The Literacy Communicator
Volume 11, Number 1 Winter 1996
In this issue:
Preparing for Block Grants
Job Training Task Force
Online with EDInfo
Service Award Form
ALF's Citizenship Project
Annual Meeting Announced
Annual Meeting Form
Since the publication of our last newsletter, we have received major contributions from
Ingram-White Castle Foundation
Ohio Newspapers Foundation
We thank these and all other donors who have made the Ohio Literacy Network a continuing reality.
As it began addressing the issue of reshaping the workforce development delivery system at its meeting on February 8, 1996, the GHRIC considered two documents. The first was a discussion paper titled, Employment and Training Block Grants: Preparing for Change, written by Debi Bowland, Administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services. The second document was a report titled, Job Training Task Force: Report Recommendations, prepared by the Job Training Task Force. The Task Force was established to evaluate Ohio's job training programs.
A new delivery system will influence adult basic and literacy education service. Therefore, it is important for literacy professionals to be aware of some of the questions that will be asked as a new system is being designed and to be aware of some of the recommendations for change that have thus far been made. Summaries of the key points contained in both of these documents are included in this issue of The Literacy Communicator beginning on page 2.
Libraries, literacy programs and agencies such as the Department of Human Services and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction utilize this directory for referrals. Therefore, it is important that we maintain accurate, current records of adult basic literacy programs available in the state.
Please help us provide an accurate and current resource for everyone.
Guiding principles and assumptions - Questions will need to be asked and answered involving the relationships between state and local entities; how to change the system to focus more on customer rather than organizational needs; how to ensure that all of Ohio's customers are served; how to balance the need for statewide consistency with local flexibility; and how collaboration between partners/stakeholders will occur. Practical considerations - In designing a new approach, factors must be taken into account such as statutory requirements; existing organizations and staff; existing investments in infrastructure; costs for changes; time for changes; and political realities. Workforce development system goals - There are several possible outcomes that could be identified as goals. Some, however, are conflicting. According to Bowland, the hallmark of a successful system will be how well these conflicting goals are balanced. Some possible goals for Ohio's workforce development system include: maximum placement of unemployed and underemployed individuals into jobs; full employment for Ohio; a strong economy for Ohio; maximum access to skilled employees for employers; reduction of the number of individuals on public assistance; and reduction of the average length of time individuals receive unemployment benefits. Populations to be served - Currently several populations are served by programs providing workforce development services. They include: employers; unemployed; employed but underemployed; youth; veterans; and special needs populations including the developmentally disabled, handicapped, incarcerated, and older workers. Services to be offered - Currently an array of employment services are provided such as assessment, testing, job search assistance, counseling, job development, job matching/placement, labor market information, and case management. Education/training services are offered in the classroom, on the job, and as subsidized employment opportunities. Other services such as skills needs assessment for employers and referral to support services for workers also are provided. In addition, Ohio needs to consider what resources should be devoted to initiatives such as School-to-Work, Skill Standards, credentialing programs, and so on. Impact of welfare reform - It is expected that states will gain some flexibility in administering welfare programs, but with federal funds being capped, states will be under pressure to focus much of their workforce development efforts on individuals receiving public assistance. Subsequently, it may be difficult to balance the needs of the welfare system with workforce needs of other population groups. Employment needs of welfare recipients are important but should not be pursued to the detriment of other employment goals. Service delivery approaches - Creative approaches to service delivery are needed. They should build on the strength of available personnel and innovations in technology. One-stop service centers will no doubt be a feature of future service delivery. But Ohio's current one-stop service centers will need to be evaluated in light of any new legislative requirements. Due to shrinking resources, it may not be possible to provide as much one-on-one service delivery as would be desired. Service delivery organization - Block grants will require that structural changes be made in service delivery. New legislation is likely to call for the establishment of local workforce boards; implementation of one-stop service delivery; and collaboration in developing state delivery plans. At the state level, issues dealing with accountability, liability and consistency must be addressed. Locally, issues related to how local workforce boards should be structured and what their specific roles should be and how the state should be divided geographically for service delivery purposes must be addressed. Fund allocation - How funds will be earmarked to accomplish the established goals must be a major issue of interest for stakeholders.
Identify opportunities to expand, consolidate, or eliminate programs; Develop observations/trends about current programs; and Develop opinions/recommendations for the GHRIC on the future of workforce development programs.
All workforce development programs should be consolidated into a single state agency. It is believed that this action is necessary to avoid duplicative processes and to improve efficiency. All workforce development tracking, reporting, and analysis should be coordinated through the consolidated agency. With such cooperation, training program successes and shortcomings will be possible to identify. Consistent performance measurements need to be established for each type of workforce development program. The measures could include pre- and post proficiency tests; the percent of participants that went on to complete high school and post secondary education; and the changes in wages noted 6, 12, and 24 months after being involved in the program. Benchmarks to define minimum acceptable performance levels should be established for all workforce development programs. Failing to meet benchmarks would lead to funding reductions or possible elimination of the program.
Program Design Recommendations
Workforce development programs need to emphasize basic skills training. This needs to be Ohio's number one priority. There also is a need to teach fundamental work habits. Programs should be designed based upon specific needs of the market. Clients should be thought of as emerging (individuals with little or no work experience), transitional (persons with some work experience looking for new careers), and current (employed workers with proven experience looking to advance their skills in current or similar careers.) Programs that serve similar audiences with similar program characteristics should be consolidated. Funding limitations require programs serving similar audiences to be combined or eliminated. State workforce development programs should be coordinated with local and regional entities whenever possible. Customers must be involved in the design and operation of the program. Programs that receive little or no financial or in-kind support from local government, business, or participants should be evaluated for continuation, reduction, or elimination. Every program should make an attempt to identify the beneficiaries of public training and solicit private support for continuation. Basic skills training, education, and placement need to be the foundation for the emerging workforce. Programs that emphasize basic skills, job readiness, job development, and job placement services should be the focus of programs targeting transitional workforce. Programs that emphasize advance skills and business involvement should be the focus of programs targeting the current workforce.
For each nominee, attach a 500 word or less explanation of why you are nominating the individual. Indicate the impact his/her activities have had. Submit this form and narratives to: The Ohio Literacy Network, 1500 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221, or fax 614-486-1527, by June 1, 1996. If you have any questions, call 614-486-7757.
This position requires a high-energy, enthusiastic, motivated, organized individual capable of fundraising from a variety of sources. Applicants must have excellent management, public relations and communications skills. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of five years management experience, with a preference given to a non-profit background, and a degree in Secondary, Post-Secondary, Adult or Vocational Education.
Send letter, resume, and salary history to:
72 South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Deadline: May 1, 1996
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Responding to the concerns and ideas of fellow adult learners, ALF is taking an active role in making citizenship more accessible, more interesting, and more relevant to adult learners throughout Ohio. In the past, many adult learners have been reluctant to exercise their rights and duties of citizenship due to the barriers of undereducation. For example, some adult learners have not been active citizens because they believed their opinions did not count; others have avoided civic participation, including voting, for fear that others will discover their inability to read well. ALF's project materials, shaped by adult learners, for adult learners, will target these fears in an attempt to dispel confusion and bolster confidence.
Striving to produce both timely and timeless information, ALF is concentrating efforts on both the 1996 election, and citizenship in general. The titles of ALF's (near) future publications reflect their dual intentions: the 1996 Voter Information Guide, the 1996 Voter Information Bulletin, Guidelines for Communicating in a Democracy, and Guidelines for Teaching Adults about Citizenship.
1996 Voter Information Guide is an easy to read version of Ohio's Secretary of State's annual guide. The brochure addresses common questions about voter eligibility, registration, voting procedures, and absentee voting.
1996 Voter Information Bulletin is originally produced by the Ohio League of Women Voters. This publication contains information about election issues and candidates. ALF's version will be an easy to read publication, including information about state issues, definitions and responsibilities of those offices that are up for election, and names of candidates.
Guidelines for Communicating in a Democracy will offer adult learners guidance on effectively exercising their rights to express their opinions and perceptions about issues of interest and/or concern to them. The guide will expand on the letter writing tips laid out in ALF's latest cooperative effort with the OLRC, a brochure entitled "Guide to Writing Letters to Lawmakers". Guidelines will also include suggestions for public speaking, telephone calls, and understanding the legislative process.
Guidelines for Teaching Adult Learners about Citizenship will include teaching tips, commonly asked questions, and Ohio contacts to encourage adult education teachers to include a citizenship component in their adult education program.
Furthermore, the OLN and ALF will conduct a survey of Presidential candidates and Ohio's Congressional candidates regarding their positions on issues of relevance to adult learners. The results will be published in the ALF newsletter.
Forging New Links
The Challenges of Service, Learning, & Volunteerism
1996 conference will build on the tradition of VOLUNTEER
OHIO's annual Volunteer Venture conferences
March 17-19, 1996
Airport Hotel and Conference Center, Columbus, Ohio
Call Forging New Links' voice mail system: 614-227-9080
Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education
Partnerships for Power
SCALE's second national conference
March 28-30, 1996
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Register by internet at http:/www.unc.edu/depts/SCALE
Call SCALE for more info: 919-962-1542
National Center for Family Literacy
Family Literacy: Opportunities in the Midst of Change
Fifth Annual National Conference on Family Literacy
April 21-23, 1996
Call NCFL for more info: 502-584-1133
1996 Spring Conference
May 8-9, 1996
Worthington Holiday Inn, Columbus, Ohio
Final topics and fees will be announced soon.
The program is not keeping up with the growth of its target population. According to the study, the target population for adult education services increases by two-thirds each year. Annually, less than one-tenth of those who could benefit from services are served. The study concludes that nearly half of the 46 million adults who compose the target population would benefit from adult secondary education (ASE), 25% would benefit from adult basic education (ABE), and 27% would benefit from English as a Second language (ESL) instruction.
Most programs primarily serve clients enrolled in adult basic education, but most participants are ESL students. ESL students account for 51% of all clients receiving services. While most of the individuals served in the programs are appropriate, the report contends that there may be a tendency to serve those who are easiest to reach, i.e., ESL participants who are highly motivated to enroll in class.
Most participants, particularly ABE and ASE, stay in the program a very short time. Comparing the amount of time participants stay in programs to the length of a college class, adult basic and secondary education students receive on average less than a one-semester course before they leave. ESL students, on the other hand, receive between two and three semesters of instruction.
Participants' motives for enrolling in adult education are related to their persistence and learning gains. ESL clients generally are motivated by employment and economic reasons. ASE students often desire to get a GED. But most students have several reasons why they attend class. Enrollment to comply with public welfare or other program requirements does not predict sustained program attendance.
The crucial time for programs to work with participants to foster sustained participation is in the first month of instruction. Overall, students stay in a program about 5.5 months. If, however, the student stays to the second month, he or she is likely to remain in the program an average of eight months. Many adults leave the program before achieving measurable gains.
have some full-time instructional and administrative staff; provide support services such as child care, job search assistance, counseling, transportation and so on; give increased attention to helping students stay beyond the first month; and identify and encourage the use of the most appropriate instructional structures and designs.
The report also indicates that programs need to improve their information management and reporting, and they need technical assistance in the area of assessment. Researchers advise that there is no substantial difference between students that receive 1 or 12 hours of instruction. They recommend that the current federal requirement allowing reporting only of students who receive 12 hours of instruction be dropped.
Explore in more depth the relationships among personal and program variables associated with positive employment gains; Conduct more detailed analyses of the causes and consequences of client persistence; and Analyze the relationships between factors such as staff characteristics, in-service training, and instructional design and the extent to which program participants benefit academically.
The report also offers suggestions for areas of new research. They include:
Studies of the relationship of different types of instruction on different types of learners; Investigations of optimal staffing arrangements; Studies of the relationship between recruitment approaches and types of clients served; Exploration of issues related to serving the ESL population; Studies of ways to organize and manage local programs to meet the needs of all adult learners; and Investigations of ways to serve adults with learning disabilities and other special needs cost effectively and within the context of existing programs.
For more information about the National Evaluation of Adult Education Programs contact:
Development Associates, Inc.
1730 North Lynn Street
Arlington, Virginia 22209
Part II of the How to Prepare for Block Grants series was distributed in January. This issue brief describes the current welfare system, proposed changes, and potential effects on adult AFDC recipients with low basic skills. Strategies states and localities can employ in continuing to include adult basic education and literacy services in their welfare-to-work programs are discussed.
A copy of Part II can be downloaded from http://novel.nifl.gov/policy/122195.htm. To be placed on the mailing list for future Policy Updates call 202/632-1500, ext. 6. For questions, comments, or suggestions for Policy Updates, contact Alice Johnson at 202/632-1516.
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