Integrating Executive Functioning Principles, and Soft Skills

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Integrating Executive Functioning Principles, and Soft Skills

Transcript Of Integrating Executive Functioning Principles, and Soft Skills

We will begin
Integrating Executive Functioning Principles, and Soft Skills Activities, and Case Management Coaching into TANF work
programs in order to Improve Economic Success for TANF Recipients
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 Lisa Washington-Thomas, Chief, SelfSufficiency/Technical Assistance Branch, Office of Family Assistance
 James Butler, Family Assistance Program Specialist, Office of Family Assistance
 Damon Waters, Family Assistance Program Specialist, Office of Family Assistance

 Donna Pavetti, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
 Beth Babcock, Crittenton Women’s Union  Kate Probert, Minnesota Family Investment
Programs/Diversionary Work ProgramsEmployment Services  Boyd Brown, Ramsey County Easter Seals

Executive Function Skills:
A New Frontier for Workforce and Other Human Service Programs That Aim to Build Adult Capabilities
By LaDonna Pavetti Vice President for Family
Income Support
February 4, 2015

The Challenge
• Can we use Executive Function concepts and principles to improve the effectiveness of TANF employment programs?
– Why are we asking the question? – What are executive function skills and
why do they matter? – What would characterize an executive-
function informed TANF employment program?

Why the Interest in Executive Function Skills for Adults?
• Modest success, even in the most effective employment programs
• Declining employment among single mothers with high school education or less for most of the last 10 years
• Cash assistance provided to very few families • Evidence that if we teach “life skills” we can do better • Two-generation concerns: need to invest in adults to see big
improvements in outcomes for kids

Evidence that moving in new directions could yield positive results

Impetus for applying executive function principles to programs for disadvantaged adults comes out of
a concern for improving outcomes for children
• Theory of Change Supporting A Focus on Adults
(Frontiers of Innovation, Harvard Center on the Developing Child)
• Protecting children from the impacts of toxic stress requires selective skill building—not simply the provision of information and support—for the adults who care for them;
• Interventions that improve the caregiving environment by strengthening the executive function and self-regulation skills will also enhance their employability, thereby providing an opportunity to augment child outcomes by strengthening the economic and social stability of the family; and
• Community-based initiatives and broad-based, systems approaches are likely to be more effective in promoting healthy development and reducing intergenerational disparities if they focus explicitly on strengthening neighborhood-level resources and capacities that buffer young children from the adverse impacts of toxic stress.

Why Executive Function Skills Matter
Executive Function skills are critical for:
• Job success – poor executive functions lead to poor productivity and difficulty finding and keeping a job (Prince et al. 2007)
• Cognitive, social, and psychological development • Success in school and in life • For mental and physical health

What are Executive Function Skills?
Short definition: The conscious control of what we think and do; neurocognitive processes involved in goal-directed behavior (Phil D. Zelazo, Ph.D., Neuroscientist, University of Minnesota)
Useful to think of executive function as having two dimensions: • Process dimension: The steps we go through to achieve a goal • Skill dimension: The skills we draw on at each stage of the process in
order to be successful
AdultsPrinciplesOfficeExecutive Function SkillsExecutive