fatigue was the primary daily challenge of employed respondents,
  • 20 percent have concerns that taking days off will weaken their employment stability, and
  • 65 percent feel that additional information is needed around navigating employment and workplace issues after a cancer diagnosis.

Additional data from the study is at the Cancer and Careers website, along with a resource library and employment search services and tools.

Pennsylvania’s Student Achievement Gap

As students ready themselves to return to their classrooms, a report from the RAND Corporation looks past test scores to the issue of Pennsylvania’s student achievement gap – one of the largest in the country.  Although data from 2013 Pennsylvania standardized tests ranks the Commonwealth among the top ten states in student performance (according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)) RAND found sizable achievement gaps according to race/ethnicity, economic status, parent education, and school district.

Some study findings:

  • An achievement gap by race/ethnicity: The proportion of white students achieving proficiency or above in reading and math was 24 to 38 percent larger than African-American and Latino students.
  • An achievement gap by economic status: Students from lower economic statuses had lower proficiency scores, and were estimated to be an average of two or three years behind their peers from higher economic statuses.
  • An achievement gap by district: After removing the highest and lowest performing school districts, RAND found performance gaps between districts similar those identified in the race/ethnicity and economic analyses.  Low performing school districts were identified in both urban and rural areas.

The report, The Economic Impact of Achievement Gaps in Pennsylvania’s Public Schools by Lynne Karoly, also compares the achievement of Pennsylvania students both nationally and globally, and examines the impact that gaps in academic performance may have on Pennsylvania’s  economy.  The full report is available at the RAND website.

 

 

 

Report  Citation: Karoly, Lynn A.. The Economic Impact of Achievement Gaps in Pennsylvania’s Public Schools. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015. http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1159.

Study: Americans with Disabilities Want to Work, are Working

Americans with disabilities endeavor to find employment and are successful in overcoming obstacles in the workplace, according to the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey, the first nationally representative survey to examine the work experiences of adult Americans with disabilities.  Approximately 68 percent of respondents indicated they were looking for work, have worked, or were currently employed since the onset of disability. Persons currently working averaged 35.5 hours a week, and over half (60.7 percent) worked 40+ hours a week.  The majority of those not employed (but looking for work) were actively preparing to enter the workforce in optimum condition by receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation (72.7 percent).

Additional findings:

  • Most respondents (86.6 percent) reported feeling accepted at their places of employment.
  • Over half of those surveyed (68.4 percent) reported that their workplaces provided most or all of the supports or accommodations they needed. The most requested accommodation was schedule flexibility (28.4 percent).
  • Challenges for those employed included receiving less pay than others in a similar position (16.5 percent) and management attitudes (15.7 percent).  At least one-third of respondents reported overcoming one of these obstacles (38.6 percent for pay disparity and 41.3 percent for supervisor attitude).

The complete report, including video of the presentation of findings on Capitol Hill, is available at the Kessler Foundation website.

 

 

 

 

Report Citation: Kessler Foundation (2015). The Kessler Foundation 2015 National Employment and Disability Survey: Report of Main Findings. West Orange, NJ.

Pennsylvania Nonprofit News: School Readiness, Wage Inequality, and Who Decides Tax Exemptions

With budget season looming, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is keeping an eye on the happenings in Harrisburg. They recently commented on the education funding in Governor Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 budget and in February released a brief detailing the state of school readiness among the Commonwealth’s youngest residents. According to their analysis, less than 19 percent of 3- and 4-years-olds have access to quality, public pre-K programs,  and 7.5 percent of youth up to age four have high-quality child care.  The data briefs on school readiness factors for Allegheny County (and all counties) are also available on the PPC website.

 

The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University formed the 74% Project to explore the lives of women leaders in the nonprofit sector. Wage inequality in nonprofits throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania is their current research focus – one that resulted in some interesting data on the salary disparities of male and female executive directors.  Their debut fundraiser, “The Great Debate” will be held on Equal Pay Day April 14, 2015 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Twentieth Century Club in Oakland.

 

On the other side of the state, nonprofit leaders are, by their own reports, stressed out. A survey conducted by the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business found that half a decade after the official end of the Great Recession, 51 percent of Philadelphia nonprofits are still struggling to bounce back, with little or no economic recovery reported. Of those leaders who reported some recovery, the majority (75 percent) attribute it to individual giving. Long term financial stability and finding the budget to hire additional staff (to meet in the increase for services since the late 2000’s) were the top concerns among nonprofit executives. Exhausted and stressed were the top responses (tied at 22 percent) describing how the respondents felt as leaders, but 19 percent reported feeling optimistic. The complete report is available at the Center’s website.

 

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 4 continues to be debated in both the press and the Legislature. The bill would grant power to legislators to determine what charities are eligible for tax exemptions through an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. Rich Lord and Chris Potter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette look at the impact of this change and why many nonprofits back the amendment in their article Pennsylvania bill debates definition of taxable charities.