KU Center for Research on Learning

KU Center for Research on Learning

DAS Projects

Increasing Self-Sufficiency for TANF, WtW and VR clients with significant barriers to learning

Research Aims
A joint venture among DAS staff, the community colleges of Kansas, and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services offered a unique set of instructional and support services to adults moving from welfare to work, who have learning disabilities and other barriers to learning. The goal for these adults was self-sufficiency; to help them achieve that success, by fostering a collaborative model that integrated the efforts of teachers, students, employers and other agencies' staff.

About the Project
Nationally, studies indicate that a high percentage of adults who remain on welfare have learning disabilities and other barriers. Clearly, this population has different learning needs; efforts to address those needs previously were relatively unsuccessful. However, key elements for what is effective have been identified. Through work funded by Kansas SRS, we designed and piloted curricular materials and instructional strategies titled The Road To Success. In addition to teaching these students appropriate learning strategies, each student learned critical job-readiness skills including goal-setting, self-advocacy, identifying appropriate accommodations, and networking skills all aimed at facilitating their self-sufficiency and securing sustained employment. The content learned and learning strategies practiced in this program were transferred to employment settings.

Our framework for collaborative action among agencies and schools included the following elements:

  1. diagnostic assessment

  2. appropriate curricular materials

  3. appropriate validated instructional principles

  4. administrative guidelines for these target populations

  5. active links to case managers and contract service providers

Our aim was to make available classes taught by trained faculty members at various community colleges. These instructors were trained in The Road to Success materials and critical instructional strategies. The curriculum implemented as a six week long course for four hours a day. Classes of ten to twelve students will be recruited from the social service agencies specific to the community, received supports such as tuition, childcare and transportation payments to facilitate their success. Service agencies actively participated in identifying and addressing the individual students needs and in supporting their employment.

Projects Details