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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: Iowa Skills2Complete Coalition
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition is a statewide partnership of Iowa’s business, community, education, legislative, and workforce development leaders that serve as an organized voice for “skills” at the state’s capital and build more policymaker support for state policies that grow Iowa’s economy by investing in its workforce.

    The Coalition applauds the smart investments in the state’s workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers that Iowa’s policymakers have made over the last two years. Funding for community colleges has increased by almost 8 percent, although it still falls short of pre-recession levels. The state legislature also passed legislation to create three new programs that address the skills gap and help more adult workers access the necessary education and training required by jobs in today’s labor market. The Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Act enables community colleges to develop bridge programs to help adults with limited academic or English skills build basic skills and prepare for credit-bearing postsecondary education programs. The GAP...

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition is a statewide partnership of Iowa’s business, community, education, legislative, and workforce development leaders that serve as an organized voice for “skills” at the state’s capital and build more policymaker support for state policies that grow Iowa’s economy by investing in its workforce.

    The Coalition applauds the smart investments in the state’s workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers that Iowa’s policymakers have made over the last two years. Funding for community colleges has increased by almost 8 percent, although it still falls short of pre-recession levels. The state legislature also passed legislation to create three new programs that address the skills gap and help more adult workers access the necessary education and training required by jobs in today’s labor market. The Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Act enables community colleges to develop bridge programs to help adults with limited academic or English skills build basic skills and prepare for credit-bearing postsecondary education programs. The GAP Tuition Assistance Program supports students enrolled in non-credit certificate programs, the cost of which is not covered by federal financial aid, and yet offers the opportunity to earn certificates necessary to qualify for many middle-skill jobs. The Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant Program helps students who are seeking education and training for jobs in industries experiencing acute shortages of skilled workers.

    Most recently, the Governor announced his Skilled Iowa Initiative which seeks to help more Iowans earn the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and encourage more employers to consider and hire workers who have earned this credential. The Skilled Iowa Initiative is designed to improve the job training and marketability of Iowa’s workforce and drive future economic growth for the state. Similar initiatives throughout the country have changed the landscape of local economies through programs that incorporate this nationally recognized assessment system. The assessment was designed to measure individual workers’ skills in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition recognizes that the Skilled Iowa Initiative contains important components of engaging employers in the state’s strategies and helping more Iowans learn the skill sets required for the labor market.

    The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition offers these policy recommendations to complement and accelerate the steps Iowa’s policymakers have already taken for the state’s industries and workers:

    - Appropriate $5 million in state revenue for adult basic education and integrated learning programs, which combine literacy skill development with job training, to help more low-skill adult workers get on a path toward earning postsecondary credentials and having the necessary skills for employment.

    - Invest in the use of pathway navigators at a level of $2 million to ensure adult learners enrolled in career pathways programs complete these programs and earn skilled credentials.

    - Create capacity within existing postsecondary education and job training funding to develop regional industry sector partnerships around the state.

    -Ensure Iowa’s education and workforce development system has the capacity to evaluate the impact of its initiatives and programs on closing skill gaps in key industries and counting numbers of credentials earned by workers through these efforts. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bellotti, Jeanne; Derr, Michelle; Paxton, Nora
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    In July 2007, the Employment and Training Administration awarded grants to five organizations to assist ex-offenders transition back into their communities under the Beneficiary Choice Contracting Program. The demonstration is based on the core premise that helping formerly incarcerated individuals find and maintain stable and legal employment will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The cornerstone of the beneficiary choice approach is the participant's choice of the service provider that best meets his/her needs. The demonstration includes the added element of performance-based contracting for those services.

    This report, Giving Ex-Offenders a Choice in Life: First Findings from the Beneficiary Choice Demonstration, was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Information included in the report was gathered during visits to each grantee community and after intense discussions at grantee conferences sponsored by the Department of Labor. The report includes a description of the grantees and the communities in which they operate; the grantees’...

    In July 2007, the Employment and Training Administration awarded grants to five organizations to assist ex-offenders transition back into their communities under the Beneficiary Choice Contracting Program. The demonstration is based on the core premise that helping formerly incarcerated individuals find and maintain stable and legal employment will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The cornerstone of the beneficiary choice approach is the participant's choice of the service provider that best meets his/her needs. The demonstration includes the added element of performance-based contracting for those services.

    This report, Giving Ex-Offenders a Choice in Life: First Findings from the Beneficiary Choice Demonstration, was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Information included in the report was gathered during visits to each grantee community and after intense discussions at grantee conferences sponsored by the Department of Labor. The report includes a description of the grantees and the communities in which they operate; the grantees’ experiences in developing the programs; the characteristics of participants enrolled during the initial months of operation; and some of their early employment-related outcomes. Of particular interest, the report also includes a description of grantees’ initial efforts to ensure that participants have a truly independent choice of service providers. The early successes and ongoing challenges faced by the grantees when implementing the indirect funding approach through performance-based contracting are also identified in the report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kauff, Jacqueline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This report represents the first step in the process of identifying initiatives intended to assist TANF recipients living with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment that may be worthy of further study. The outcomes and impacts of such initiatives are of substantial interest to program administrators and policymakers for several reasons. First and foremost is the concern over the well-being of these recipients and their families. Second, these initiatives often require considerable staff effort and intensive services and, therefore, can be costly to implement. Third, states and localities are under growing pressure to meet increased federally mandated work participation rates and recipients living with disabilities are one of many groups that program administrators and policymakers may consider targeting to increase those rates. To assist program administrators and policymakers in deciding how they should spend limited resources, it is critical to know whether the initiatives are, indeed, producing their desired effects. The time may be ripe for rigorously testing the...

    This report represents the first step in the process of identifying initiatives intended to assist TANF recipients living with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment that may be worthy of further study. The outcomes and impacts of such initiatives are of substantial interest to program administrators and policymakers for several reasons. First and foremost is the concern over the well-being of these recipients and their families. Second, these initiatives often require considerable staff effort and intensive services and, therefore, can be costly to implement. Third, states and localities are under growing pressure to meet increased federally mandated work participation rates and recipients living with disabilities are one of many groups that program administrators and policymakers may consider targeting to increase those rates. To assist program administrators and policymakers in deciding how they should spend limited resources, it is critical to know whether the initiatives are, indeed, producing their desired effects. The time may be ripe for rigorously testing the impact of employment initiatives for low-income families living with disabilities and this report presents some potential options for doing so. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martin, Emily S.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Kauff, Jacqueline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Some TANF recipients may have disabilities that would qualify them for the specialized employment preparation services Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies provide. TANF recipients may seek out VR services on their own, or be referred to VR by a TANF case manager on his or her own accord, however, because VR is an unfamiliar service system, few may be inclined to do so. Creating a formal partnership between the agencies can ensure that all TANF recipients who can benefit from VR services have access to them. Though linking the services of these two agencies through formal cooperative agreements is not a widespread strategy, some states have had such partnerships in place for many years and other states are developing them. This practice brief explores the benefits and challenges of linking TANF and VR services, describes partnerships that have been formed in Vermont and Iowa, then discusses key features that appear to be critical to developing a successful partnership. (author abstract)

    Some TANF recipients may have disabilities that would qualify them for the specialized employment preparation services Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies provide. TANF recipients may seek out VR services on their own, or be referred to VR by a TANF case manager on his or her own accord, however, because VR is an unfamiliar service system, few may be inclined to do so. Creating a formal partnership between the agencies can ensure that all TANF recipients who can benefit from VR services have access to them. Though linking the services of these two agencies through formal cooperative agreements is not a widespread strategy, some states have had such partnerships in place for many years and other states are developing them. This practice brief explores the benefits and challenges of linking TANF and VR services, describes partnerships that have been formed in Vermont and Iowa, then discusses key features that appear to be critical to developing a successful partnership. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gardiner, Karen; Martinson, Karin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    There is longstanding interest among policy makers and program operators in finding ways to increase the skill levels of low-income individuals, improve their enrollment in and completion of post-secondary education, and improve their economic prospects. The career pathways approach is gaining steady acceptance as a promising strategy to address these challenges and improve post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skilled adults.

    This summary is an easy-to-read overview of the Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency project; a major national effort to evaluate the effectiveness of nine career pathways programs using an experimental design. the ISIS study. The summary includes the frame career pathway programming, the promise of these programs, and a list of the nine programs being evaluated in the study. (author abstract)

    There is longstanding interest among policy makers and program operators in finding ways to increase the skill levels of low-income individuals, improve their enrollment in and completion of post-secondary education, and improve their economic prospects. The career pathways approach is gaining steady acceptance as a promising strategy to address these challenges and improve post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skilled adults.

    This summary is an easy-to-read overview of the Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency project; a major national effort to evaluate the effectiveness of nine career pathways programs using an experimental design. the ISIS study. The summary includes the frame career pathway programming, the promise of these programs, and a list of the nine programs being evaluated in the study. (author abstract)

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