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2012 Rappaport Fellows

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The political forecast for climate change: Cloudy nationally, clear locally

By Jeff Locke | Download as PDF. The summer of 2012 provided further evidence that climate change is a serious problem, with record-setting heat and catastrophic droughts recorded all throughout the United States.  Regardless, not one presidential debate raised the question of climate change to either of the candidates.  Further, many congressional candidates on either side of the campaign trail have chosen silence over action on this front.  However, at a local level, signs of hope are emerging that all is not lost in the climate fight.  Many U.S. cities are taking steps to deal with climate change.  A good illustration is Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s Climate Action Plan, and the city’s proposal for an energy efficiency reporting and disclosure bill for private and public buildings. Continue reading

Massachusetts should expand access to college for students with severe disabilities

By Erin Riley | Download as PDF.  Since 2007, a small number of Massachusetts community colleges and state universities have implemented Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment pilot programs to provide access to inclusive college coursework for students with severe disabilities aged 18-22.  The programs have proven successful in teaching the important transition skills these students will need to be prepared for adult life in the community after special education. Now is the time to build on this success by expanding ICE programs to all public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.  Continue reading

Benefits corporations: A new way to balance values and profits

By Ajulo Othow  | Download as PDF.  On August 7, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law “An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth,” legislation comprising a number of economic development initiatives including one provision that has been adopted by just nine other states. The provision focuses on promoting a small, yet growing subset of firms called Benefits corporations.  These firms are primarily concerned with balancing profit-making with environmentally and socially beneficial goals.  In an environment of tight fiscal constraints and expanding unmet needs, this is an opportunity worth exploring for the Commonwealth. Continue reading

Homeless youth in Massachusetts: First steps toward helping a hidden population

By Caroline Holda | Download as PDF.  How many youth sleep on Massachusetts’ streets each night?  At the moment, we don’t really know. Current counts, based on characteristics of homeless adults, don’t account for the distinct characteristics of the youth population and, as a result, don’t gather even sparse data on this sub-population. As awareness of youth homelessness increases, the Commonwealth must take the first step in combating unaccompanied youth homelessness by defining the population. Continue reading

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