Seeks to boost employment for low-skilled people
BETHESDA, Md., April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Open Society Foundations awarded an $8 million grant to Abt Associates today to support efforts to identify effective models for helping low-income, low-skilled people become economically self-sufficient. The funds will enhance the work on a major federal project, Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency (ISIS), commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate exemplary career pathway programs across the nation.
"Many commendable career pathway programs show great promise for improving low-income, low-skilled people's lives, but they have not been rigorously evaluated," said David Fein, director of ISIS and principal associate at Abt. "High-quality evaluation of these programs requires measuring their effects for sufficiently large numbers of participants. The grant makes the programs' expansion and subsequent evaluation possible so we confidently can identify approaches that truly help people move out of poverty and into meaningful long-term careers."
"I am delighted by the Open Society Foundations' support for career pathway approaches that have the potential to dramatically improve the lives and self-sufficiency of many Americans," said David Hansell, acting assistant secretary for ACF. "ISIS is emblematic of the Obama Administration's commitment to supporting innovative solutions through the development of partnerships with state and local organizations, charitable foundations and the federal government. Thus, ISIS is an example of both what ought to be done and how, through collaboration, it can be accomplished."
The populations targeted by the ISIS project often have multiple barriers to self-sufficiency, such as low literacy, debt, limited resources for additional schooling, and lack of childcare and transportation, according to Fein. The career pathway programs selected by the project for expansion and evaluation address the complexity of these barriers with the goal to lift as many people as possible out of poverty. Many take a holistic approach to helping people into the job market with strategies and support including education, job training, childcare and other resources and skill-building tools.
"Our hope is that the results of this project will increase opportunities for the most vulnerable populations. Everyone deserves a chance to reach his or her greatest potential and become a more active citizen," said Mimi Corcoran, director of the Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation at the Open Society Foundations. "When more people are fully participating in our democracy, it's good for all of us."
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates was ranked as one of the top 25 global research firms in 2010. The employee-owned company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com
About Open Society Foundations
Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education. http://www.soros.org/
SOURCE Open Society Foundations