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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: Ross, Martha; Holmes, Natalie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    This report and accompanying interactive data tool provide a unique perspective on young adults ages 18-24 who are out of work, focusing on those in mid to large cities and counties. The authors use cluster analysis to segment out-of-work young adults into groups likely to benefit from similar types of employment and education-related assistance, based on factors such as educational attainment, work history, school enrollment, disability, English language proficiency, and family status. Through the cluster analysis, they identify five groups of out-of-work young adults, and then introduce fictionalized personas as examples of people in each of the groups. Lastly, the report provides recommendations for state, local, civic, and institutional leaders to help more young people successfully navigate the transition into the labor market. (Edited author introduction)

    This report and accompanying interactive data tool provide a unique perspective on young adults ages 18-24 who are out of work, focusing on those in mid to large cities and counties. The authors use cluster analysis to segment out-of-work young adults into groups likely to benefit from similar types of employment and education-related assistance, based on factors such as educational attainment, work history, school enrollment, disability, English language proficiency, and family status. Through the cluster analysis, they identify five groups of out-of-work young adults, and then introduce fictionalized personas as examples of people in each of the groups. Lastly, the report provides recommendations for state, local, civic, and institutional leaders to help more young people successfully navigate the transition into the labor market. (Edited 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: Anderson, Theresa
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2017

    This PowerPoint presentation from the 2017 NAWRS workshop summarizes lessons from building programs that promote post-secondary success among disadvantaged youth.

    This PowerPoint presentation from the 2017 NAWRS workshop summarizes lessons from building programs that promote post-secondary success among disadvantaged youth.

  • Individual Author: Bird, Kisha; Okoh, Clarence
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    Employment is an important part of youth development and the successful progression into young adulthood. Young people learn important communication and social skills, and are also exposed to careers, workplace culture, and opportunities to hone problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Research reinforces the importance of early work experience, especially for poor and low-income youth. Youth employment strategies, including summer jobs, paid internships, and year-round subsidized work experiences, can be linked to a broader approach to address poverty. Children who are born poor—and are persistently poor—are significantly more likely than those not poor at birth to experience poverty in adulthood, unemployment, and underemployment. Persistent childhood poverty (living below the federal poverty level for at least half of one’s childhood) is prevalent among Black children. To lift children—particularly children and youth of color—out of poverty, they must have access to work and a career path leading into adulthood. Beyond eventual economic security and social mobility, there are...

    Employment is an important part of youth development and the successful progression into young adulthood. Young people learn important communication and social skills, and are also exposed to careers, workplace culture, and opportunities to hone problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Research reinforces the importance of early work experience, especially for poor and low-income youth. Youth employment strategies, including summer jobs, paid internships, and year-round subsidized work experiences, can be linked to a broader approach to address poverty. Children who are born poor—and are persistently poor—are significantly more likely than those not poor at birth to experience poverty in adulthood, unemployment, and underemployment. Persistent childhood poverty (living below the federal poverty level for at least half of one’s childhood) is prevalent among Black children. To lift children—particularly children and youth of color—out of poverty, they must have access to work and a career path leading into adulthood. Beyond eventual economic security and social mobility, there are many short and long-term benefits to youth employment. Employed teens are more likely to graduate high school, and recent research studies suggest that employment during the summer months can prevent involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Moreover, employment in the teen years is a significant predictor of successful attachment to the labor market into adulthood. It is also linked to increased earnings in the short-term and later in life. In fact, older youth have almost a 100% chance of being employed in a given year if they have worked more than 40 weeks in the previous year. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Miller, Cynthia; Millenky, Megan; Schwartz, Lisa; Goble, Lisbeth; Stein, Jillian
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    Young people have been hit especially hard by changes in the labor market over the past decades. Unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds increased the most of any age group during the recent recession, and remains more than double that among older adults. The unemployment rate is especially high for young people without high school diplomas. YouthBuild is one program that attempts to help this group, serving over 10,000 of them each year at over 250 organizations nationwide. Each organization provides construction-related or other vocational training, educational services, counseling, and leadership-development opportunities to low-income young people ages 16 to 24 who did not complete high school.

    YouthBuild is being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial, in which eligible young people at participating programs were assigned either to a program group, invited to enroll in YouthBuild, or to a control group, referred to other services in the community. The evaluation includes 75 programs across the country funded by the U.S. Department of Labor or the Corporation for...

    Young people have been hit especially hard by changes in the labor market over the past decades. Unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds increased the most of any age group during the recent recession, and remains more than double that among older adults. The unemployment rate is especially high for young people without high school diplomas. YouthBuild is one program that attempts to help this group, serving over 10,000 of them each year at over 250 organizations nationwide. Each organization provides construction-related or other vocational training, educational services, counseling, and leadership-development opportunities to low-income young people ages 16 to 24 who did not complete high school.

    YouthBuild is being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial, in which eligible young people at participating programs were assigned either to a program group, invited to enroll in YouthBuild, or to a control group, referred to other services in the community. The evaluation includes 75 programs across the country funded by the U.S. Department of Labor or the Corporation for National and Community Service and nearly 4,000 young people who enrolled in the study between 2011 and 2013. This report, the second in the evaluation, presents the program’s effects on young people through two and a half years. (Author abstract)

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