ALICE: Looking up financial insecurity region by region in Virginia & 14 other states

United Way logoWorking Hard, But Struggling to Survive

ALICE is a United Way acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This is a project of United Ways in Connecticut, Florida, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

ALICE families earn above the federal poverty level, but do not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care. The United Way ALICE Reports use new measures to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level. This link leads to a page on the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration’s site that houses the regional Virginia statistics.

Logo of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark


Statistics about women in the labor force

From the U.S. Census Bureau (March, 2015)

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Census Bureau released some fascinating statistics about women in the United States. But, fascinating doesn’t necessarily translate into positive.

The stats include the persistent wage gap that shows women still make just 78 cents to every dollar earned by men as well as the significant disparity of the representation of women in STEM (science technology education, and math), such as in careers like computer programmers, physicians and surgeons, lawyers and judges, police officers, and civil engineers.

These harsh inequality facts are among the reasons why many agencies and the White House [in 2015] have committed to creating more opportunities in STEM (ScienceTechnologyEngineeringMath) for women and girls.


Click on this link to the U.S. Census Bureau to the article,  FFF Women’s History Month, March 2015.

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Poverty in the U.S.

An op ed by Angus Deaton in the January 24, 2018 edition of the New York Times, entitled “The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem,” discusses the numbers of U.S. citizens who live in poverty as deep as those in developing nations.

Poverty 2018

Graphic, New York Times

“When we compare absolute poverty in the United States with absolute poverty in India, or other poor countries, we should be using $4 in the United States and $1.90 in India.

Once we do this, there are 5.3 million Americans who are absolutely poor by global standards. This is a small number compared with the one for India, for example, but it is more than in Sierra Leone (3.2 million) or Nepal (2.5 million)…”

The graph above depicts the number of people who live on $4 or less per day and where the U.S. poor sit in relation to the poor in other Western countries.. In the U.S. the plight of the poor is exacerbated by lack of affordable housing. These costs are usually missed by World Bank estimates.

Angus Deaton is a professor of economics and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University, the presidential professor of economics at the University of Southern California and the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics.

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Using the PIAAC Literacy Framework to Guide Instruction: An Introduction for Adult Educators

The introduction to the PIAAC Literacy Freamwork to Guide Instruction: An  Inroduction for Adult Educators by Amy Trawick (January 2017) reveals the following facts about adult education and literacy for adults in the U.S.:

Piaac literacy framework

“In general, the average score for adults in the United States was not significantly different from the international
average in reading literacy (Rampey, Finnegan, Goodman, Mohadjer, Krenzke, Hogan, &
Provasnik, 2016). However, the overall average conceals results of great concern:

  • A larger percentage of U.S. adults scored in the very lowest levels for reading literacy, compared to the international cohort;
  • U.S. adults with less than a high school diploma scored lower than their peers
  • While only 9% of Whites in the U.S. scored at the lowest levels of proficiency, 33% of Blacks and 40% of Hispanics performed at these levels;
  • Roughly 75% of unemployed adults (age 16-65) in the U.S. have less than a high
    school credential as their highest education level, and a third of these perform at the lowest levels in reading literacy; and
  • Adults with the lowest literacy scores were more likely to report a poor health status and more limited civic engagement (Rampey et al., 2016).”

The resource contains the following information for instructors in terms of WIOA requirements for teaching reading and Standards Based Instruction:


  • Definition for Literacy
  • Basic Task Elements: Contexts, Content, and Cognitive Strategies
    • Contexts
    • Content
    • Cognitive Strategies
    • Factors Affecting Task Difficulty


  • Phase 1: Contextualize the Skill Instruction, Using the Basic PIAAC Framework Elements
  • Phase 2: Incorporate the Factors Affecting Task Difficulty
  • Phase 3: Embed and Sequence Instruction in the Most Relevant Skills
  • Putting It All Together

Click here to learn more about the document.

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2016 American Community Survey – Virginia Educational Breakdown by Age Group

This post provides census information  (ACS) for age breakouts of Virginians educational level. Click on the linkbelow  to the PDF document for Virginia.


Breakdown of adults in Virginia without a high school diploma

2016 Community Survey VA Educ Levels

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Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners


In this paper, we discuss the design of CAPITAL Words, an educational Android application to help low-literacy adults improve their phonemic awareness. We discuss our design choices concerning iconography, linearity, consistency, robustness, interactivity, and visibility when creating mobile software usable by illiterate users. We conducted a usability study with 11 adult learners at a local literacy center to determine how successfully users are able to interact with our interface. Results show that the majority of our design choices were intuitive for low-literacy adults with prior smartphone experience and highly learnable for inexperienced users, and that users overwhelmingly enjoyed using the app as a learning tool. This suggests that, if users are given a small amount of guidance initially, there is a high likelihood that they will be both willing and able to continue using our app independently to improve their literacy skills.

Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners, Jennifer R. Hill, May 2016, Georgetown University.  (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Sep 6, 2017].

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New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Report for Accelerating Opportunity


Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.47.35 PMJobs for the Future provides a link to the final implementation report, which “describes the effect of Accelerating Opportunity (AO) on education and employment outcomes for underprepared adult learners. Designed and led by Jobs for the Future and national partners, AO allowed adults with low basic skills to enroll in integrated career pathways at community and technical colleges.”

New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Report for Accelerating Opportunity, Theresa Anderson, Daniel Kuehn, Lauren Eyster, Burt S. Barnow, and Roberth Il Lerman, Urban Institute, 2017.

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