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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: Bernstein, Hamutal; Eyster, Lauren; Yahner, Jennifer; Owen, Stephanie; Loprest, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    This report presents findings from the Systems Change Analysis of the 27 non-tribal HPOG grantees funded in 2010, which operated 49 programs. This study addresses the major research question: What changes to the service delivery system are associated with program implementation? This report considers the following topics:

    •  Inclusion of partners and stakeholders in HPOG networks;

    •  Roles and responsibilities of partners and stakeholders;

    •  Changes in collaboration within HPOG networks during the grant period;

    •  HPOG networks, local labor markets, and employer perspectives;

    •  Effectiveness and sustainability of programs and network relationships; and

    •  Lessons and policy implications.

    The Systems Change Analysis represents one of the first efforts to evaluate comprehensively the systems that can support career-pathways-based training programs for low-income adults. While this analysis is exploratory, it takes an initial step toward understanding systems change for training programs and offers some key lessons for future...

    This report presents findings from the Systems Change Analysis of the 27 non-tribal HPOG grantees funded in 2010, which operated 49 programs. This study addresses the major research question: What changes to the service delivery system are associated with program implementation? This report considers the following topics:

    •  Inclusion of partners and stakeholders in HPOG networks;

    •  Roles and responsibilities of partners and stakeholders;

    •  Changes in collaboration within HPOG networks during the grant period;

    •  HPOG networks, local labor markets, and employer perspectives;

    •  Effectiveness and sustainability of programs and network relationships; and

    •  Lessons and policy implications.

    The Systems Change Analysis represents one of the first efforts to evaluate comprehensively the systems that can support career-pathways-based training programs for low-income adults. While this analysis is exploratory, it takes an initial step toward understanding systems change for training programs and offers some key lessons for future efforts as well as policy implications. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Laychak, Ryan
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2016

    Posted by Ryan Laychak, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    In a 2014 report, researchers suggested that in today’s economy, a sizeable skills gap exists between job seekers and available jobs. Assessing data in New York City, the authors found over 44,000 current openings in “middle-skill” jobs but about half of New Yorkers age 25 and older lacked the training or skills to fill them. Employers today struggle to find skilled workers especially in the healthcare and technology sectors.

    Since 2012, the U.S. Departments of Education,...

    Posted by Ryan Laychak, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    In a 2014 report, researchers suggested that in today’s economy, a sizeable skills gap exists between job seekers and available jobs. Assessing data in New York City, the authors found over 44,000 current openings in “middle-skill” jobs but about half of New Yorkers age 25 and older lacked the training or skills to fill them. Employers today struggle to find skilled workers especially in the healthcare and technology sectors.

    Since 2012, the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor have proposed that workforce, education and human service programs and systems serving low-skill workers offer aligned “Career Pathways” supports to help address this growing gap. They define a career pathways approach as one that offers “a series of connected education and training strategies and support services that enable individuals to secure industry relevant certification and obtain employment within an occupational area and to advance to higher levels of future education and employment in that area.” Simply put, the approach provides opportunities for individuals to gain credentials that lead to long-term career paths.

    In recent years, there has been a growing practice and policy literature base discussing how to develop and implement career pathway programs. A 2014 report from CLASP in partnership with ten states that offer career pathway programs introduced a conceptual framework for implementing the approach. The report and accompanying materials identified several key aspects to a successful career pathways approach, including: quality education and training, consistent and non-duplicative assessments, supportive and employment services, and work experience. A 2013 literature review from the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE) on career pathway initiatives further identified the below common elements across most existing programs:

    • Training designed to overcome educational deficits and expedite the credential processes needed for sector-specific employment.
    • Counseling, tutoring, and other supportive services to help participants during training.
    • Employer engagement in program design and implementation.
    • Collaboration with key stakeholders and service providers.
    • Accessible training that fits into low-income participants’ life circumstances and schedules.

    Research in the career pathways field is also growing. There are several impact studies of career pathways programs underway, with promising interim findings. The 2013 literature review from OPRE, assessing existing research at the time, noted that in-process studies suggest that career pathway programs can produce positive outcomes for low-income populations and similar programs can increase employment and earnings opportunities. Initial or interim reports since on the WorkAdvance, Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) and Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) career pathways programs similarly found positive enrollment and completion rates for occupational skills training programs and high program engagement among participants.

    The SSRC and the OFA PeerTA Libraries contains numerous evaluation reports and stakeholder resources on career pathways literature, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more. 

  • Individual Author: Visher, Mary; Teres, Jedediah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    The low completion rates of students in community colleges have been well documented. Among students who enroll in community colleges hoping to earn a credential or transfer to a four-year institution, only about half achieve this goal within six years. Many factors contribute to these low success rates, including lack of financial support, lack of motivation and direction, competing demands from family and jobs, and inadequate college-readiness skills. In an effort to address some of those barriers and to increase the number of students who achieve their education and career goals, community colleges are turning increasingly to learning communities — in which cohorts of students are coenrolled in two or sometimes three courses that are linked by a common theme and are taught by a team of instructors who collaborate with each other around the syllabi and assignments.

    Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York, is a leader in the learning community movement. The college, which has run learning communities for many years and has a long history of implementing...

    The low completion rates of students in community colleges have been well documented. Among students who enroll in community colleges hoping to earn a credential or transfer to a four-year institution, only about half achieve this goal within six years. Many factors contribute to these low success rates, including lack of financial support, lack of motivation and direction, competing demands from family and jobs, and inadequate college-readiness skills. In an effort to address some of those barriers and to increase the number of students who achieve their education and career goals, community colleges are turning increasingly to learning communities — in which cohorts of students are coenrolled in two or sometimes three courses that are linked by a common theme and are taught by a team of instructors who collaborate with each other around the syllabi and assignments.

    Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York, is a leader in the learning community movement. The college, which has run learning communities for many years and has a long history of implementing innovative programs for its students, is one of six colleges participating in the National Center for Postsecondary Research’s Learning Communities Demonstration, in which random assignment evaluations are being used to determine the impacts of learning communities on students’ academic achievement. This report presents findings from an evaluation of Kingsborough’s unique Career-Focused Learning Communities program, the latest iteration in a series of learning community models designed and implemented by the college. It consisted of two courses required for a specific major and a third course called the “integrative seminar” that was designed to reinforce the learning in the two other courses and to expose students to information about careers in their selected major (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)

  • 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)

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