Central America


·        Identification of Applied Science & Technology Centers and Training and Workforce Development Centers that can Enhance Central America's Competitiveness and Technological Infrastructure to Support Sub-Regional Trade Expansion and Economic Growth. By Luis A. Salicrup.  To achieve their social goals and successfully enter the global marketplace, Central American countries must first systematically apply coherent measures to modernize production. One approach is to incorporate some of the best workforce development and training practices available. This study examines the goal of strengthening current educational and training programs in Central America by analyzing workforce development centers and applied science and technology institutions. The purpose of the present study is to identify the best practices and lessons learned from ten different workforce and technological centers, two in Asia, one in the Caribbean and seven in Central America by emphasizing their capabilities and experience in the areas of trade-oriented practices, leadership, accountability, demand driven design, practical learning strategies ("learning by doing," "hands on"), networking, alliances and partnerships, and labor-management practices. A brief analysis of these institutions' trade and technological capabilities and infrastructure and the possible role in hemispheric free trade expansion is also included.








·        Intergenerational Schooling Mobility and Macro Conditions and Schooling Policies in Latin America By Jere Behrman, Miguel Székely, and Nancy Birdsall (September 1998).  The effects of market and policy reforms on poverty and inequality in Latin America have been of considerable concern. The region continues to have relatively great income inequalities. Two different societies with the same income distribution may have different levels of social welfare because they have different degrees of social mobility. To date little attention has been paid to measuring social mobility in the region. Schooling is thought to be a major mechanism through which intergenerational social mobility is affected. This paper explores the strength of the association of family background with child schooling and whether the strength of this association is related to some major macro and aggregate school policy variables.


·         The Real Welfare Cheats: Corporate America By Randolph T. Holhut For all the wrangling over the Federal budget in Washington, there's a little known truth that isn't readily acknowledged by the politicians or the media: the largest and most expensive group of welfare recipients in America are not poor women and children; it's America's corporations and the wealthy.


·         World Conference on Poverty Sets International Guidelines to promote social Development The UN's first world conference on poverty and social problems, held in Copenhagen March 6-12, led to a landmark declaration that commits the UN's member nations to a 10-point guideline for attacking "poverty, social disintegration, and unemployment" around the world.  Latin American countries now plan to use the declaration as a point of departure for future negotiations with advanced industrialized nations regarding economic assistance and development strategies in thishemisphere.


·         Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) Documents.  CLASP is a national non-profit organization with expertise in both law and policy affecting the poor. Through education, policy research and advocacy, CLASP seeks to improve the economic security of low-income families with children and secure access for low-income persons to our civil justice system.


o        Beyond Job Search or Basic Education: Rethinking the Role of Skills in Welfare Reform by Julie Strawn examines the research on welfare-to-work programs and finds that neither job search nor basic education alone helps recipients work more or earn more over the long run. Instead, the most effective programs share a balanced approach that places a central focus on employment but with room for skill development and other activities. Hallmarks of successful programs include comprehensive, individualized services, close ties to local employers, intensive schedules, and high expectations for participation. Welfare-to-work programs can help recipients earn higher wages if this goal is made a priority; job training in the classroom or workplace and access to postsecondary education are key components of a higher wage strategy. Training must be made more consistently effective, however, and more accessible to those with low basic skills. 66 pages, April 1998. (The full report is available as a PDF file.  Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)


o        Beyond Welfare: New Opportunities To Use TANF To Help Low-Income Working Families by Mark H. Greenberg, Released July 1999. (The full report is available as a PDF file. Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)

o        Community Service Employment: A New Opportunity Under TANF by Steve Savner and Mark Greenberg describes how states may use federal TANF and state funds for community services employment, publicly funded, wage-paying jobs designed to provide employment for individuals and to address unmet community needs. 7 pages, Revised Education, November 1997.


o        Creating a Work-Based Welfare System Under TANF by Steve Savner reviews the essential components of a work-based system for those who will be successful in finding unsubsidized employment at low-wages and for those who are unable to locate unsubsidized employment despite a good faith effort to do so. 7 pages, September 1996.

o        Creating a Workforce Development Structure for All Working-Age Adults by Mark Greenberg and Steve Savner is one of a set of articles contained in the National Governors' Association publication, "Rethinking Income Support for the Working Poor: Perspectives on Unemployment Insurance, Welfare and Work."  The full publication can be obtained from the NGA website, at   The CLASP contribution argues that the low level of receipt of unemployment insurance (UI) by former welfare recipients, as well as female and low-wage workers generally, suggests significant failings in the current UI system. However, even with modifications to UI eligibility rules, many low-wage workers will likely continue to be ineligible for UI. The article suggests that a new program of temporary, needs-based income assistance and employment services that supplements the UI system could be an important step in providing support for workers between jobs and in helping states moving toward a unified workforce development structure for all working-age adults, and suggests some ways that TANF-related funds could be used in support of such an effort.  7 pages, June 1999.  (The full report is available as a PDF file.  Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)


o        Devolution, Workforce Development and Welfare Reformby Steve Savner describes the conflicting themes and provisions of welfare legislation and the job training consolidation bills. A number of key issues are identified and discussed concerning the likely impact of these bills on access to education and training for individuals who receive cash assistance. 8 pages, January 1996.


o        Glossary of Work Program Terms by Steve Savner helps sort through the lexicon of often confusing terms associated with work programs. Is there a difference between community service employment and community service jobs? What is meant by grant diversion, supported work, and workfare? 6 pages. November 1997.


o        Guidance from the Federal Government on Implementation of the Child Support Related Provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 as Amended by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 by Paula Roberts, Released August 1999.

o        Income Levels of IV-D Families by Vicki Turetsky, Released September 1999.


o        Key Implementation Decisions Affecting Low-Income Adults Under The Workforce Investment Act by Steve Savner provides a brief overview of some of the key elements of the new law and how they may affect access to services by low-income adults and describes how to become involved in the new decision making process at both the state and local levels.  12 pages. August 1999. (Kellogg Devolution Initiative Paper). (The full report is available as a PDF file. Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)

o        Senate Amendment to Welfare Law Would Help States To Train Hardest-To-Employ Adults, Help Others Find Better Jobs by Julie Strawn describes the welfare law's current limits on when education and training count toward meeting federal work participation rates and how Senator Wellstone's pending amendment to the law would change these limits. The analysis includes a state-by-state chart of how in Fiscal 2000 current law could decrease the room available to serve adults in education and training by including teen parents in school in the overall cap on countable education and training activities.


o        State Opportunities to Provide Access to Postsecondary Education Under TANF by Mark Greenberg, Julie Strawn, and Lisa Plimpton discusses why postsecondary education and training for low-income parents matters for the long-term success of welfare reform, explains how a state can support postsecondary education within or outside of its cash assistance program using TANF and TANF-related funds, and describes current state TANF policies with respect to postsecondary education.  34 pages, September 1999. (The full report is available as a PDF file. Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)

o        The Fiscal and Legal Framework for Creating a Community Service Employment Program by Steve Savner and Maurice Emsellem (National Employment Law Project) offers insights into the set of legal questions associated with establishing publicly funded, wage-paying jobs that address unmet community needs. Among the issues covered are minimum wage requirements, unemployment compensation, liability, displacement, and employer personnel policies.


o       Welfare-to-Work Programs: The Critical Role of Skills by Julie Strawn with the assistance of Robert Echols describes the shift from basic education to job search and the benefits and limits of both approaches and then argues for a flexible balanced approach that offers job search, education, job training and work.  This short paper incorporates findings from, and includes new research since the publication of, "Beyond Job Search of Basic Education: Rethinking the Role of Skills in Welfare Reform." 11 pages, April 1999.(The full report is available as a PDF file.  Click here to download Acrobat Reader.)


·         Inter-American Development Bank Documents. 


o       Elements of Sustainable Social Policy By Ada Piazze- McMahon, January 1997. This paper argues that to reduce levels of poverty and reverse the growing income inequality gap in Latin America, efficiency reforms in the social sectors need to be complemented with policies specially designed to address the circumstances created by high levels of poverty and income inequality. The paper also argues in favor of emphasizing competitiveness through the formation of human capital by giving the poor the tools and motivation to participate in the development process and persuading the better-off social groups of the benefits to them of doing so. These arguments are illustrated with lessons derived from reforms in the education sector in Chile over the period 1980 to 1996. The ample time frame was selected to show the change in emphasis from policies that exclusively addressed efficiency and competitiveness (from 1980 to 1990) to policies stressing increased opportunities for the poor --equity and participation-- and a new social partnership among the state, civil society and the business sector (from 1990 to the present).


o       Strategic and Policy Issues for a Bank Education Strategy By Xavier Comas, December 1995.  What value added qualities other than financing can the IDB contribute to the region by intervening in support of education? Identifying and exploiting those, this paper argues, should be the basic function of a Bank education strategy. The strategy should pursue two complementary objectives: identifying priority areas for Bank action in education, and finding ways to use the Bank's comparative advantages to support education. Although some of the Bank's advantages arise from its multilateral and regional nature, many involve assets that can be build or destroyed by the Bank's own actions. Therefore, such a strategy should not just rely on the Bank's established and obvious advantages, it should also attempt to develop additional areas of expertise in relation to the evolving needs of the region.


o       The Periodic Review Approach in Social Sector Programs By Javier León and Hugo Eyzaguirre (July 1997).  Based on the examination of loan documents and interviews with professionals, this note evaluates the use of the periodic review approach in social sector programs. This approach, defined as an execution modality that stresses annual reviews, annual operational plans, or both in the implementation and supervision of a program, has been widely used since 1992. Almost half of the loans approved from then until the second quarter of 1995 were considered to follow the periodic review approach in their design. After extending the original period until 1996, this percentage goes up to 65%. From the operational point of view, the extensive use of this approach has shifted the workload in the Bank from the design and preparation phase to the execution phase of programs. This change has not only increased the participation of the Country Offices but also modified the type of activities to be performed by their sector specialists. Based on the three main characteristics of the approach (flexibility, supervision, and definition of processes), the review of loan documents shows that there exists an important diversity in using the approach, resulting in operations that, although sharing some characteristics, present important variations among themselves. Also, the degree of readiness of the loan documents varies significantly across the sample. The lack of a first year operational plan, operational guidelines, or even some kind of project inventory in many programs is a worrisome aspect observed. This deficiency in the readiness and validation of processes before approval or first disbursement should be addressed in order to avoid slow progress in the implementation phase.


·        United Nations Documents.


o       Advancing the Social Agenda: Two Years After Copenhagen
Report of the UNRISD International Conference and Public Meeting, Geneva
In March 1995, participants in the World Summit for Social Development recognized the growing seriousness of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration in the contemporary world, and endorsed an ambitious and comprehensive Programme of Action that outlined various approaches to addressing these problems. Some approaches involved increasing or re-allocating public funds towards social development goals, and reforming public institutions. Others implied stimulating the creativity of citizens at the local or national level, and fostering an "enabling environment" that might allow their initiatives to prosper.


o       After the Golden Age: The Future of the Welfare State in the New Global Order (OP 7) By Gřsta Esping-Andersen. The World Summit for Social Development, to be held in Copenhagen in March 1995, provides an important opportunity for the world community to focus attention on current social problems and to analyse the dimensions, roots and directions of social trends. In particular, the agenda of the Summit specifies three areas of concern: the reduction of poverty, the generation of productive employment, and the enhancement of social integration. UNRISD work in preparation for the Summit focuses on the last of these: as countries confront the seemingly intractable problems of social conflict, institutional breakdown and mass alienation, the topic of social integration has assumed increasing importance in public debate.


o       After the Social Summit: Implementing the Programme of Action
Report of the UNRISD Seminar on After the Social Summit: Implementing the Programme of Action, Geneva
 The World Summit for Social Development has provided an invaluable opportunity to focus international attention on issues of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration. The event itself is over. But a process has been set in motion that can bring together groups around the world to work toward reversing the trends of polarization and fraying solidarity that have so conspicuously marked the past several decades.


o       Development research and analysis.  Policy analysis features.

·         World Economic Situation and Prospects for 1999

·         The World Economy at the Beginning of 1998

·         World Economic and Social Survey

·         Report on he World Social Situtation

·         Selected Policy Analysis Papers

o       Informational Capitalism and Social Exclusion By Manuel Castells.  A new form of socio-economic organization has emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. After the collapse of statism, in the Soviet Union and throughout the world, it is certainly a capitalist system. Indeed, for the first time in history the entire planet is capitalist, since even the few remaining command economies are surviving or developing through their linkages to global, capitalist markets. Yet this is a brand of capitalism that is at the same time very old and fundamentally new. It is old because it appeals to relentless competition in the pursuit of profit, and because individual satisfaction (deferred or immediate) is its driving engine. But it is fundamentally new because it is tooled by new information and communication technologies that are at the root of new productivity sources, new organizational forms, and the construction of a global economy.


o       International Year of Older Persons. 1999  The General Assembly (47/5) decided to observe the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP).  This is in recognition of humanity's demographic coming of age and the promise it holds for maturing attitudes and capabilities in social, economic, cultural and spiritual undertakings, not least for global peace and development in the next century. [Resolution 47/5]


o       Social Development, Including Questions Relating to the World Social Situation and to Youth, Ageing, Disabled Persons and the Family The present interim report has been prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution 52/84 of 12 December 1997. As requested by the Assembly, the report examines the progress towards education for all, currently being reviewed by the ongoing Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment, and the feasibility and desirability of launching a United Nations decade to eradicate illiteracy. The final report will be submitted following the World Education Forum, April 2000.


o       World Summit for Social Development At the conclusion of the World Summit for Social Development - held 6-12 March 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark - Governments adopted a Declaration and Programme of Action which represent a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development. The largest gathering yet of world leaders ­ ll7 heads of State or Government - pledged to make the conquest of poverty, the goal of full employment and the fostering of stable, safe and just societies their overriding objectives.


§         Geneva 2000 The Next Step in Social Development Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development. Five years after Copenhagen, a special session of the General Assembly will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 to 30 June 2000 to undertake an overall review and appraisal of implementation of the outcome of the Social Summit.  Further actions and initiatives will be discussed, as well, at this session.


§         The Copenhagen Declaration For the first time in history, at the invitation of the United Nations, we gather as heads of State and Government to recognize the significance of social development and human well-being for all and to give to these goals the highest priority both now and into the twenty-first century. We acknowledge that the people of the world have shown in different ways an urgent need to address profound social problems, especially poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, which affect every country. It is our task to address both their underlying and structural causes and their distressing consequences in order to reduce uncertainty and insecurity in the life of people.


o       UNICEF Documents.


§         Community Life, Holidays, and Special Days Festival days, holidays, and other special days - such as birthdays of national leaders or anniversaries of historical events - are important occasions in the life of a community. These can also be wonderful opportunities to involve families and the community in our classrooms.


§         Cost and Financing of Primary Education. By Santosh Mehrotra and Jan Vandemoortele, 1997.


§         Education for All: Policy Lessons From High-Achieving Countries. By Santosh Mehrotra, 1998.


§         Helping the Community Help the School Even beyond the immediate circle of families with children in our classes, the community can be an important resource, supporting active learning in many ways. Community leaders are often very interested in what's happening in schools, even if they don't have school-age children themselves. Enlisting their support is important, because they can influence others to support your work as well. They may even be willing to visit your class to see the results of special projects. They can then receive brief thank-you letters or cards from the children.


§         Involving Families in Learning Children learn better when their parents and other family members are interested in, and involved with, the school and with education. When we involve families in learning, we enhance the potential for learning in our classrooms, and we create support for our teaching in many ways.


§         Managing Teacher Costs for Access and Quality. By Santosh Mehrotra and Peter Buckland, 1998.


§         Teacher and Communities The value we, as teachers, place on learning and on knowledge is directly communicated to children, and indirectly to the adults in our community. Within the school, we can also represent the best values and attitudes of the community, standing as examples of fairness, of compassion and concern.


§         Teachers Talking about Learning is for teachers working to foster child-friendly learning environments -- explore ideas, get information, discuss and take action through interactive pages and online projects.


§         UNICEF Helps to Ensure Education for All, Particularly for Girls The aim of the conference is to strengthen public and private sector and civil society partnerships and commitments to increase girls’ school participation worldwide.



·        Values, Attitudes, and Behaviours: The Essential Environment The most important element in the learning environment is invisible. It is made up of the values, attitudes, and actions that we and our classes take part in every day. As the teacher, you can exemplify the values that lead to intellectual curiosity and learning, and you can foster those values in the children in your class. The ways that you interact with children can establish the classroom as a place that nurtures investigation and experiment, hard work, and appreciation for the unique abilities of each learner.