Social Worker Intervention On Low-income Individuals Without A High School Diploma Working On Ged. The Effectiveness Of Social Worker Intervention In Helping Individuals Achieve Ged.

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The field of social work practice for this review serves a population of low income communities without a High School Diploma. The Harlem Commonwealth Council, one organization offering such services and interventions, is intent on transforming the lives of people in the population described above by equipping them with instruments and resources meant to strengthen the community. The types of interventions it focuses on include solutions for entrepreneurship, adult literacy, youth development, and even scholarships. Yet, the specific types of interventions meant for low-income adults to achieve their GED include scholarships and adult literacy services (basic education). The organization is proud of its success and displays on its website that it served over 2,700 individuals last year. While there are no specific figures for low income adults without a high school diploma, the programs and solutions that make part of the organization’s intervention seem promising for this population. One element of their mission is to stimulate economic development through the education of residents and to improve literacy levels. The effectiveness of such interventions has been extensively researched in the past. Yet, there is still a huge gap in studies dealing specifically with helping low-income adults achieve their GED, as will be seen in the literature review section of this paper.

Research Question

The primary research question will be: What is the effectiveness of social worker intervention in helping low income adults achieve the General Education Diploma (GED)? The intervention in focus will combine economic empowerment and adult basic education as some of the programs for the Harlem Commonwealth Council.

The Literature Review

According to Kis and Field (2013), levels of skills among U.S. adults fall way short of the global average, with over half of all them in the country failing to acquire a postsecondary degree. A part of the figure comes from the fact that some adults do not even have a high school diploma to help them transition to tertiary education. Patterson and Paulson (2015) wonder whether these figures are due to the fact that some people have resorted to developing their skills in the informal sector. The magnitude of the problem becomes even more apparent, with 90% of adults above the age of 20 years being considered the least learned as they failed to take part in either formal or informal education (Patterson, 2017). The research was conducted between 2012 and 2014, making it among the most recent. Factors linked with these shocking figures included low income, increasing age, low social trust, and cost of education (Patterson, 2017; Patterson & Paulson, 2015). According to Miller, McCardle and Hernandez (2010), the low levels of literacy among adults have net negative impacts on education and public health sectors. The problem becomes multi-sectoral and requires comprehensive solutions.

Patterson and Paulson (2015) found that some of the motivators to learning encompass a wide range of factors, but most of them revolve around personal goals and financial or economic incentives. Despard and Chowa (2010) note that social workers are better placed to apply personal finance interventions to alleviate some of the problems faced by low income communities. Economic empowerment directly involves not only financial literacy but also the improvement of capabilities. According to Despard and Chowa (2010), financial literacy defines the ability of an individual to comprehend related issues and make informed decisions. The interest of social workers, in particular, is to use the financial literacy in improving their economic capability with a view to alleviating particular social problems, including low levels of education attainment (Despard & Chowa, 2010). Some of the economic empowerment interventions, in this case, have included financial education, planning, direct funding, and even counseling (Despard & Chowa, 2010). Improvement of financial capability can also be achieved through employment and associated interventions. While the employment rates among low-income families continue to rise, the pace is slow, and the annual earnings have also remained relatively low (Martinson & Holcomb, 2007). On the effectiveness of such interventions, Martinson and Holcomb (2007) conclude that a more significant portion of the programs has succeeded in improving the financial standing of the population through employment, while some have had limited to no effect; thus, there is no single ‘magic bullet.’ Millenky (2016) studied the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) meant for high school dropouts and recorded positive impacts on both education and employment. Older participants benefited more than their younger counterparts in the study. Personalized interventions linked to self-control and persistence have positive outcomes on employment for people without GED and high school diploma (McDermott, Donlan & Zaff, 2019).

Other literacy improvement interventions majorly deal with retention and increasing the rate of completion (Salazar, Haggerty & Roe, 2016; Hahn et al., 2015). Conducting a study among the youth in foster care, Salazar et al. (2016) evaluated the Fostering Higher Education (FHE) program. They found that a majority of the participants considered it effective, and they enjoyed taking part. Even so, mentoring components of the programs were found less effective compared to other strategies. Yet, Hahn et al. (2016) found strong evidence pointing towards a range of GED receipt programs and interventions meant to improve the rate of completion. It was also noted that most of these programs majorly target high-risk communities and populations.

In conclusion, this field of study has been widely explored. Some studies link the interventions with high effectiveness, while others conclude that some of them have limited effect or none at all. All the studies agree that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ intervention.

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GradShark (2023). Social Worker Intervention on Low-income Individuals without a High School Diploma Working on GED. The Effectiveness of Social Worker Intervention in Helping Individuals Achieve GED.. GradShark.

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