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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: Passarella, Letitia L.; Nicoli, Lisa T.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Economic recovery from the Great Recession has been slow for families with very low incomes. Those with incomes at the very bottom have only experienced two years of household income growth, rising 9% to $13,608 in 2016. Comparatively, middle-income families have had five years of growth with an increase of 11% to just over $59,000. Middle-income families now have earnings higher than their pre-recession levels, while those at the bottom still have not fully recovered. Given these low earnings and slow growth, it is important to examine those families who may have required additional support through Maryland’s Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program.

    The annual report series, Life after Welfare, examines outcomes of families who left cash assistance. The series focuses on families’ characteristics, employment and earnings outcomes, and the receipt of other public benefits. The 2017 update includes a sample of 12,597 families who left the TCA program between January 2004 and March 2017. We examine trends through the lens of three different cohorts: (a) Mid-2000s Recovery—a...

    Economic recovery from the Great Recession has been slow for families with very low incomes. Those with incomes at the very bottom have only experienced two years of household income growth, rising 9% to $13,608 in 2016. Comparatively, middle-income families have had five years of growth with an increase of 11% to just over $59,000. Middle-income families now have earnings higher than their pre-recession levels, while those at the bottom still have not fully recovered. Given these low earnings and slow growth, it is important to examine those families who may have required additional support through Maryland’s Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program.

    The annual report series, Life after Welfare, examines outcomes of families who left cash assistance. The series focuses on families’ characteristics, employment and earnings outcomes, and the receipt of other public benefits. The 2017 update includes a sample of 12,597 families who left the TCA program between January 2004 and March 2017. We examine trends through the lens of three different cohorts: (a) Mid-2000s Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2004 and March 2007; (b) Great Recession Era—an increasing caseload between April 2007 and December 2011; and (c) Great Recession Recovery—a declining caseload between January 2012 and March 2017.

    The main findings from this report indicate that families’ financial situations improved after exiting the TCA program, compared with their circumstances before they came onto the program. Nonetheless, these families struggle to rise above poverty and maintain independence from cash assistance. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Copson, Elizabeth; Gardiner, Karen; Kitrosser, Daniel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This report documents the implementation and early impacts of the Carreras en Salud (Careers in Health) program, operated by Instituto del Progreso Latino, in Chicago, Illinois. The Carreras en Salud program is one promising effort aimed at helping low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. A distinctive feature of this program is its focus on training for low-income Latinos for employment in healthcare occupations, primarily Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It is among nine career pathways programs being evaluated in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. The Carreras en Salud program consists of five elements: (1) a structured healthcare training pathway, starting at low skill levels; (2) contextualized and accelerated basic skills and ESL instruction; (3) academic advising and non-academic supports; (4) financial assistance; and (5) employment services. Using a rigorous...

    This report documents the implementation and early impacts of the Carreras en Salud (Careers in Health) program, operated by Instituto del Progreso Latino, in Chicago, Illinois. The Carreras en Salud program is one promising effort aimed at helping low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. A distinctive feature of this program is its focus on training for low-income Latinos for employment in healthcare occupations, primarily Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It is among nine career pathways programs being evaluated in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. The Carreras en Salud program consists of five elements: (1) a structured healthcare training pathway, starting at low skill levels; (2) contextualized and accelerated basic skills and ESL instruction; (3) academic advising and non-academic supports; (4) financial assistance; and (5) employment services. Using a rigorous research design, the study found that the Carreras en Salud program increased hours of occupational training and basic skills instruction received and the attainment of education credentials within an 18-month follow-up period. The program also increased employment in the healthcare field and resulted in a reduction of participants reporting financial hardship. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into gains in employment and earnings. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Kendall, Jessica R.
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Jessica R. Kendall, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Core features of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) promoted work and job preparation among Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash recipients. Welfare reform was influenced by a sizeable volume of research on welfare-to-work programs taking place at the time. Since PRWORA’s passage, newer—albeit fewer—studies have assessed more recent welfare-to-work efforts.

    What have these studies found and what have we learned from them?  

    In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a surge of legislatively supported random assignment evaluations to test the effectiveness of mandatory welfare programs...

    Posted by Jessica R. Kendall, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Core features of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) promoted work and job preparation among Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash recipients. Welfare reform was influenced by a sizeable volume of research on welfare-to-work programs taking place at the time. Since PRWORA’s passage, newer—albeit fewer—studies have assessed more recent welfare-to-work efforts.

    What have these studies found and what have we learned from them?  

    In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a surge of legislatively supported random assignment evaluations to test the effectiveness of mandatory welfare programs that offered employment services, education and training, or both. During this period federal law authorized one of the largest welfare-to-work evaluations to-date, the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS). This multi-year study assessed initiatives in 11 different welfare-to-work programs across the country. Primary strategies evaluated offered pre-employment short-term job assistance and rapid job placement or longer-term skilling building opportunities. All programs studied increased employment and earnings and decreased welfare receipt. But no program made families materially better off—neither increasing income nor reducing poverty.

    Around the same time, many states conducted their own random assignment evaluations under waiver provisions of the federal Social Security Act. A range of program strategies were tested in these studies—from mandatory work requirements to earning supplements and time limits. Each included an impact analysis of program effects and many became the basis for states’ TANF programs. One such study—of Minnesota’s Family Investment Program—evaluated strategies that offered financial incentives, which included allowing participants to keep more of their cash assistance when they went to work compared with other welfare participants. It also included paying child care expenses directly to providers, combined welfare, family general assistance, and food stamps, and required participation in a week-long job skills class, followed by seven weeks of supervised job search and group activities. Compared with the control group, the Family Investment Program’s relatively intensive supports increased employment and earning in the months following program entry and participants more quickly found jobs. The study also found positive impact on child well-being—noting that children exhibited fewer behavioral problems, did better in school, were more likely to be in a child care setting, and were more likely to have continuous health care coverage.

    Overall, earlier welfare-to-work studies showed positive, but small impacts on employment and welfare receipt—common program features that may be related to these results included job search supports, time limits, and financial incentives. 

    Following welfare reform, the federal government continued to fund experimental studies examining approaches to improve the impacts of welfare-to-work programs. Many of these studies showed limited or mixed results. The Employment Retention and Advancement Project (ERA), 1998-2011 evaluated strategies to promote employment retention and advancement among welfare participants and low-wage workers. It assessed 16 approaches in eight states. It found that earning supplements combined with employment services may have positive earnings results, but did not find positive results for programs that combined work and education. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation, 2001-2012 assessed the effectiveness of programs designed to enhance employment outcomes for current or former TANF participants and other low-income parents who have demonstrated difficulty entering and sustaining employment. It assessed four sites, each targeting different populations—from TANF recipients to ex-offenders, and Medicaid recipients. The studies had mixed results—subsidized transitional jobs did not show long-term impacts on employment or earnings; one program focused on TANF recipients with disabilities showed some positive earning impacts.

    Today, ongoing studies continue to test what works in welfare-to-work programming. Several focus on career laddering initiatives that seek to move participants into better paying jobs and sustained self-sufficiency. Some assess the intersection and coordination between different, but overlapping human service systems. Still others are testing enhanced case management and supportive interventions to build participant capacity and promote job retention. Few, however, have focused on various sub-populations of TANF participants, including those with specific barriers or children. Few early studies also included implementation analyses to more fully discern how various program features were executed and why. While there continue to be gaps in our understanding of welfare-to-work initiatives, larger policy and research questions have also arisen. Some suggest that a broader focus on TANF evaluation is in order. With only a small portion of today’s TANF funds being used for cash assistance programs—what are the impacts TANF funds have in supporting other programs that serve needy families and children?   

    Learn more about welfare-to-work from the SSRC:

    The SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about welfare-to-work, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to 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: Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    This set of selections focuses on welfare-to-work and TANF studies. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

    This set of selections focuses on welfare-to-work and TANF studies. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

  • Individual Author: Werner, Alan; Schwartz, Deena; Koralek, Robin; Loprest, Pamela; Sick, Nathan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This is the final report of the National Implementation Evaluation (NIE) of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG). In 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the first round of 5-year HPOG grants (HPOG 1.0) to 32 organizations in 23 states; five were tribal organizations. The purpose of the HPOG Program is to provide education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. HPOG 1.0 grantees designed and implemented programs to provide eligible participants with education, occupational training, and support and employment services to help them train for and find jobs in a variety of healthcare professions. (Author abstract) 

    This is the final report of the National Implementation Evaluation (NIE) of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG). In 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the first round of 5-year HPOG grants (HPOG 1.0) to 32 organizations in 23 states; five were tribal organizations. The purpose of the HPOG Program is to provide education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. HPOG 1.0 grantees designed and implemented programs to provide eligible participants with education, occupational training, and support and employment services to help them train for and find jobs in a variety of healthcare professions. (Author abstract) 

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