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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: National Skills Coalition
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Comprehensive immigration reform has tremendous economic potential for individuals and the nation as a whole and will result in far-reaching changes to the labor market. In order to create economic growth and opportunity, though, the legislation must include an equally ambitious, integrated investment in skills—far greater than what is currently proposed. There will likely be a significant increase in demand for adult education by currently undocumented immigrants, not to mention the already existing unmet need for English language, adult literacy, and skills training for U.S. citizens. The proposal currently under consideration is insufficient to meet these growing programmatic demands. With support from the Ford Foundation, NSC has worked with local and national partners with expertise in workforce development, adult education and immigrant integration, to develop this proposal for a skills strategy that would dramatically increase the amount and impact of resources available for skills training – for immigrant and native-born workers – without increasing the cost of...

    Comprehensive immigration reform has tremendous economic potential for individuals and the nation as a whole and will result in far-reaching changes to the labor market. In order to create economic growth and opportunity, though, the legislation must include an equally ambitious, integrated investment in skills—far greater than what is currently proposed. There will likely be a significant increase in demand for adult education by currently undocumented immigrants, not to mention the already existing unmet need for English language, adult literacy, and skills training for U.S. citizens. The proposal currently under consideration is insufficient to meet these growing programmatic demands. With support from the Ford Foundation, NSC has worked with local and national partners with expertise in workforce development, adult education and immigrant integration, to develop this proposal for a skills strategy that would dramatically increase the amount and impact of resources available for skills training – for immigrant and native-born workers – without increasing the cost of comprehensive immigration reform. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bettinger, Eric P.; Boatman, Angela; Long, Bridget Terry
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Low rates of college completion are a major problem in the United States. Less than 60 percent of students at four-year colleges graduate within six years, and at some colleges, the graduation rate is less than 10 percent. Additionally, many students enter higher education ill-prepared to comprehend college-level course material. Some estimates suggest that only one-third of high school graduates finish ready for college work; the proportion is even lower among older students. Colleges have responded to the poor preparation of incoming students by placing approximately 35 to 40 percent of entering freshmen into remedial or developmental courses, along with providing academic supports such as summer bridge programs, learning communities, academic counseling, and tutoring, as well as student supports such as financial aid and child care. Eric Bettinger, Angela Boatman, and Bridget Terry Long describe the role, costs, and impact of these college remediation and academic support programs.

    According to a growing body of research, the effects of remedial courses are considerably...

    Low rates of college completion are a major problem in the United States. Less than 60 percent of students at four-year colleges graduate within six years, and at some colleges, the graduation rate is less than 10 percent. Additionally, many students enter higher education ill-prepared to comprehend college-level course material. Some estimates suggest that only one-third of high school graduates finish ready for college work; the proportion is even lower among older students. Colleges have responded to the poor preparation of incoming students by placing approximately 35 to 40 percent of entering freshmen into remedial or developmental courses, along with providing academic supports such as summer bridge programs, learning communities, academic counseling, and tutoring, as well as student supports such as financial aid and child care. Eric Bettinger, Angela Boatman, and Bridget Terry Long describe the role, costs, and impact of these college remediation and academic support programs.

    According to a growing body of research, the effects of remedial courses are considerably nuanced. The courses appear to help or hinder students differently by state, institution, background, and academic preparedness. The mixed findings from earlier research have raised questions ranging from whether remedial programs, on average, improve student academic outcomes to which types of programs are most effective. Administrators, practitioners, and policy makers are responding by redesigning developmental courses and searching for ways to implement effective remediation programs more broadly. In addition, recent research suggests that colleges may be placing too many students into remedial courses unnecessarily, suggesting the need for further examining the placement processes used to assign students to remedial courses.

    The authors expand the scope of remediation research by discussing other promising areas of academic support commonly offered by colleges, including advising, tutoring, and mentoring programs, as well as supports that target the competing responsibilities of students, namely caring for dependents and balancing employment with schoolwork. They conclude that the limited resources of institutions and equally limited funds of students make it imperative for postsecondary institutions to improve student academic supports and other services. (author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda Yuriko
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Recent waves of immigration have made public housing populations around the nation increasingly diverse, challenging housing authorities to find new ways to provide employment assistance to residents of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. This report examines how the challenge was met by administrators and staff at two housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, a demonstration project under way in six cities that combines employment assistance, rent incentives, and community-building supports to make work pay by significantly increasing residents’ income. At the two developments — Rainier Vista in Seattle, Washington, and Mt. Airy Homes in St. Paul, Minnesota — immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America who speak nearly two dozen languages settled alongside native-born African-American and Caucasian residents. The varied needs of the foreign-born residents extended far beyond basic language training and assistance in preparing for the...

    Recent waves of immigration have made public housing populations around the nation increasingly diverse, challenging housing authorities to find new ways to provide employment assistance to residents of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds. This report examines how the challenge was met by administrators and staff at two housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, a demonstration project under way in six cities that combines employment assistance, rent incentives, and community-building supports to make work pay by significantly increasing residents’ income. At the two developments — Rainier Vista in Seattle, Washington, and Mt. Airy Homes in St. Paul, Minnesota — immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America who speak nearly two dozen languages settled alongside native-born African-American and Caucasian residents. The varied needs of the foreign-born residents extended far beyond basic language training and assistance in preparing for the workforce. A diverse group themselves, the immigrant residents included urban professionals in need of certification to practice in the United States, rural villagers barely literate in their native languages, and others afflicted by physical ailments and psychological traumas arising from war, torture, and famine.

    By their variety and prevalence in the lives of the developments’ residents, these distinctive issues presented major challenges:

    • Reading cultural cues. Social, personal, and domestic issues that hamper the work efforts of low-income people in the United States had additional cultural dimensions in the case of the foreign-born residents that did not respond readily to standard employment and support services. For instance, foreign-born residents were often reluctant to use professional child care for fear of exposing their children to alien cultural practices, in addition to concern for their children’s safety. Thus, to supplement their broad knowledge of employment issues, the Jobs-Plus staff became well versed in the social cues of the ethnic groups, such as taboos that some groups had against certain foods or mixed meetings of men and women in these developments.
    • Values and work. Employment programs sometimes clashed with cultural priorities. Pressures to direct women into the workforce ran counter to residents’ desire to maintain their traditional gender roles. Similarly, efforts to encourage residents to invest in financial assets and homeownership programs competed with residents’ responsibility to  remit savings to relatives overseas.
    • Institutional barriers. Foreign-born residents were often unfamiliar with a range of institutions in the United States, including employment programs. To help close this gap, program staff adopted a flexible understanding of their service roles, often leaving their offices to reach out to residents in their homes and to accompany them off-site to social service agencies, medical clinics, and immigration offices.

    Administrative equity. Jobs-Plus programs had to balance residents’ needs and preferences for culturally specific services with the goals of preparing them to function in a diverse workplace and building a peaceful, multicultural community in the housing developments. And difficult choices have had to be made about which groups to accommodate with culturally specific services — decisions that inevitably incurred the dissatisfaction of those who were overlooked, including U.S.-born residents. To leverage limited funds and staff time, the programs partnered with local ethnic agencies and hired ethnic staff, including well-respected residents, to build trust and provide culturally appropriate services to the foreign-born residents. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Proscio, Tony
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Despite its high employment rate, the Near Northside Neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas, has a median income more than 40% below the citywide level. In 1999, the Near Northside Partners' Council (NNPC) became one of five centers for the national Neighborhood Jobs Initiative Demonstration. After extensive planning, the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative started full operation in Fort Worth's Near Northside in 2000. The Initiative is using a place-based approach to addressing the intermingled issues of culture, work, and intergenerational poverty by relying heavily on a network of cooperating community organizations with different specialties, including the Tarrant County College. The Initiative's initial objective has been to bring the level of adult employment among the heavily Latino neighborhood's residents to the level of the surrounding region over a period of several years while simultaneously working to increase the wages and quality of neighborhood residents' employment. Other areas on which the Initiative is placing special emphasis include encouraging more women to enter...

    Despite its high employment rate, the Near Northside Neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas, has a median income more than 40% below the citywide level. In 1999, the Near Northside Partners' Council (NNPC) became one of five centers for the national Neighborhood Jobs Initiative Demonstration. After extensive planning, the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative started full operation in Fort Worth's Near Northside in 2000. The Initiative is using a place-based approach to addressing the intermingled issues of culture, work, and intergenerational poverty by relying heavily on a network of cooperating community organizations with different specialties, including the Tarrant County College. The Initiative's initial objective has been to bring the level of adult employment among the heavily Latino neighborhood's residents to the level of the surrounding region over a period of several years while simultaneously working to increase the wages and quality of neighborhood residents' employment. Other areas on which the Initiative is placing special emphasis include encouraging more women to enter training and employment, improving residents' English, meeting the need for workers with computer skills, and managing the evolving program in a manner permitting quick response to new opportunities. As of mid-2001, the Initiative's APEX (Achieving Program Excellence) program had served roughly 200 people (about 2% of the neighborhood's population). (MN) (ERIC abstract)

  • Individual Author: Scrivener, Susan; Bloom, Dan ; LeBlanc, Allen ; Paxson, Christina ; Rouse, Cecilia E.; Sommo, Colleen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Over the past few decades, a postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has become more common. Unfortunately, however, many students leave college before receiving a degree, particularly those who are academically underprepared for college-level work. Many postsecondary institutions operate learning communities to promote students’ involvement and persistence in college. Learning communities typically place groups of students in two or more linked courses with mutually reinforcing themes and assignments. They seek to build peer relationships, intensify connections to faculty, and deepen understanding of coursework. While learning communities are increasingly popular, little rigorous evidence on their effects exists.

    As part of MDRC’s multisite Opening Doors demonstration, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York — a large, urban college with a diverse student population that includes many immigrants — operated one such learning community program. The program placed freshmen in groups of up to 25 who...

    Over the past few decades, a postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has become more common. Unfortunately, however, many students leave college before receiving a degree, particularly those who are academically underprepared for college-level work. Many postsecondary institutions operate learning communities to promote students’ involvement and persistence in college. Learning communities typically place groups of students in two or more linked courses with mutually reinforcing themes and assignments. They seek to build peer relationships, intensify connections to faculty, and deepen understanding of coursework. While learning communities are increasingly popular, little rigorous evidence on their effects exists.

    As part of MDRC’s multisite Opening Doors demonstration, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York — a large, urban college with a diverse student population that includes many immigrants — operated one such learning community program. The program placed freshmen in groups of up to 25 who took three classes together during their first semester: an English class, usually at the developmental level; an academic course, such as health or psychology; and a one-credit orientation course. The program provided enhanced counseling and tutoring as well as a voucher for textbooks.

    Using a rigorous research design, MDRC assigned 1,534 freshmen, at random, either to a program group that was eligible for the learning community or to a control group that received the college’s standard courses and services. Analyses in this report show that:

      • The program improved students’ college experience. Students in the program group felt more integrated and more engaged than students in the control group.
      • The program also improved some educational outcomes while students were in the learning community program, but the effects diminished in subsequent semesters. Program group students, for example, attempted and passed more courses and earned more credits during their first semester.
      • The program moved students more quickly through developmental English requirements. Students in the program group were more likely to take and pass English skills assessment tests that are required for graduation or transfer.
    • The evidence is mixed about whether the program increased persistence. Initially the program did not change the rate at which students reenrolled. In the last semester of the report’s two-year follow-up period, however, slightly more program group members than control group members attended college. (author abstract)

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