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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Grubb, W. Norton
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    Over the past three decades, job training programs have proliferated in response to mounting problems of unemployment, poverty, and expanding welfare rolls. These programs and the institutions that administer them have grown to a number and complexity that make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to interpret their effectiveness. Learning to Work offers a comprehensive assessment of efforts to move individuals into the workforce, and explains why their success has been limited.

    Learning to Work offers a complete history of job training in the United States, beginning with the Department of Labor's manpower development programs in the 1960s and detailing the expansion of services through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act in the 1970s and the Job Training Partnership Act in the 1980s. Other programs have sprung from the welfare system or were designed to meet the needs of various state and corporate development initiatives. The result is a complex mosaic of welfare-to-work, second-chance training, and experimental programs, all with their own goals,...

    Over the past three decades, job training programs have proliferated in response to mounting problems of unemployment, poverty, and expanding welfare rolls. These programs and the institutions that administer them have grown to a number and complexity that make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to interpret their effectiveness. Learning to Work offers a comprehensive assessment of efforts to move individuals into the workforce, and explains why their success has been limited.

    Learning to Work offers a complete history of job training in the United States, beginning with the Department of Labor's manpower development programs in the 1960s and detailing the expansion of services through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act in the 1970s and the Job Training Partnership Act in the 1980s. Other programs have sprung from the welfare system or were designed to meet the needs of various state and corporate development initiatives. The result is a complex mosaic of welfare-to-work, second-chance training, and experimental programs, all with their own goals, methodology, institutional administration, and funding.

    Learning to Work examines the findings of the most recent and sophisticated job training evaluations and what they reveal for each type of program. Which agendas prove most effective? Do their effects last over time? How well do programs benefit various populations, from welfare recipients to youths to displaced employees in need of retraining? The results are not encouraging. Many programs increase employment and reduce welfare dependence, but by meager increments, and the results are often temporary. On average most programs boosted earnings by only $200 to $500 per year, and even these small effects tended to decay after four or five years. Overall, job training programs moved very few individuals permanently off welfare, and provided no entry into a middle-class occupation or income.

    Learning to Work provides possible explanations for these poor results, citing the limited scope of individual programs, their lack of linkages to other programs or job-related opportunities, the absence of academic content or solid instructional methods, and their vulnerability to local political interference. Author Norton Grubb traces the root of these problems to the inherent separation of job training programs from the more successful educational system. He proposes consolidating the two domains into a clearly defined hierarchy of programs that combine school- and work-based instruction and employ proven methods of student-centered, project-based teaching. By linking programs tailored to every level of need and replacing short-term job training with long-term education, a system could be created to enable individuals to achieve increasing levels of economic success.

    The problems that job training programs address are too serious too ignore. Learning to Work tells us what's wrong with job training today, and offers a practical vision for reform. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fein, David J.; Beecroft, Eric; Long, David A.; Catalfamo, Andrée Rose
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to...

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to work. The second is whether making work a condition of education and training increases motivation to learn and enhances short-run job retention and advancement opportunities. The third is whether providing remedial education and support services helps participants to succeed in regular college programs, thereby increasing their access to higher-paying jobs over the long run…

    This report reviews the literature on special programs for welfare recipients at two- and four-year colleges, describes the New Visions demonstration, and provides initial findings on program implementation and client experiences. The findings come at a very early juncture in the demonstration and are offered as an introduction to New Visions rather than as a preview of its likely outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sawhill, Isabel V.; Haskins, Ron
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2009

    Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged. They emphasize individual responsibility as an indispensable basis for successful policies and programs. The authors recommend a three-pronged approach to create more opportunity in America: " Increase education for children and youth at the preschool, K--12, and postsecondary levels " Encourage and support work among adults " Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births while increasing the share of children reared by their married parents With...

    Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged. They emphasize individual responsibility as an indispensable basis for successful policies and programs. The authors recommend a three-pronged approach to create more opportunity in America: " Increase education for children and youth at the preschool, K--12, and postsecondary levels " Encourage and support work among adults " Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births while increasing the share of children reared by their married parents With concern for the federal deficit in mind, Haskins and Sawhill argue for reallocating existing resources, especially from the affluent elderly to disadvantaged children and their families. The authors are optimistic that a judicious use of the nation's resources can level the playing field and produce more opportunity for all. Creating an Opportunity Society offers the most complete summary available of the facts and the factors that contribute to economic opportunity. It looks at the poor, the middle class, and the rich, providing deep background data on how each group has fared in recent decades. Unfortunately, only the rich have made substantial progress, making this book a timely guide forward for anyone interested in what we can do as a society to improve the prospects for our less-advantaged families and fellow citizens. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fein, David J.
    Reference Type: Report, Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2012

    Career pathways is gaining steady acceptance as an integrative framework for promising approaches to post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skill adults. Its central thesis is that instruction should be organized as a series of manageable and well-articulated steps, accompanied by strong supports and connections to employment. The steps provide opportunities for pre-college-level students to access college-level training and for better-skilled students to move to successively higher levels of credential-bearing training and employment. Each step is designed to incorporate customized curricula and instruction, academic and non-academic supports, and employment experiences and opportunities.

    This framework is being used both to design discrete programs and to foster more systemic change. Programs—whose evaluation is the focus of this paper—typically concentrate on a subset of steps and embody varying service strategies. Systemic change initiatives entail wider-scale institutional realignments and coordination, seeking to weave together larger webs of...

    Career pathways is gaining steady acceptance as an integrative framework for promising approaches to post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skill adults. Its central thesis is that instruction should be organized as a series of manageable and well-articulated steps, accompanied by strong supports and connections to employment. The steps provide opportunities for pre-college-level students to access college-level training and for better-skilled students to move to successively higher levels of credential-bearing training and employment. Each step is designed to incorporate customized curricula and instruction, academic and non-academic supports, and employment experiences and opportunities.

    This framework is being used both to design discrete programs and to foster more systemic change. Programs—whose evaluation is the focus of this paper—typically concentrate on a subset of steps and embody varying service strategies. Systemic change initiatives entail wider-scale institutional realignments and coordination, seeking to weave together larger webs of program and resources into seamless pathways whose diverse contributing sources are transparent from the student’s perspective.

    The career pathways model is relatively new, and its effectiveness—and the effectiveness of most of its components—have not been rigorously evaluated. Effectiveness research often is not the first priority in the early years of an innovation, and career pathways poses special challenges for evaluation design. The underlying model is complex and multifaceted. Thus far it has been articulated loosely for description and promotion but not specified as a tighter framework capable of guiding research. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Werner, Alan; Rappaport, Catherine D.; Stuart, Jennifer B.; Lewis, Jennifer
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In recent years workforce development and welfare reform policy and programs, as well as the nation’s technical and community colleges, have been faced increasingly with the challenge of preparing low-income individuals with limited vocational skills and work experience for better-paying jobs requiring post-secondary training. Career pathways (CP) programs have developed over the past decade as a comprehensive framework of adult developmental and vocational education and supportive services designed to address this challenge. They represent a potential structural change in the system of vocational training for their target populations. Most of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) programs have implemented workforce development programs that include many, if not all, of the essential components of the CP framework. This report reviews selected research studies on CP program design, implementation, outcomes and impacts. It is intended to inform the design of an implementation, systems and outcomes evaluation of HPOG. This evaluation (referred to as the HPOG National...

    In recent years workforce development and welfare reform policy and programs, as well as the nation’s technical and community colleges, have been faced increasingly with the challenge of preparing low-income individuals with limited vocational skills and work experience for better-paying jobs requiring post-secondary training. Career pathways (CP) programs have developed over the past decade as a comprehensive framework of adult developmental and vocational education and supportive services designed to address this challenge. They represent a potential structural change in the system of vocational training for their target populations. Most of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) programs have implemented workforce development programs that include many, if not all, of the essential components of the CP framework. This report reviews selected research studies on CP program design, implementation, outcomes and impacts. It is intended to inform the design of an implementation, systems and outcomes evaluation of HPOG. This evaluation (referred to as the HPOG National Implementation Evaluation) is being designed to address the following major research questions:

    • • How are health professions training programs being implemented across the grantee sites?
    • • What changes to the service delivery system are associated with program implementation?
    • • What individual-level outputs and outcomes occur (for example: recruitment, enrollment, retention, completion, certification, job entry, employment retention and advancement, and earnings)?
    • • What can be learned about how best to implement these programs for this population (what implementation and/or systems components are related to program outputs and outcomes)?
    • • What key components appear necessary or contribute to the success of these programs?

    This literature review essay includes a section on CP program design and implementation, a section on outcome and impact studies and a section summarizing the implications of the research literature for the HPOG National Implementation Evaluation design. (author abstract)

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