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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: U.S. Congress
    Reference Type: Statute
    Year: 1964

    This statute established a number of programs to improve the self-sufficiency of the poor, including Job Corps and other work training programs, community action programs to fight poverty at a local level, adult basic education programs, and Vista, a youth community service program. It also created loan programs for farms and small businesses, and pilot work-experience programs.

    Public Law No. 88-452 (1964).

    This statute established a number of programs to improve the self-sufficiency of the poor, including Job Corps and other work training programs, community action programs to fight poverty at a local level, adult basic education programs, and Vista, a youth community service program. It also created loan programs for farms and small businesses, and pilot work-experience programs.

    Public Law No. 88-452 (1964).

  • Individual Author: Comings, John P.; Cuban, Sondra; Bos, Johannes; Taylor, Catherine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Learning to read and write is a serious challenge for adult students, many of whom enter literacy programs with low skills, special learning needs, or negative past experiences in school. Adult responsibilities make it especially challenging for these students to persist in a literacy program long enough to make meaningful progress toward reaching their literacy goals.

    Launched in 1999 and funded by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, the Literacy in Libraries Across America (LILAA) initiative is aimed at helping literacy programs at public libraries across the country implement strategies to improve persistence among adult students. These strategies aim to make program attendance easier by offering child care, transportation, and expanded hours of operation. Instructional priorities include making program instruction more engaging and relevant by adapting curricula (often designed for children) to adult interests and needs, improving teacher and tutor training, and identifying potential barriers to persistence at program entry.

    As part of...

    Learning to read and write is a serious challenge for adult students, many of whom enter literacy programs with low skills, special learning needs, or negative past experiences in school. Adult responsibilities make it especially challenging for these students to persist in a literacy program long enough to make meaningful progress toward reaching their literacy goals.

    Launched in 1999 and funded by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, the Literacy in Libraries Across America (LILAA) initiative is aimed at helping literacy programs at public libraries across the country implement strategies to improve persistence among adult students. These strategies aim to make program attendance easier by offering child care, transportation, and expanded hours of operation. Instructional priorities include making program instruction more engaging and relevant by adapting curricula (often designed for children) to adult interests and needs, improving teacher and tutor training, and identifying potential barriers to persistence at program entry.

    As part of the LILAA initiative, in 2000 MDRC and the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) began a three-year study of the implementation and effectiveness of strategies to increase student persistence in the adult literacy programs of five public libraries: Redwood City Public Library and Oakland Public Library in California, New York Public Library and Queens Borough Public Library in New York City, and Greensboro Public Library in North Carolina. Researchers are (1) collecting and analyzing data on demographic characteristics, program retention, hours spent in literacy activities, and student goals; and (2) studying students' experiences in the programs by conducting extensive ethnographic interviews, observations of classes and tutoring sessions, and focus groups.

    This report describes the design of the LILAA persistence study, the strategies that participating libraries are using to increase student persistence, and emerging implementation issues. It describes existing patterns in student persistence, identifies factors that support or inhibit persistence, and begins to explore the relationship between program strategies and persistence... (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bos, Johannes M.; Scrivener, Susan; Snipes, Jason; Hamilton, Gayle; Schwartz, Christine; Walter, Johanna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    These analyses of how adult education works in the context of welfare-to-work programs were conducted for a large sample of welfare recipients who entered one of the 11 programs studied in the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) without a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Thus, the findings do not generalize to welfare recipients who do have a high school diploma but who still may be served by HCD programs that provide more advanced levels of education and training. The types of adult education examined in the report encompass adult basic education (ABE) classes, programs preparing students for the GED exam, regular high school classes, and classes in English as a Second Language (ESL). Among these, ABE and GED preparation accounted for most of the adult education in the 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs studied. These 11 programs operated in seven sites, and each program was operated under the federal FSA and its Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program. (...

    These analyses of how adult education works in the context of welfare-to-work programs were conducted for a large sample of welfare recipients who entered one of the 11 programs studied in the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) without a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Thus, the findings do not generalize to welfare recipients who do have a high school diploma but who still may be served by HCD programs that provide more advanced levels of education and training. The types of adult education examined in the report encompass adult basic education (ABE) classes, programs preparing students for the GED exam, regular high school classes, and classes in English as a Second Language (ESL). Among these, ABE and GED preparation accounted for most of the adult education in the 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs studied. These 11 programs operated in seven sites, and each program was operated under the federal FSA and its Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program. (Program intake for this study began in June 1991 and ended in December 1994; data presented cover June 1991 through December 1997. See the accompanying box for further information about this study and report.)

    This chapter summarizes most, but not all, of the analyses presented as a collection of papers in this report, specifically addressing the following questions:

    1. What are the characteristics of adult education providers in welfare-to-work programs? What are typical attendance patterns in these classes?
    2. To what extent, and for whom, do welfare-to-work programs increase participation in adult education services and increase educational attainment and achievement?
    3. Do education-focused welfare-to-work programs improve education outcomes?
    4. What is the payoff to additional participation in adult education?
    5. How do education outcomes and milestones affect the employment outcomes and self-sufficiency of welfare recipients?
    6. Among those who participate in adult education, who moves on from adult education to receive postsecondary education and training, and how does this contribute to their earnings and self-sufficiency? (author abstract)
  • Individual Author: Tout, Dave; Schmitt, Mary Jane
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    Numeracy is an essential skill. In the United States, it may be the cognitive skill that most highly correlates with economic success (Murnane, Willet, & Levy, 1995). It is thus troubling that some segments of the population have been found to be much less numerate than others, limiting their potential to fully participate in and benefit from what society has to offer. The U.S. adult basic education (ABE) system has yet to sufficiently address the gap between those who are less numerate and those who are more numerate. Research on numeracy is minimal. Instructional practice is often constrained by commercial publications and standardized tests and often operates from an outdated notion of what constitutes "basic math." Policy has yet to recognize numeracy as an essential part of being "literate" enough to negotiate the demands of the contemporary workplace and modern life.

    Even so, this is also a particularly active, promising time in the developmental trajectory of adult numeracy education. In 2000, two compendia concerned with how adults use and...

    Numeracy is an essential skill. In the United States, it may be the cognitive skill that most highly correlates with economic success (Murnane, Willet, & Levy, 1995). It is thus troubling that some segments of the population have been found to be much less numerate than others, limiting their potential to fully participate in and benefit from what society has to offer. The U.S. adult basic education (ABE) system has yet to sufficiently address the gap between those who are less numerate and those who are more numerate. Research on numeracy is minimal. Instructional practice is often constrained by commercial publications and standardized tests and often operates from an outdated notion of what constitutes "basic math." Policy has yet to recognize numeracy as an essential part of being "literate" enough to negotiate the demands of the contemporary workplace and modern life.

    Even so, this is also a particularly active, promising time in the developmental trajectory of adult numeracy education. In 2000, two compendia concerned with how adults use and learn mathematics were published. Numeracy is treated as a distinct domain in the international Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) assessment survey to be conducted in 2002; the National Science Foundation (NSF) has for the first time funded a major mathematics curriculum project for adults enrolled in adult basic and adult secondary education programs; and in July 2000 a conference was held that brought together researchers and practitioners from twelve countries to discuss a wide range of emergent issues in the field of adult numeracy. The time thus seems ripe to examine just how far the field of adult numeracy has come, how far it yet needs to go, and where it might look for models of progress and accomplishment. (Author abstract)

  • 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)

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