Resources

The Resource Library is a compendium of tools and resources selected specifically for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. You can navigate the Resource Library by topic, or by key word (or tag).

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Finance

Resources on how federal and state funding streams can be better integrated to direct more funds to the target population; also included are resources on conducting cost-benefit analyses.

For nearly 15 years, the public workforce system has been governed by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. Designed to knit together fragmented programs established during the previous 60 years, WIA was regarded as a necessary and legitimate next step in creating a system that would “consolidate, coordinate and improve employment, training, literacy and vocational rehabilitation programs in the United States” (WIA, 1998).

The intention of this report is to start a conversation about a different question, one that is bigger and more appropriate for the times. Rather than tinkering around the edges, wondering how we can become more efficient or more productive, we want to ask something bigger and bolder: What would a 21st Century workforce system look like if we built it for today’s economy, using today’s tools and processes? More to the point, In the new economy, where and how can the public workforce system add true and targeted value?

2012
Kathy Krepcio and Michele M. Martin
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development

In Summer 2010, Workforce Strategy Center (WSC) conducted a survey to determine the proliferation of bridge programs throughout the country. With generous support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, WSC now digs deeper into bridge programs to further advance the workforce development field. Moving beyond the BridgeConnect report, WSC set out to study how these programs work to position low-skilled, low-wealth populations for success.

This report is aimed at bridge program practitioners whom WSC hopes will learn from the promising practices highlighted. Policymakers will benefit from learning how these programs are working on the ground to effectively bridge individuals into postsecondary credentials that lead to careers. The report also includes video clips that capture practitioner and participant emotions and personalities. 

2011
Workforce Strategy Center
Workforce Strategy Center

Through Courses to Employment AspenWSI investigated the operations and outcomes of six partnerships between nonprofit organizations and community colleges. These types of partnerships represent a nascent field of practice, and nonprofit and community college representatives have noted time and again the value of sharing ideas, strategies and information about the nuts and bolts work of organizing and managing effective partnerships.

AspenWSI has compiled a variety of different types of tools that partnerships have used to support their work on the ground. The tools available today reflect a work-in-progress, and we expect to add additional tools over time. We welcome comments, feedback and suggestions for additions. The tools are organized in three categories:

How do partners organize themselves? Who does what?

What strategies do partners use to provide education and support services?

What kinds of costs are involved in partnership?

2012
Courses to Employment
Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Urban Institute

“Moving Low-Skill SNAP Recipients Toward Self-Sufficiency,” a publication from the National Skills Coalition, is designed to help the workforce field better understand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T, formerly the Food Stamp Employment & Training or FSET program).

First established in 1985, SNAP E&T is one of the few federally-supported programs specifically designed to provide employment and training services to extremely low-skilled, low-income adults. Each state is required to operate a SNAP E&T program, though they have considerable discretion in the types of services that may be offered (including job search assistance, work experience, and job training) and the types of SNAP participants to be served.

In recent years, a number of states have begun to recognize the value of SNAP E&T in connecting SNAP recipients with meaningful education and training opportunities leading to industry-recognized degrees and credentials with value in the labor market. States have used SNAP E&T funds to support innovative partnerships with community colleges, community-based organizations and other stakeholders, and have successfully used SNAP E&T funding to leverage additional non-federal public and private resources. However, many states and workforce system partners remain confused about who may be served, and what services can be provided, which has likely limited the growth of SNAP E&T programs on a national level.

By offering a basic overview of the program and highlighting certain issues that are important to consider when designing or implementing an E&T component, this guide is meant to help begin addressing some of these issues for the field. It provides an introduction to the administrative structures, participant eligibility requirements, and funding mechanisms under SNAP E&T, as well as an overview of key program elements that can help ensure SNAP recipients are receiving the full range of training and supportive services necessary for success in the labor market. The guide also highlights examples of how states are using SNAP E&T to help low-skilled individuals find jobs in high-demand industries, and addresses unique issues facing partnerships between state agencies and community colleges. The goal of this publication is to help ensure that SNAP participants have access to high-quality employment and training services that help them gain the necessary skills to obtain stable, family-supporting employment.

2012
National Skills Coalition

The Career Pathways Toolkit: Six Key Elements for Success was developed as part of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s Career Pathways Initiative to help guide state and local leaders in building and sustaining career pathway systems. This Toolkit offers a clear and user-friendly road map for administrators, service providers, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to develop career pathway systems at local, regional, and/or state levels. It details the Six Key Elements Framework, highlights promising practices, and provides tools designed to support visioning and strategic planning.

2011
Social Policy Research Associates
Developed on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor by Social Policy Research Associates

Amidst the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Congress included the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund in the 2009 Recovery Act to help states cover the costs of providing more assistance to low-income families suffering from the ill effects of the downturn.  The Fund provided $5 billion over two years for increased state or federal TANF spending in three categories of aid to TANF-eligible families with children:  (1) basic assistance, (2) non-recurrent, short-term (or emergency) benefits, and (3) subsidized employment. 

The fund expired on September 30, 2010.  Some 39 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and eight Tribal TANF programs received approval to use $1.3 billion from the fund to create new subsidized employment programs or expand existing ones.  The remaining $3.7 billion in the fund was approved to cover increased costs associated with providing basic assistance and non-recurrent, short-term benefits, such as assistance to avoid eviction and potential homelessness.  

This paper presents the results of a telephone survey of the subsidized employment programs funded all or in part with funds from the TANF EF, conducted by staff from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) during the summer and fall of 2010. 

The paper concludes by highlighting the following lessons that can be drawn from states’ experiences:

  • It is possible (though challenging) to get large-scale, countercyclical job creation programs up and running relatively quickly and to engage the private sector in creating job opportunities.
  • Subsidized jobs targeted to disadvantaged individuals benefit not only participating workers and businesses but also entire communities and society at large.
  • Flexibility makes success possible in many different environments.
  • New targeted funding can provide the catalyst for innovation and increased collaboration.
  • Subsidized employment programs can be implemented at reasonable cost.
  • Subsidized employment programs serve a variety of purposes; their performance should be judged on measures that are consistent with their purpose.
2011
LaDonna Pavetti, Ph.D., Liz Schott and Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Center on Budget Policies and Priorities; Center on Law and Social Policy

Less than 5 percent of GED holders ever earn a postsecondary degree. In response, innovative GED programs have begun creating clear, effective pathways to postsecondary education, preparing their students for college and careers.

This white paper by John Garvey and JFF’s Terry Grobe shares lessons from “best in class” GED to College programs that show early, positive results in preparing youth for college and helping them persist once there. It also explores key issues connected to the growth of this programming within the field and lays out a framework for leaders and program staff looking to transform short-term GED programs into more intensive, college-connected designs.

2011
John Garvey, with Terry Grobe
Jobs for the Future

Many full-time workers in the United States are unable to make ends meet. Government “work support” policies – benefit programs such as earned income tax credits, public health insurance, child care assistance, and SNAP/food stamps – can help some families close the gap between low earnings and the high cost of basic expenses. While federal government guidelines provide a framework for work support policies in the United States, there is wide variation in how these policies are implemented across states.

This report analyzes the effectiveness of these policies. Findings from this report show that the current patchwork of state policies fails to ensure that workers are able to afford their families’ basic living expenses, leaving a number of low-wage workers and their families without adequate support. A greater federal investment is needed to create a comprehensive work support system that is designed to encourage and reward employment as well as provide workers with enough resources to care for their families. Federal priorities should include addressing the high cost of basic needs with an increased investment in affordable child care, subsidized health insurance, and housing assistance as well as structuring the work support system to better support workers’ advancement toward financial self-sufficiency.

2010
Jessica Purmort
National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

The Basic Needs Budget Calculator shows how much it takes for families to afford minimum daily necessities. It also allows you to create customized results by changing assumptions about basic family expenses.

2010
National Center for Children in Poverty
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

This report presents analyses from a statewide study on the impact of The Ohio Benefit Bank. It follows prior work which assessed the economic and social impact of The Ohio Benefit Bank program on the state, communities, families, and individuals. The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF), with funding from The Columbus Foundation, commissioned Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs to conduct this study.

In consultation with the project sponsors, the Voinovich School designed a three‐phase longitudinal telephone survey of Ohio Benefit Bank clients. The purpose of this study was to assess the factors that influence clients’ decisions to apply for certain benefits that they were estimated to be potentially eligible for through The Benefit Bank® online service, and the impact the accessed benefits had on these individuals. The study focused on Ohio Benefit Bank clients who had been screened for potential eligibility for Medicaid, food assistance, and/or cash assistance, but had not received these benefits in the past year. In particular, the project sought to understand why some Ohio Benefit Bank clients take the next step and apply for benefits with County Department of Job and Family Services and why others decide not to apply.

The study focused on these key questions:

  1. Who accesses Ohio Benefit Bank services?
  2. Do Ohio Benefit Bank clients complete their applications?
  3. How do benefits impact clients over the short‐term?
2010
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University