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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: Engstrom, Whitney; Fein, David; Gardiner, Karen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    A substantial skills gap exists between the education and training of the labor force and the needs of employers in many high growth industries, including healthcare and manufacturing. This gap results in unemployment while good paying jobs go unfilled. At the same time, many low-skilled adults persist in low wage work with little opportunity for advancement.

    Career pathways programs, like Year Up, are an approach to fill a vital need for skilled workers in the economy and offer low-wage workers the opportunity to obtain occupational and other skills and advance into the middle class.

    This brief was produced by Abt Associates as part of the Innovative Strategies to Increase Self-Sufficiency (ISIS) project, a random assignment evaluation of nine promising career pathways programs that aim to improve employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for low-income, low-skilled individuals. (author abstract)

    A substantial skills gap exists between the education and training of the labor force and the needs of employers in many high growth industries, including healthcare and manufacturing. This gap results in unemployment while good paying jobs go unfilled. At the same time, many low-skilled adults persist in low wage work with little opportunity for advancement.

    Career pathways programs, like Year Up, are an approach to fill a vital need for skilled workers in the economy and offer low-wage workers the opportunity to obtain occupational and other skills and advance into the middle class.

    This brief was produced by Abt Associates as part of the Innovative Strategies to Increase Self-Sufficiency (ISIS) project, a random assignment evaluation of nine promising career pathways programs that aim to improve employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for low-income, low-skilled individuals. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tessler, Betsy L.; Bangser, Michael; Pennington, Alexandra; Schaberg, Kelsey; Dalporto, Hannah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    The WorkAdvance program model integrates the most promising features of two especially important areas of workforce policy: “sectoral” strategies, which seek to meet the needs of both workers and employers by preparing individuals for quality jobs in specific high-demand industries or occupational clusters, and job retention and career advancement strategies, which seek to improve workers’ prospects for sustained employment and upward mobility. Specifically, the WorkAdvance model offers the following sequence of sector-focused program components to participants for up to two years after enrollment: preemployment and career readiness services, occupational skills training, job development and placement, and postemployment retention and advancement services. WorkAdvance programs are currently operated by four organizations (two in New York City, one in Tulsa, and one in Greater Cleveland) that focus on a variety of sectors and bring different types of experience and approaches to the implementation of WorkAdvance.

    This first report presents early findings on how the four...

    The WorkAdvance program model integrates the most promising features of two especially important areas of workforce policy: “sectoral” strategies, which seek to meet the needs of both workers and employers by preparing individuals for quality jobs in specific high-demand industries or occupational clusters, and job retention and career advancement strategies, which seek to improve workers’ prospects for sustained employment and upward mobility. Specifically, the WorkAdvance model offers the following sequence of sector-focused program components to participants for up to two years after enrollment: preemployment and career readiness services, occupational skills training, job development and placement, and postemployment retention and advancement services. WorkAdvance programs are currently operated by four organizations (two in New York City, one in Tulsa, and one in Greater Cleveland) that focus on a variety of sectors and bring different types of experience and approaches to the implementation of WorkAdvance.

    This first report presents early findings on how the four local program providers translated the WorkAdvance model into a workable program. It offers lessons that may be helpful to organizations seeking to implement a sector-focused career advancement program like WorkAdvance. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Zachry Rutschow, Elizabeth ; Grossman, Amanda; Cullinan, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    For the nearly 39 million U.S. adults who do not have a high school diploma, the General Educational Development (GED) programs and exam have served as the main avenue for improving individuals’ skills and helping them earn a high school credential. However, few students who start these programs ever get this credential and even fewer advance to the postsecondary education and higher-level training programs that could increase their earning potential. In response to this challenge, the American Council on Education (ACE) partnered with Pearson Inc. to release a new more rigorous GED test in 2014 that assesses the crucial thinking, writing, and analytical skills considered essential for success in today’s labor market. In addition, ACE partnered with the New York City Department of Education’s District 79 (D79), the Office for Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), and MDRC to create the Learning Pathways Pilots, a project aimed at improving students’ preparation for this new more rigorous exam.

    The pilots focused on revising a K-12 writing curriculum (based on the Writers...

    For the nearly 39 million U.S. adults who do not have a high school diploma, the General Educational Development (GED) programs and exam have served as the main avenue for improving individuals’ skills and helping them earn a high school credential. However, few students who start these programs ever get this credential and even fewer advance to the postsecondary education and higher-level training programs that could increase their earning potential. In response to this challenge, the American Council on Education (ACE) partnered with Pearson Inc. to release a new more rigorous GED test in 2014 that assesses the crucial thinking, writing, and analytical skills considered essential for success in today’s labor market. In addition, ACE partnered with the New York City Department of Education’s District 79 (D79), the Office for Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), and MDRC to create the Learning Pathways Pilots, a project aimed at improving students’ preparation for this new more rigorous exam.

    The pilots focused on revising a K-12 writing curriculum (based on the Writers Express [WEX]) and an adult basic education math curriculum (based on Extending Mathematical Power [EMPower]) to align with the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core is a set of nationally recognized K-12 language arts and math competencies upon which the new GED exam was based. These curricula were then implemented in dozens of D79 and OACE classrooms. This report details the findings from MDRC’s evaluation of the implementation of these curricula over the course of the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Marin, Vanessa; Broadus, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal...

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal financial aid for aspiring college students without a high school diploma or a GED, and by the planned 2014  implementation of a new GED exam that emphasizes college readiness. 

    To better understand how adult education programs might strengthen pathways to college and careers, MDRC, with financial support from the Robin Hood Foundation and MetLife Foundation, partnered with LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) to launch a small but rigorous study of the GED Bridge to Health and Business program. The GED Bridge program represents a promising new approach to GED instruction, as it aims to better prepare students not only to pass the GED exam, but also to continue on to college and training programs. MDRC has conducted several evaluations of programs that include GED preparation as one among many program components, but this evaluation is one of only a few to focus specifically on GED curriculum, program design, and efforts to forge a stronger link to college and career training. The results are highly encouraging: One year after enrolling in the program, Bridge students were far more likely to have completed the course, passed the GED exam, and enrolled in college than students in a more traditional GED preparation course. This brief details some of the key findings from this study as well as their implications for future research and for the development of stronger GED and adult education programming. (Author Abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinez, John; Fraker, Thomas; Manno, Michelle S.; Baird, Peter; Mamun, Arif; O'Day, Bonnie; Rangarajan, Anu; Wittenburg, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) is conducting the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) as part of a broader initiative to encourage disability beneficiaries to return to work. The demonstration provides youth ages 14 through 25 with employment-related services and waivers of certain rules governing the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs, including childhood disability benefits. The waivers augment existing financial incentives for beneficiaries to work.

    Originally, SSA selected seven organizations to develop and implement YTD projects through a Request for Applications in 2003. Subsequently, SSA contracted with a Mathematica-led team, which included MDRC and TransCen, Inc., to conduct a multisite evaluation of YTD based on an experimental research design. Six projects, including three of the original seven, are participating in this evaluation.

    The evaluation includes a process analysis of the implementation of the seven original projects; this report focuses on those implementation experiences. For the three...

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) is conducting the Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) as part of a broader initiative to encourage disability beneficiaries to return to work. The demonstration provides youth ages 14 through 25 with employment-related services and waivers of certain rules governing the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs, including childhood disability benefits. The waivers augment existing financial incentives for beneficiaries to work.

    Originally, SSA selected seven organizations to develop and implement YTD projects through a Request for Applications in 2003. Subsequently, SSA contracted with a Mathematica-led team, which included MDRC and TransCen, Inc., to conduct a multisite evaluation of YTD based on an experimental research design. Six projects, including three of the original seven, are participating in this evaluation.

    The evaluation includes a process analysis of the implementation of the seven original projects; this report focuses on those implementation experiences. For the three projects that were subsequently selected into the random assignment evaluation, the analysis is limited to their pre-random assignment, or pilot, experiences. For the remaining four, information from the full period of program operations is included. (Edited author abstract) 

     

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