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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: Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    The budget for the U.S. Department of Labor for Fiscal Year 2010 includes a total of $45 million to support and study transitional jobs. This paper describes the origins of the transitional jobs models that are operating today, reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of this approach and other subsidized employment models, and offers some suggestions regarding the next steps for program design and research. The paper was produced for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by MDRC as part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ project, which includes two random assignment evaluations of transitional jobs programs.

    Transitional jobs programs provide temporary, wage-paying jobs, support services, and job placement help to individuals who have difficulty getting and holding jobs in the regular labor market. Although recent evaluation results have raised doubts about whether TJ programs, as currently designed, are an effective way to improve participants’ long-term employment prospects, the studies have also confirmed that TJ programs can be operated at...

    The budget for the U.S. Department of Labor for Fiscal Year 2010 includes a total of $45 million to support and study transitional jobs. This paper describes the origins of the transitional jobs models that are operating today, reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of this approach and other subsidized employment models, and offers some suggestions regarding the next steps for program design and research. The paper was produced for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by MDRC as part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ project, which includes two random assignment evaluations of transitional jobs programs.

    Transitional jobs programs provide temporary, wage-paying jobs, support services, and job placement help to individuals who have difficulty getting and holding jobs in the regular labor market. Although recent evaluation results have raised doubts about whether TJ programs, as currently designed, are an effective way to improve participants’ long-term employment prospects, the studies have also confirmed that TJ programs can be operated at scale, can create useful work opportunities for very disadvantaged people, and can lead to critical indirect impacts such as reducing recidivism among former prisoners. Thus, in drawing lessons from the recent results, the paper argues that it may be important to think more broadly about the goals of TJ programs while simultaneously testing new strategies that may produce better long-term employment outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Rucker C.; Kalil, Ariel; Dunifon, Rachel E.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2010

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon focus on this tenuous work-family balance, or lack thereof, and its effects on children. What they discover is that work per se is not detrimental for single-mother families. In fact, it brings stability, routine, and a sense of pride to working women and their families. However, they also find that the nature of the work— the type of work, number of hours worked, and the flexibility of the job—is a key factor in maintaining an acceptable balance and in promoting positive outcomes for their children.

    Basing their findings on the Women's Employment Study (WES), the authors provide evidence of the links between maternal work experiences and longer-run trajectories of child well-being. When a working mother is not on a regular work schedule, has hours that fluctuate from week to week, or works at a full-time job that presents limited wage growth and menial tasks, her children's behavior is more likely to deteriorate. Similar results are seen for those who bounce from job to job or are laid off or fired, since this churning often leads to frequent...

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon focus on this tenuous work-family balance, or lack thereof, and its effects on children. What they discover is that work per se is not detrimental for single-mother families. In fact, it brings stability, routine, and a sense of pride to working women and their families. However, they also find that the nature of the work— the type of work, number of hours worked, and the flexibility of the job—is a key factor in maintaining an acceptable balance and in promoting positive outcomes for their children.

    Basing their findings on the Women's Employment Study (WES), the authors provide evidence of the links between maternal work experiences and longer-run trajectories of child well-being. When a working mother is not on a regular work schedule, has hours that fluctuate from week to week, or works at a full-time job that presents limited wage growth and menial tasks, her children's behavior is more likely to deteriorate. Similar results are seen for those who bounce from job to job or are laid off or fired, since this churning often leads to frequent residential moves. The aspects of child well-being that the unique data from the WES allow the authors to examine include externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems, disruptive behavior at school, school absenteeism, grade repetition, and placement in special education.

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon conclude that more employment opportunities offering the flexibility required by working parents to balance their work and family lives, along with affordable and safe housing, health insurance, and reliable child care, are needed to bolster the economic security and child well-being of low-income working families.

    Overall, this book sheds light on whether one of TANF's original goals—putting low-income mothers on a path to economic growth—is being met. (Publisher abstract)

    Contents

    1. The Road to Welfare Reform

    The Ideological Divide on Helping the Poor

    The New Welfare Bill

    The Response: What about the Children?

    Surprising Results: Caseloads Plummet

    The Low-Wage Job Market

    Mothers’ Work and Children’s Development

    The Focus of this Book

    1. The Women's Employment Study

    The Policy Context in Michigan

    The Data Source: Women’s Employment Study

    Measures

    Snapshot of the Study Participants

    The Connection between Mothers’ Employment and Changes in Child Development

    Empirical Strategy

    1. The Effect of Low-Income Mothers' Employment on Children

    The Juggling Act

    Unpredictable Work Schedules Associated with Behavior Problems

    Job Churn and Associated Risks for Children

    Not All Work Is Detrimental

    Effects of Other Measures

    Recap of Main Results

    1. Conclusions and Policy Implications

    Remaining Puzzles

    Anticipating the Future

    Promising Options – Improving Job Retention and Advancement for Low-Income Working Parents

    Beyond Intervention: Strengthening the Safety Net

     

  • Individual Author: Mead, Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2005

    "Good government" is commonly seen either as a formidable challenge, a distant dream, or an oxymoron, and yet it is the reason why Wisconsin led America toward welfare reform. In this book, Lawrence Mead shows in depth what the Badger State did and--just as important--how it was done. Wisconsin's welfare reform was the most radical in the country, and it began far earlier than that in most other states. It was the achievement of legislators and administrators who were unusually high-minded and effective by national standards. Their decade-long struggle to overhaul welfare is a gripping story that inspires hope for better solutions to poverty nationwide.

    Mead shows that Wisconsin succeeded--not just because it did the right things, but because its government was unusually masterful. Politicians collaborated across partisan lines, and administrators showed initiative and creativity in revamping welfare. Although Wisconsin erred at some points, it achieved promising policies, which then had good outcomes in terms of higher employment and reduced dependency. Mead also shows...

    "Good government" is commonly seen either as a formidable challenge, a distant dream, or an oxymoron, and yet it is the reason why Wisconsin led America toward welfare reform. In this book, Lawrence Mead shows in depth what the Badger State did and--just as important--how it was done. Wisconsin's welfare reform was the most radical in the country, and it began far earlier than that in most other states. It was the achievement of legislators and administrators who were unusually high-minded and effective by national standards. Their decade-long struggle to overhaul welfare is a gripping story that inspires hope for better solutions to poverty nationwide.

    Mead shows that Wisconsin succeeded--not just because it did the right things, but because its government was unusually masterful. Politicians collaborated across partisan lines, and administrators showed initiative and creativity in revamping welfare. Although Wisconsin erred at some points, it achieved promising policies, which then had good outcomes in terms of higher employment and reduced dependency. Mead also shows that these lessons hold nationally. It is states with strong good-government traditions, such as Wisconsin, that typically have implemented welfare reform best. Thus, solutions to poverty must finally look past policies and programs to the capacities of government itself. Although governmental quality is uneven across the states, it is also improving, and that bodes well for better antipoverty policies in the future. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bania, Neil; Coulton, Claudia; Leete, Laura
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    Using data for welfare recipients who left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program during 1996 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio, the authors compare the determinants of labor market outcomes across three classes of housing assistance: those who receive a certificate or voucher, those who reside in a traditional public housing project, and those who reside in a Section 8 housing project. The statistical model includes spatially based measures of job opportunities for welfare recipients as well as measures of access to those opportunities. (author abstract)

    Using data for welfare recipients who left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program during 1996 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio, the authors compare the determinants of labor market outcomes across three classes of housing assistance: those who receive a certificate or voucher, those who reside in a traditional public housing project, and those who reside in a Section 8 housing project. The statistical model includes spatially based measures of job opportunities for welfare recipients as well as measures of access to those opportunities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Caragata, Lea; Hutchinson, Susan; Marcus, Myra; McPhee, Debra M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    The following paper provides an analysis of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) and the specific impact of this legislation on poor women and children. It is argued that the current political/policy climate demands that helping professionals need to rethink their intervention methods in working with poor women. Proposed is an innovative response to the needs of this constituency which utilizes Freire's (1971) theories of popular education and “conscientization” as a model. The proposed model is founded on the belief that in order to achieve lasting change and real self-sufficiency women welfare recipients will need to begin to recognize themselves as political beings with the potential for exercising both individual and collective power. Moreover, it is argued that social workers and other frontline professionals have a critical role to play in the promotion of social justice, and social action on behalf of the poor clients they serve. (author abstract)

    The following paper provides an analysis of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) and the specific impact of this legislation on poor women and children. It is argued that the current political/policy climate demands that helping professionals need to rethink their intervention methods in working with poor women. Proposed is an innovative response to the needs of this constituency which utilizes Freire's (1971) theories of popular education and “conscientization” as a model. The proposed model is founded on the belief that in order to achieve lasting change and real self-sufficiency women welfare recipients will need to begin to recognize themselves as political beings with the potential for exercising both individual and collective power. Moreover, it is argued that social workers and other frontline professionals have a critical role to play in the promotion of social justice, and social action on behalf of the poor clients they serve. (author abstract)

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