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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Copson, Elizabeth; Schneider, Glen; Elkin, Sam; Sarfo, Bright; Kappil, Tresa; Ma, Claire; Morrison, Carly; Nakas, Audra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    A key challenge facing policymakers and program administrators is how to develop effective strategies to help Americans facing economic challenges, particularly the long-term unemployed, to succeed in the labor market. During the deep recession of 2008-2009, an unprecedented number of workers lost their jobs and many remained under- or unemployed, even as the economy recovered. Identifying what strategies that can help them regain their economic footing has been a priority, with a particular interest in employment in higher-paying middle- and high-skill jobs that are in demand by American businesses.

    As part of this effort, in 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funded the Ready to Work (RTW) Partnership grant program that is the focus of this report. RTW grants went to partnerships of workforce agencies, training providers, employers, and other organizations, to improve the employment prospects of the long-term unemployed by providing a range of customized services including training and job search assistance. The intent of the RTW grant program is to establish...

    A key challenge facing policymakers and program administrators is how to develop effective strategies to help Americans facing economic challenges, particularly the long-term unemployed, to succeed in the labor market. During the deep recession of 2008-2009, an unprecedented number of workers lost their jobs and many remained under- or unemployed, even as the economy recovered. Identifying what strategies that can help them regain their economic footing has been a priority, with a particular interest in employment in higher-paying middle- and high-skill jobs that are in demand by American businesses.

    As part of this effort, in 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funded the Ready to Work (RTW) Partnership grant program that is the focus of this report. RTW grants went to partnerships of workforce agencies, training providers, employers, and other organizations, to improve the employment prospects of the long-term unemployed by providing a range of customized services including training and job search assistance. The intent of the RTW grant program is to establish programs that might prove effective in preparing U.S. workers for employment, particularly in occupations and industries being filled by foreign workers through the H-1B visa program. In 2014, DOL awarded four-year grants totaling $170 million to 23 grantees, with individual awards ranging from $3 to $10 million.

    DOL's Employment and Training Administration, in collaboration with the Chief Evaluation Office, sponsored a rigorous evaluation of the RTW grant program. The evaluation includes an implementation and impact study and is being conducted by Abt Associates and its partner MEF Associates. In consultation with DOL, the evaluation team purposively selected four grantees for study based on their program design and scale.

    This report documents early findings from the evaluation's implementation study of the four grantees. For each grantee, the report describes the design and operation of its grant-funded program components, including staff guidance, occupational training, employment readiness and job search assistance, work-based training, and other services individualized to each participant's needs and skill gaps. The report also presents key findings related to the implementation and operation of the programs. Future reports will examine the effectiveness of the four grantee programs individually in improving participants' education and employment outcomes. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Alamprese, Judith A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    Oregon’s Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD) launched the Oregon Pathways for Adult Basic Skills Transition to Education and Work (OPABS) Initiative in 2006 to assist low-skilled adults’ transition from the state’s Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs to postsecondary education.

    OPABS, with its multiple components of services, was designed to address a key policy issue in Oregon—to build a pipeline of prepared ABS learners to enter postsecondary education and training programs that result in jobs in high-demand occupations. Increasing human capital has continued to be a priority for the state through the passage of Senate Bill 253 in 2011 which set the goal that by 2025, 40 percent of adult Oregonians will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent will have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential, and 20 percent or less will have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. OPABS has been a key strategy for CCWD in working toward this goal and represents a significant investment in the state’s ABS program.

    ...

    Oregon’s Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD) launched the Oregon Pathways for Adult Basic Skills Transition to Education and Work (OPABS) Initiative in 2006 to assist low-skilled adults’ transition from the state’s Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs to postsecondary education.

    OPABS, with its multiple components of services, was designed to address a key policy issue in Oregon—to build a pipeline of prepared ABS learners to enter postsecondary education and training programs that result in jobs in high-demand occupations. Increasing human capital has continued to be a priority for the state through the passage of Senate Bill 253 in 2011 which set the goal that by 2025, 40 percent of adult Oregonians will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent will have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential, and 20 percent or less will have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. OPABS has been a key strategy for CCWD in working toward this goal and represents a significant investment in the state’s ABS program.

    Twelve of the state’s 17 ABS programs have implemented OPABS at some point since OPABS began. As of fall 2013, three of the ABS programs have adopted OPABS as the main instructional approach for their ABS programs.

    Since the inception of OPABS, Abt Associates has worked with CCWD to assist with OPABS design, implementation, and data collection. This final report describes OPABS framework, activities, and products; lessons from OPABS implementation; and implications for supporting OPABS sustainability and effectiveness. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Strawn, Julie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Students forced to complete a long sequence of remedial or English language classes before they can begin their postsecondary program rarely earn college certificates or degrees. This brief highlights six promising programs that show how career pathway bridges help lower-skilled students move farther and faster along college and career paths through dual enrollment in linked basic skills and occupational certificate courses. Because creating such bridges requires collaboration across college silos, they can also transform the way colleges operate. (author abstract)

    Students forced to complete a long sequence of remedial or English language classes before they can begin their postsecondary program rarely earn college certificates or degrees. This brief highlights six promising programs that show how career pathway bridges help lower-skilled students move farther and faster along college and career paths through dual enrollment in linked basic skills and occupational certificate courses. Because creating such bridges requires collaboration across college silos, they can also transform the way colleges operate. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kazis, Richard; Liebowitz, Marty
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    In recent years, interest has grown in the role of community colleges in helping low-skill and low-income individuals advance out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. In part, this interest is a reaction to the shortcomings of traditional workforce and adult education programs. It also reflects the impressive efforts of innovative community colleges to focus resources and leadership attention on strategies to improve postsecondary attainment, persistence, and program completion for lower-income working adults.

    MDRC’s Opening Doors to Earning Credentials project and its early reports echoed the conclusions of Norton Grubb, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and others regarding the potential of community colleges — that community colleges are the local educational institutions with the greatest potential for helping low-wage workers earn skills and credentials that lead to both educational and career advancement. At the same time, Opening Doors identified serious obstacles to realizing that potential, including the characteristics of the low-wage...

    In recent years, interest has grown in the role of community colleges in helping low-skill and low-income individuals advance out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. In part, this interest is a reaction to the shortcomings of traditional workforce and adult education programs. It also reflects the impressive efforts of innovative community colleges to focus resources and leadership attention on strategies to improve postsecondary attainment, persistence, and program completion for lower-income working adults.

    MDRC’s Opening Doors to Earning Credentials project and its early reports echoed the conclusions of Norton Grubb, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and others regarding the potential of community colleges — that community colleges are the local educational institutions with the greatest potential for helping low-wage workers earn skills and credentials that lead to both educational and career advancement. At the same time, Opening Doors identified serious obstacles to realizing that potential, including the characteristics of the low-wage workforce, the institutional structure and priorities of most community colleges, and the external policy environment in which they operate.

    MDRC has identified three strategies that might enable colleges to be more effective in helping working adults obtain college credentials. These are: (1) financial incentives that can address the high cost of college for low-income individuals; (2) student supports that can help working adults cope with academic, personal, and other problems that often result in their dropping or stopping out; and (3) program and curricular innovations and redesign that can cope with the severe time constraints, skill needs, and job advancement hopes of working adults.

    MDRC asked Jobs for the Future to look at curricular and program redesign strategies being used in community colleges today to speed advancement from lower levels of skill into credential programs and to shorten the time commitment that earning a credential demands of students. This paper presents a framework for understanding the range of experimentation with program and class reformatting and redesign. It identifies programs that exemplify promising approaches. The paper concludes with issues and questions that MDRC will need to address in assessing whether to proceed with a research program focused on program redesign efforts geared to working adults’ needs. (Author abstract)

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