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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: Darche, Svetlana; Nayar, Nara; Downs, Paul
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    This needs assessment documents important issues facing California’s adult education system. California, like the rest of the nation, is at a crossroads. Global economic conditions, an aging and increasingly diverse population, and critical challenges in the state's K-12 education system have created unprecedented pressures to focus on the education of adults as a means to strengthen the economy, build sustainable communities, and ensure that resources exist to serve those most in need. Inadequate attention to the education of adults will compromise the attainment of all of these goals.

    As documented in the report, California's K-12-based Adult Education system is positioned to reach a population group that is becoming increasingly important in the context of these intersecting challenges: adults with gaps in critical skills who are no longer school-age, and yet not ready for traditional postsecondary education and training or sustainable wage employment. Working-age Californians are the engine of the state’s economy, yet many lack the skills demanded by California’s...

    This needs assessment documents important issues facing California’s adult education system. California, like the rest of the nation, is at a crossroads. Global economic conditions, an aging and increasingly diverse population, and critical challenges in the state's K-12 education system have created unprecedented pressures to focus on the education of adults as a means to strengthen the economy, build sustainable communities, and ensure that resources exist to serve those most in need. Inadequate attention to the education of adults will compromise the attainment of all of these goals.

    As documented in the report, California's K-12-based Adult Education system is positioned to reach a population group that is becoming increasingly important in the context of these intersecting challenges: adults with gaps in critical skills who are no longer school-age, and yet not ready for traditional postsecondary education and training or sustainable wage employment. Working-age Californians are the engine of the state’s economy, yet many lack the skills demanded by California’s knowledge-based industries. Many in this group are also the parents of children in the K-12 system — the next generation — and the “backbones” of their communities, yet they often lack the knowledge and skills to help their children in school and provide models of success for youth, or to engage effectively in civic life. The California Adult Education system, administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), can significantly bridge these gaps, benefiting not only the economy in general and the workers themselves, but their children, their communities, and, through increased tax revenues, all who rely on California’s public services.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lesaux, Nonie K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Although most young children seem to master reading skills in the early grades of elementary school, many struggle with texts as they move through middle school and high school. Why do children who seem to be proficient readers in third grade have trouble comprehending texts in later grades? To answer this question, Nonie Lesaux describes what is known about reading development and instruction, homing in on research conducted with children from low-income and non-English-speaking homes. Using key insights from this research base, she offers two explanations. The first is that reading is a dynamic and multifaceted process that requires continued development if students are to keep pace with the increasing demands of school texts and tasks. The second lies in the role of reading assessment and instruction in U.S. schools.

    Lesaux draws a distinction between the "skills-based competencies" that readers need to sound out and recognize words and the "knowledge-based competencies" that include the conceptual and vocabulary knowledge necessary to comprehend a text’s meaning....

    Although most young children seem to master reading skills in the early grades of elementary school, many struggle with texts as they move through middle school and high school. Why do children who seem to be proficient readers in third grade have trouble comprehending texts in later grades? To answer this question, Nonie Lesaux describes what is known about reading development and instruction, homing in on research conducted with children from low-income and non-English-speaking homes. Using key insights from this research base, she offers two explanations. The first is that reading is a dynamic and multifaceted process that requires continued development if students are to keep pace with the increasing demands of school texts and tasks. The second lies in the role of reading assessment and instruction in U.S. schools.

    Lesaux draws a distinction between the "skills-based competencies" that readers need to sound out and recognize words and the "knowledge-based competencies" that include the conceptual and vocabulary knowledge necessary to comprehend a text’s meaning. Although U.S. schools have made considerable progress in teaching skills-based reading competencies that are the focus of the early grades, most have made much less progress in teaching the knowledge-based competencies students need to support reading comprehension in middle and high school. These knowledge-based competencies are key sources of lasting individual differences in reading outcomes, particularly among children growing up in low-income and non-English-speaking households.

    Augmenting literacy rates, Lesaux explains, will require considerable shifts in the way reading is assessed and taught in elementary and secondary schools. First, schools must conduct comprehensive reading assessments that discern learners’ (potential) sources of reading difficulties—in both skills-based and knowledge-based competencies. Second, educators must implement instructional approaches that offer promise for teaching the conceptual and knowledge-based reading. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Abt Associates, Inc.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    In 1995, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Jobs Initiative, a $30-million investment over eight years in six cities to help disadvantaged, low-skilled workers secure jobs earning family-supporting wages. As the Jobs Initiative unfolded, issues quickly arose demonstrating that race, ethnicity and cultural perspectives mattered for job seekers, employers and others – particularly workforce development organizations-involved in connecting these two groups. To share what the Jobs Initiative sites were learning about how these issues emerged in workforce development, the Foundation published Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race (2001), a report which offers a perspective about how to think, talk and act about the complexity of race and regional labor markets, particularly for low-skilled workers. Since that report, the Jobs Initiative experience illustrates that issues of race, ethnicity and culture arise along every point on the continuum of workforce development. Paying attention to these issues enhances the likelihood that workforce development efforts will achieve their...

    In 1995, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Jobs Initiative, a $30-million investment over eight years in six cities to help disadvantaged, low-skilled workers secure jobs earning family-supporting wages. As the Jobs Initiative unfolded, issues quickly arose demonstrating that race, ethnicity and cultural perspectives mattered for job seekers, employers and others – particularly workforce development organizations-involved in connecting these two groups. To share what the Jobs Initiative sites were learning about how these issues emerged in workforce development, the Foundation published Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race (2001), a report which offers a perspective about how to think, talk and act about the complexity of race and regional labor markets, particularly for low-skilled workers. Since that report, the Jobs Initiative experience illustrates that issues of race, ethnicity and culture arise along every point on the continuum of workforce development. Paying attention to these issues enhances the likelihood that workforce development efforts will achieve their desired results. Those involved in the Jobs Initiative know firsthand that these issues merit attention not only because of what they have learned but because these are timely issues worldwide. As the world economy becomes more global and as the U.S. becomes increasingly ethnically diverse, the world of work is changing. The demographics of America’s workforce historically have influenced the structure and evolution of this nation’s economy. Today, as the nation’s ethnic minority population grows, it is virtually impossible to overlook or ignore issues of race, ethnicity and culture, especially if workforce development efforts aimed at supporting low-skilled, entry-level workers are to succeed. By sharing lessons learned, the Jobs Initiative seeks again to contribute to a wider discourse about how to strengthen the success of America’s workforce by acknowledging and using to everyone’s advantage diverse racial, ethnic and cultural perspectives. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Teranishi, Robert T.; Suárez-Orozco, Carola; Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Immigrant youth and children of immigrants make up a large and increasing share of the nation's population, and over the next few decades they will constitute a significant portion of the U.S. workforce. Robert Teranishi, Carola Suarez-Orozco, and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco argue that increasing their educational attainment, economic productivity, and civic engagement should thus be a national priority.

    Community colleges offer one particularly important venue for achieving this objective. Because they are conveniently located, cost much less than four-year colleges, feature open admissions, and accommodate students who work or have family responsibilities, community colleges are well suited to meet the educational needs of immigrants who want to obtain an affordable postsecondary education, learn English-language skills, and prepare for the labor market. The authors explore how community colleges can serve immigrant students more effectively.

    Already, more immigrant students attend community colleges than any other type of postsecondary...

    Immigrant youth and children of immigrants make up a large and increasing share of the nation's population, and over the next few decades they will constitute a significant portion of the U.S. workforce. Robert Teranishi, Carola Suarez-Orozco, and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco argue that increasing their educational attainment, economic productivity, and civic engagement should thus be a national priority.

    Community colleges offer one particularly important venue for achieving this objective. Because they are conveniently located, cost much less than four-year colleges, feature open admissions, and accommodate students who work or have family responsibilities, community colleges are well suited to meet the educational needs of immigrants who want to obtain an affordable postsecondary education, learn English-language skills, and prepare for the labor market. The authors explore how community colleges can serve immigrant students more effectively.

    Already, more immigrant students attend community colleges than any other type of postsecondary institution. But community colleges could attract even more immigrant students through outreach programs that help them to apply and to navigate the financial aid system. Federal reforms should also allow financial aid to cover tuition for English as a Second Language courses. Community colleges themselves could raise funds to provide scholarships for immigrants and undocumented students.

    Although there are many good ideas for interventions that can boost enrollment and improve the performance of immigrant students in community colleges, rigorous research on effective programs is scant. The research community and community colleges need to work together closely to evaluate these programs with a view toward what works and why. Without such research, policy makers will find it difficult to improve the role of community colleges in increasing the educational achievement of immigrant students. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wilson, Jill H.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    An analysis of the labor market characteristics of the working-age limited English proficient (LEP) population in the United States and its largest metropolitan areas reveals that: Nearly one in 10 working-age U.S. adults—19.2 million persons aged 16 to 64—is considered limited English proficient. Two-thirds of this population speaks Spanish, but speakers of Asian and Pacific Island languages are most likely to be LEP. The vast majority of working-age LEP adults are immigrants, and those who entered the United States more recently are more likely to be LEP. Working-age LEP adults earn 25 to 40 percent less than their English proficient counterparts. While less educated overall than English proficient adults, most LEP adults have a high school diploma, and 15 percent hold a college degree. LEP workers concentrate in low-paying jobs and different industries than other workers. Most LEP adults reside in large metropolitan areas, but their numbers are growing fastest in smaller metro areas. Eighty-two percent of the working-age LEP population lives in 89 large metropolitan areas, and...

    An analysis of the labor market characteristics of the working-age limited English proficient (LEP) population in the United States and its largest metropolitan areas reveals that: Nearly one in 10 working-age U.S. adults—19.2 million persons aged 16 to 64—is considered limited English proficient. Two-thirds of this population speaks Spanish, but speakers of Asian and Pacific Island languages are most likely to be LEP. The vast majority of working-age LEP adults are immigrants, and those who entered the United States more recently are more likely to be LEP. Working-age LEP adults earn 25 to 40 percent less than their English proficient counterparts. While less educated overall than English proficient adults, most LEP adults have a high school diploma, and 15 percent hold a college degree. LEP workers concentrate in low-paying jobs and different industries than other workers. Most LEP adults reside in large metropolitan areas, but their numbers are growing fastest in smaller metro areas. Eighty-two percent of the working-age LEP population lives in 89 large metropolitan areas, and 10 metro areas account for half of this population. Large immigrant gateways and agricultural/border metro areas in California and Texas have the largest LEP shares of their working-age populations. Smaller metro areas such as Cape Coral, Indianapolis, and Omaha experienced the fastest growth in LEP population between 2000 and 2012. Los Angeles was the only metro area to experience a decline. Educational attainment and the native languages of LEP adults vary considerably across metro areas. The share who have completed high school ranges from 33 percent in Bakersfield to 85 percent in Jacksonville. Spanish is the most commonly spoken non-English language among LEP adults in 81 of the 89 large metro areas, but the share varies from a low of 5 percent in Honolulu to 99 percent in McAllen. Most working-age LEP people are in the labor force. A majority across all 89 large metro areas is working or looking for work, and in 19 metro areas, at least 70 percent are employed. Workers proficient in English earn anywhere from 17 percent to 135 percent more than LEP workers depending on their metro location. English proficiency is an essential gateway to economic opportunity for immigrant workers in the United States. Yet access to acquiring these skills is persistently limited by a lack of resources and attention. Increasing investment in adult English instruction—through more funding, targeted outreach, and instructional innovations—would enhance the human capital of immigrants that could lead to more productive work and better outcomes for their children. Given the large number of LEP workers in the United States and the fact that virtually all of the growth in the U.S. labor force over the next four decades is projected to come from immigrants and their children, it is in our collective interest to tackle this challenge head on. (author introduction)

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