NLA Discussion: welfare reform
story at pobox.upenn.edu
Sat Feb 21 11:09:02 EST 1998
Look at developing a collaboration with an agency that is doing the work
part of the training. Try to get your group written in as the literacy
component. In this manner you will not have to worry about developing
the other component and can focus on what your group does best. Also,
tie into a university that is part of the America Reads program (may get
more tutors and possibly some $$$$).
Ronald Story <story at pobox.upenn.edu>
> > > Hi everyone, >
> My name is Leslie McGinnis and I'm the director of the Second Start
> Adult Literacy Program, part of Oakland Public Library, in Oakland,
> California. We have had an intense experience with welfare reform in our
> area over the past few months, with most of our efforts going toward
> educating our county decisionmakers and department of ed. folks that
> attendance at library and community-based literacy programs should count
> as allowable work activities for eligible learners. While our county is
> very human service oriented, and has a less restrictive welfare to work
> plan than other California counties, it still appears that there will be
> great hardship ahead for our most vulnerable learners.
> We have managed, after attending countless meetings (sometimes the
> hardest part has been tracking down the meetings; once we get there we
> are almost always welcomed with open arms!) to get the word
> "literacy" and our program name in to the County Welfare Plan, though we
> are unsure of how the referral process will work, and if attendance at
> our program will actually and truly count as a work activity, once those
> hard decisions are made.
> We have met the most resistance from those educators working on our
> Alameda County Education Plan (which parallels and dovetails with the
> County Welfare to Work Plan). I think this is occurring because we don't
> count ADA, and we are not eligible for adult ed. money for welfare to
> work activities. At this stage of the game, we feel it is so important
> to recognize and serve our basic literacy clients, that we are willing
> to do it without reimbursement for the first year. We just want to be
> "in the loop" of referrals and decision-making and we've found the only
> way to assure this is to be extremely aggressive about our inclusion.
> Another question we're grappling with is how much we might have to
> change our program focus to accommodate those welfare recipients who are
> seeking "immediate literacy" in the 18 to 24 months they're allowed
> under welfare to work. We still intend to serve the whole student, but
> will we have to add an accelerated welfare to work class or track in
> addition to basic literacy? And can we rely on volunteers to teach such
> a class (we are volunteer-based, small group and one-on-one tutoring)?
> Many more questions. Thanks for the dialogue.
> Leslie McGinnis
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