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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 includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

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: 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)

  • Individual Author: Tao, Fumiyo; Alamprese, Judith A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    The Family Independence Initiative (FII) was developed by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) in 1997 to test the feasibility of implementing work-focused family literacy programs as an educational intervention to assist welfare recipients in meeting the requirements of welfare reform. The FII enhanced the services provided in NCFL’s comprehensive family literacy program, which consists of early childhood education, adult basic and literacy education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time, and Parent Time, by incorporating work-preparation and work-experience activities into the adult education component of family literacy. The assumption was that current or former welfare recipients could simultaneously develop their basic skills and learn strategies for obtaining and retaining employment as part of their family literacy experience.

    A key factor prompting the development of FII was the policy changes that were part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of...

    The Family Independence Initiative (FII) was developed by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) in 1997 to test the feasibility of implementing work-focused family literacy programs as an educational intervention to assist welfare recipients in meeting the requirements of welfare reform. The FII enhanced the services provided in NCFL’s comprehensive family literacy program, which consists of early childhood education, adult basic and literacy education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time, and Parent Time, by incorporating work-preparation and work-experience activities into the adult education component of family literacy. The assumption was that current or former welfare recipients could simultaneously develop their basic skills and learn strategies for obtaining and retaining employment as part of their family literacy experience.

    A key factor prompting the development of FII was the policy changes that were part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. This law shifted the focus of the nation’s welfare program from the provision of cash assistance to low-income parents to the promotion of work-preparation services and economic self-sufficiency. Two new mandates were instituted under TANF: a five-year, lifetime limit on adults’ eligibility to receive welfare cash assistance and a requirement that recipients participate in work-preparation services in order to receive the cash assistance. As social programs serving welfare recipients were preparing to address these policy changes, there were few models of service delivery available to help program participants obtain and retain employment, earn sufficient income, and support the economic needs of their families without government cash assistance. As a result, a number of state and local initiatives were developed to explore different welfare-to-work strategies to move welfare recipients into employment…

    The FII Follow-up Study had the following objectives:

    • To describe FII adult participants’ employment and educational outcomes, parenting practices, and social and community involvement one year after FII participation;
    • To describe the employment and educational experiences of participants during the two years after their participation in FII; and
    • To describe adult participants’ perceptions of what they learned from FII and its effects on their lives.

    (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Willard, Jacklyn; Bayes, Brian; Martinez, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    Despite efforts to improve the high school graduation rate in the United States, an estimated 7,200 students drop out of high school every day — a staggering 1.3 million every year. Further, a recent report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects that by 2020, nearly 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require at least some college education, out of reach for those who are unable to earn a high school diploma. Much more comprehensive alternative education programs are needed that put dropouts and students at risk of dropping out on a path to earn high school diplomas while also providing them with the academic skills and support necessary to be successful in their postsecondary pursuits.

    Gateway to College provides a comprehensive alternative education program in which students work toward earning their high school diplomas while simultaneously earning credits toward an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate. It is uniquely ambitious in providing struggling students with opportunities often reserved for the highest achievers, in the...

    Despite efforts to improve the high school graduation rate in the United States, an estimated 7,200 students drop out of high school every day — a staggering 1.3 million every year. Further, a recent report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects that by 2020, nearly 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require at least some college education, out of reach for those who are unable to earn a high school diploma. Much more comprehensive alternative education programs are needed that put dropouts and students at risk of dropping out on a path to earn high school diplomas while also providing them with the academic skills and support necessary to be successful in their postsecondary pursuits.

    Gateway to College provides a comprehensive alternative education program in which students work toward earning their high school diplomas while simultaneously earning credits toward an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate. It is uniquely ambitious in providing struggling students with opportunities often reserved for the highest achievers, in the belief that high expectations and the right support can help more students complete high school and transition to college.

    This report describes the implementation of Gateway to College. It has two main goals. The first is to provide an in-depth account of the Gateway to College model and to more precisely define the youth population the program serves. A clearer picture of the service population can provide insight into Gateway to College’s unique value and identify the students who might benefit most from it. The second goal is to describe the implementation of the Gateway to College model at three sites, assess the extent to which it is implemented as designed at those sites, and draw lessons for other Gateway to College sites.(Author Abstract)

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