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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Duane, Marina; La Vigne, Nancy G.; Reimal, Emily; Lynch, Mathew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Criminal background checks continue to be a routine practice among many employers in the United States. According to a recent survey, almost 60 percent of employers screen job applicants for their criminal histories. Despite their prevalence, criminal background checks often generate flawed or incomplete reports, with some reports failing to include conviction information. Such flaws may undermine the value of the screenings to employers and prevent suitable candidates who pose no additional risk to the public from securing a job. This report examines criminal background checks as a significant collateral consequence for justice-involved people and explores the importance of employment to reducing recidivism. (Author abstract)

    Criminal background checks continue to be a routine practice among many employers in the United States. According to a recent survey, almost 60 percent of employers screen job applicants for their criminal histories. Despite their prevalence, criminal background checks often generate flawed or incomplete reports, with some reports failing to include conviction information. Such flaws may undermine the value of the screenings to employers and prevent suitable candidates who pose no additional risk to the public from securing a job. This report examines criminal background checks as a significant collateral consequence for justice-involved people and explores the importance of employment to reducing recidivism. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cavadel, Elizabeth W.; Kauff, Jacqueline F. ; Anderson, Mary Anne ; McConnell, Sheena M.; Derr, Michelle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are increasingly interested in the role that self-regulation may play in the ability of people to obtain and maintain employment. This interest is motivated by findings from three broad strands of research. First, research suggests self-regulation is necessary for goal setting and goal pursuit, which in turn foster positive outcomes across a variety of contexts (Deci and Ryan 2000). Second, there is growing evidence that the conditions associated with poverty can hinder the development and/or use of self-regulation skills (Mullainathan and Shafir 2013). Third, there is suggestive evidence that self-regulation skills continue to develop and improve in adulthood (Blair and Raver 2015). The report defines self-regulation and the specific self-regulation skills that may be most relevant for attaining employment-related goals. It describes how the development and use of self-regulation skills may be hindered by environmental factors, such as poverty as well as how these skills may be strengthened through interventions and strategies that...

    Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are increasingly interested in the role that self-regulation may play in the ability of people to obtain and maintain employment. This interest is motivated by findings from three broad strands of research. First, research suggests self-regulation is necessary for goal setting and goal pursuit, which in turn foster positive outcomes across a variety of contexts (Deci and Ryan 2000). Second, there is growing evidence that the conditions associated with poverty can hinder the development and/or use of self-regulation skills (Mullainathan and Shafir 2013). Third, there is suggestive evidence that self-regulation skills continue to develop and improve in adulthood (Blair and Raver 2015). The report defines self-regulation and the specific self-regulation skills that may be most relevant for attaining employment-related goals. It describes how the development and use of self-regulation skills may be hindered by environmental factors, such as poverty as well as how these skills may be strengthened through interventions and strategies that have been successful in other contexts. In addition, the report provides examples of employment programs that have incorporated interventions focused on self-regulation and goal attainment and discusses the importance and challenges of measuring the success of such interventions. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Abdi, Fadumo; Lantos, Hannah
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi and Hannah Lantos, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Disconnected youth are broadly defined as individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working. Some, including those that are more likely to be chronically disconnected, may face additional challenges as a result of complicated risk factors such as poor mental...

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi and Hannah Lantos, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Disconnected youth are broadly defined as individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working. Some, including those that are more likely to be chronically disconnected, may face additional challenges as a result of complicated risk factors such as poor mental health, a history of involvement with the juvenile justice system or familial incarceration, being a member of a minority group, low academic achievement, or family poverty. The combination of these factors create barriers for youth to connect to education or, without education credentials, find employment, which further impedes their path to a self-sufficient adulthood.

    It is currently estimated that there are between 5.5 and 6.7 million youth who are neither working nor in school. This represents approximately 15 to 17 percent of the American youth population. Minorities, particularly minority males, are overrepresented among disconnected youth. Currently, the policy and practice literature doesn’t provide a universal definition of disconnected youth that is inclusive of the diverse population making estimations of the numbers of youth impacted by disconnection difficult. Youth who belong to other groups such as the LGBTQ population, youth who are aging out of foster care or have left the system, and youth who have been engaged with the juvenile justice system. Youth who are a part of these groups are vulnerable, at-risk for, or already disconnected and are more likely to experience more complex obstacles when transitioning towards self-sufficiency.

    Traditional indicators of a successful transition to adulthood have included career development, marriage, and parenthood. In the past three decades, these indicators of transition to adulthood have changed over time. Youth have shifted from early participation in the workforce to prolonged enrollment in higher education. Changes in the labor market, such as increased labor-saving technology, and the increasing prevalence of jobs that require a higher level skill set have made it difficult for youth to reach their long term career goals without higher education. The Great Recession of 2007 resulted in widespread increases in unemployment that was more severe for vulnerable populations including youth. Due to these social and workforce shifts, disconnected youth have found it more difficult to achieve self-sufficiency in the face of high unemployment.

    There are a number of initiatives underway that aim to help disconnected youth make a successful transition to adulthood. These programs take into account both the highly complex needs of disconnected youth and their importance to the economy. Intervention and prevention programs aimed at connecting youth to opportunity take four forms: (1) workforce development and skill building programs, (2) behavioral programs that work to prevent disconnection, (3) comprehensive programs which address social support needs and job training, and (4) early prevention programs that aim to re-engage adolescents who have dropped out of school or are at-risk of early drop out by providing counseling, helping to develop social and cognitive skills, and providing academic support services.

    Workforce development programs may vary depending on their target population and the specific outcomes to be achieved but typically includes career development opportunities for high schools students, combine education with vocational training, or target older youth with a greater focus on skills development. There is also a growing recognition that behavioral and mental health issues should be addressed alongside skill building and higher education attainment in order for disconnected youth to be successful long-term. In addition, employers and workforce programs have come to realize the importance of soft skills development, such as communication skills, conflict resolution, and self-regulation, for youth entering the workforce.

    Despite the broad scope of youth disconnection, researchers and practitioners have used common characteristics to describe this population, such as age, educational attainment, length of unemployment, or the socio-economic costs of youth disconnection to identify key factors that may alleviate challenges associated with the highly complex nature of youth disconnection. More evidence on youth disconnection is available now than at any other time in our history which helps to facilitate greater understanding of the challenges disconnected youth face, the extent of youth disconnection locally and nationally, and ultimately the development of better strategies to serve them.

    The SSRC library contains numerous resources and evaluations related to disconnected youth, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

  • Individual Author: Fontaine, Jocelyn ; Kurs, Emma
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    With funding from the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct an implementation evaluation of OFA’s Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”). Six organizations were funded to implement a range of activities intended to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This brief, one of three in a series, focuses on the economic stability activities implemented by the projects. Economic stability was a core focus of the Fatherhood Reentry projects based on the extant literature highlighting formerly incarcerated people’s needs for assistance in achieving self-sufficiency to reach their reentry and family reunification goals. Incarceration is a risk factor for unemployment, and formerly incarcerated people have difficulty achieving economic stability for various reasons that encompass both personal challenges and systemic barriers. This brief provides a short overview...

    With funding from the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct an implementation evaluation of OFA’s Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”). Six organizations were funded to implement a range of activities intended to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This brief, one of three in a series, focuses on the economic stability activities implemented by the projects. Economic stability was a core focus of the Fatherhood Reentry projects based on the extant literature highlighting formerly incarcerated people’s needs for assistance in achieving self-sufficiency to reach their reentry and family reunification goals. Incarceration is a risk factor for unemployment, and formerly incarcerated people have difficulty achieving economic stability for various reasons that encompass both personal challenges and systemic barriers. This brief provides a short overview of this literature, highlighting the importance of economic stability activities for fathers who are incarcerated or were formerly incarcerated, the barriers people face upon their return to the community, and how employment is associated with better outcomes among returning people, their families, and the community. We then include descriptions of the activities the Fatherhood Reentry projects used to foster economic stability for participating fathers and their families. We conclude with recommendations, based on the experiences of the Fatherhood Reentry projects, for practitioners implementing economic stability activities for the reentry population. (Author introduction) 

  • Individual Author: Hoffman, Denise; Hemmeter, Jeffrey; Bailey, Michelle S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are presumed eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and youth who receive SSI may access those services as they prepare for the transition from school to work. Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is intended to help youth with disabilities become employed and maintain employment and thereby lessen their reliance on disability benefits in adulthood. In passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014, policymakers sought to expand VR and complementary services for transition-age youth with disabilities, in part to improve their employment outcomes in adulthood and decrease their reliance on benefits. In this brief, we document the rates of participation in VR by youth SSI recipients, describe the characteristics of youth who receive VR, and report on the association between youth’s VR participation and their employment and benefit outcomes in adulthood. Our findings indicate that, in 2001, 13 percent of youth SSI recipients ages 14 to 17 reported receiving VR services. Thirteen years later, when these individuals were...

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are presumed eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and youth who receive SSI may access those services as they prepare for the transition from school to work. Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is intended to help youth with disabilities become employed and maintain employment and thereby lessen their reliance on disability benefits in adulthood. In passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014, policymakers sought to expand VR and complementary services for transition-age youth with disabilities, in part to improve their employment outcomes in adulthood and decrease their reliance on benefits. In this brief, we document the rates of participation in VR by youth SSI recipients, describe the characteristics of youth who receive VR, and report on the association between youth’s VR participation and their employment and benefit outcomes in adulthood. Our findings indicate that, in 2001, 13 percent of youth SSI recipients ages 14 to 17 reported receiving VR services. Thirteen years later, when these individuals were ages 27 to 30, a higher proportion had substantial earnings and a lower proportion received SSI compared with other SSI recipients who did not receive VR services, holding observable characteristics constant. We cannot determine the extent to which the associations between VR and these adult outcomes reflect unobserved differences between youth who participate in VR and those who do not versus the effect of VR services on outcomes. Nonetheless, the promising associations between VR and long-term adult outcomes highlight the potential benefits of providing early support to transition-age youth. (Author abstract)

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