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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Hahn, Andrew B.; Curnan, Susan P.; Bailis, Lawrence N.; Frees, Joseph; Kingsley, Christopher; LaCava, Lisa A.; Lanspery, Susan; Melchior, Alan L.; Moldow, Erika L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, providing $1.2 billion in targeted funding for the workforce investment system to generate employment and training opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth nationwide. Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor encouraged states and local workforce investment boards to use the funds to create meaningful work experiences for these young people in summer 2009.

    This report was prepared by the Center for Youth and Communities of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University with a grant awarded by the Employment and Training Administration. The report documents the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act summer youth employment initiative in four featured communities: Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana; Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona. The researchers conducted interviews and in-depth site visits over a two-week period in each community and developed individual case...

    On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, providing $1.2 billion in targeted funding for the workforce investment system to generate employment and training opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth nationwide. Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor encouraged states and local workforce investment boards to use the funds to create meaningful work experiences for these young people in summer 2009.

    This report was prepared by the Center for Youth and Communities of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University with a grant awarded by the Employment and Training Administration. The report documents the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act summer youth employment initiative in four featured communities: Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana; Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona. The researchers conducted interviews and in-depth site visits over a two-week period in each community and developed individual case studies describing the recessionary challenges and strategies in the four communities during summer 2009. These four communities collectively received an infusion of more than $37 million and provided an estimated 16,650 summer jobs for low-income and disadvantaged youth. The report describes the local context for implementation, provides insight into specific assets and innovations that were used to achieve the community goals, and identifies elements of best practices and lessons that may inform future summer youth employment initiatives. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Seefeldt, Kristin S.; Castelli, Tedi
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    This study examines the economic coping strategies of low-income families, using data collected through qualitative interviews conducted in 2006-08 with 35 low-income women residing in the Detroit metropolitan area. Three rounds of interviews found that the majority of the sample were employed at least some of the time, and most had children living with them. Despite careful shopping practices, rising food prices forced cutbacks in purchase of certain foods, including milk, cereal, fruits, and meat. Just under half reported running out of food at some point during the year. As for government assistance, the then named Food Stamp Program, and now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was their mainstay. Even when eligible for benefits, many of the families did not receive cash assistance, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation due to perceived access barriers. (author abstract)

    This study examines the economic coping strategies of low-income families, using data collected through qualitative interviews conducted in 2006-08 with 35 low-income women residing in the Detroit metropolitan area. Three rounds of interviews found that the majority of the sample were employed at least some of the time, and most had children living with them. Despite careful shopping practices, rising food prices forced cutbacks in purchase of certain foods, including milk, cereal, fruits, and meat. Just under half reported running out of food at some point during the year. As for government assistance, the then named Food Stamp Program, and now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was their mainstay. Even when eligible for benefits, many of the families did not receive cash assistance, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation due to perceived access barriers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Barr, Michael S.; Dokko, Jane K.
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2006

    The United States Federal income tax code has an enormous potential to shape the economic and financial decisions of taxpaying households. Tax rates, compliance laws, and the withholding system create incentives, as do the methods by which the Treasury collects tax receipts and disburses tax refunds. The role of third party service providers in this incentive structure is less well understood, even though tax preparation firms play important roles in our tax system. Nationally, more than half of taxpayers use paid preparers to submit their tax returns. Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households are among those who use the paid tax preparation system. In fact, among those who file, more than two-thirds of low-income households use paid tax preparation services. Thus, understanding the role of third party providers in the tax system is critical to understanding how our tax system functions. (author abstract)

    The United States Federal income tax code has an enormous potential to shape the economic and financial decisions of taxpaying households. Tax rates, compliance laws, and the withholding system create incentives, as do the methods by which the Treasury collects tax receipts and disburses tax refunds. The role of third party service providers in this incentive structure is less well understood, even though tax preparation firms play important roles in our tax system. Nationally, more than half of taxpayers use paid preparers to submit their tax returns. Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households are among those who use the paid tax preparation system. In fact, among those who file, more than two-thirds of low-income households use paid tax preparation services. Thus, understanding the role of third party providers in the tax system is critical to understanding how our tax system functions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gayle Hamilton; Freedman, Stephen; Gennetian, Lisa; Michalopoulos, Charles; Walter, Johanna; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana; Gassman-Pines, Anna; McGroder, Sharon; Zaslow, Martha; Brooks, Jennifer; Ahluwalia, Surjeet; Small, Electra; Ricchetti, Bryan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor...

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor Force Attachment” [LFA] or, more broadly, “employment-focused” programs); and programs that emphasize longer-term skill-building activities, primarily basic education (referred to as “Human Capital Development” [HCD] or, more broadly, “education-focused” programs). The effects of each approach are estimated from a wealth of data pertaining to over 40,000 single parents (mostly mothers) and their children, and a five-year follow-up period (falling somewhere between 1991 and 1999, depending on the site), using an innovative and rigorous research design based on the random assignment of individuals to one or more program groups (with services) or to a control group (without services). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Freedman, Stephen; Friedlander, Daniel; Hamilton, Gayle; Rock, JoAnn; Mitchell, Marisa; Nudelman, Jodi; Schweder, Amanda; Storto, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of August 19961 ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, one of the nation’s principal safety nets for poor families. Among its provisions, the law replaced AFDC with a block grant program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and created financial incentives for states to run mandatory, work-focused welfare-to-work programs. While these types of programs are not new, various aspects of the 1996 law increase their importance: federal funds now may not be used to support most families on welfare for longer than five years and a number of states and localities have shorter welfare time limits; states face financial penalties if they fail to meet TANF-defined “participation standards,” which require large proportions of welfare recipients to be in work or...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of August 19961 ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, one of the nation’s principal safety nets for poor families. Among its provisions, the law replaced AFDC with a block grant program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and created financial incentives for states to run mandatory, work-focused welfare-to-work programs. While these types of programs are not new, various aspects of the 1996 law increase their importance: federal funds now may not be used to support most families on welfare for longer than five years and a number of states and localities have shorter welfare time limits; states face financial penalties if they fail to meet TANF-defined “participation standards,” which require large proportions of welfare recipients to be in work or work-related activities; and states must have a plan for how they will require recipients to work after two years of assistance.

    To meet the new challenges of the federal welfare legislation, state and local administrators and policy makers need to know about the types of welfare-to-work program approaches that can quickly move substantial numbers of people into work and off welfare. This report provides such guidance, by analyzing the effectiveness of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs operated in seven locales. The sites included in the evaluation are Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California. 

    The report is one in a series from an evaluation of the programs called the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with support from the U.S. Department of Education. Child Trends, as a subcontractor, is conducting the analyses of outcomes for young children (the Child Outcomes Study). Two other recent reports (both also published in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the U.S. Department of Education) should be viewed as “companion” documents to this report: Impacts on Young Children and Their Families Two Years After Enrollment: Findings from the Child Outcomes Study, prepared by Sharon M. McGroder, Martha J. Zaslow, Kristin A. Moore, and Suzanne M. LeMenestrel, Child Trends; and Do Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs Affect the Well-Being of Children? A Synthesis of Child Research Conducted as Part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies, prepared by Gayle Hamilton, MDRC, with Stephen Freedman, MDRC, and Sharon M. McGroder, Child Trends.

    Each of the 11 studied programs operated under the federal Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program, which preceded TANF. Unlike TANF, these programs did not impose a time limit on eligibility for welfare assistance. However, they shared TANF’s primary goal of moving welfare recipients into paid work and off assistance. Further, among the 11 programs some are strongly employment-focused, the welfare-to-work strategy favored under TANF, and some are strongly basic education-focused, an approach possible under TANF but more prevalent during the late 1980s and early 1990s. (Overall, the present results pertain to the period between 1991 and 1996.) The programs varied in other ways, including how broadly the participation mandate was applied to the welfare caseload and how strictly it was enforced, the amount of child care support provided for program participation or employment, and methods of case management. The programs also served different welfare populations and operated in a variety of labor markets. (author abstract)

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