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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: Hamilton, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building...

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building activities (primarily basic education) before entering the labor market — and a third approach that mixed elements of the other two.  The strategies’ success was measured with respect to the goals and combinations of goals that policymakers and program operators have set for welfare-to-work programs, which include cutting the welfare rolls, increasing employment, reducing poverty, not worsening (or, better still, improving) the well-being of children, and saving government money.  The study examined the programs’ effects on single-parent welfare recipients, who account for the vast majority of the national welfare caseload, as well as on different subgroups thereof for example, those considered to be most disadvantaged with respect to their likelihood of finding steady employment.  The evaluation also addressed important policy questions such as how to engage a substantial proportion of people in program activities and how enforcement of welfare-to-work participation mandates influences program effectiveness.  A complete list of the questions covered in this synthesis, along with the primary sources from NEWWS that address them in detail, is provided in Table 1.The effects of the NEWWS programs were estimated based on a wealth of data on more than 40,000 single-parent families, making NEWWS the largest study of welfare-to-work programs ever conducted.  Parents and their children were tracked over a five-year follow-up period, which, depending on the site, spanned different parts of the 1990s.  In the study’s innovative and rigorous research design, each parent was randomly assigned to a program group (in some sites, there were two program groups), whose members were eligible for program services and subject to the mandate, or a control group, whose members were not. (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: Storto, Laura; Hamilton, Gayle; Schwartz, Christine; Scrivener, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Oklahoma City's Education, Training, and Employment (ET & E) program was designed to promote self-sufficiency among applicants for and recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program (1) advocated participation in education, training, and job search classes to enhance individuals' employability and (2) granted child care assistance to support participation in the program and employment. However, ET & E was hampered by limited funding, and administrators and staff did not strongly enforce the program's mandate to participate. (Owing to statewide budget cuts and caps, caseloads were high; when case workers faced a time crunch, income maintenance functions took priority over employment and training functions.) As a result, overall, ET & E produced only small increases in the percentage of individuals who participated in basic education, vocational training, and job search classes, compared with the participation levels of a control group. For those who entered the program without a high school diploma or GED, ET & E produced larger increases...

    Oklahoma City's Education, Training, and Employment (ET & E) program was designed to promote self-sufficiency among applicants for and recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program (1) advocated participation in education, training, and job search classes to enhance individuals' employability and (2) granted child care assistance to support participation in the program and employment. However, ET & E was hampered by limited funding, and administrators and staff did not strongly enforce the program's mandate to participate. (Owing to statewide budget cuts and caps, caseloads were high; when case workers faced a time crunch, income maintenance functions took priority over employment and training functions.) As a result, overall, ET & E produced only small increases in the percentage of individuals who participated in basic education, vocational training, and job search classes, compared with the participation levels of a control group. For those who entered the program without a high school diploma or GED, ET & E produced larger increases in participation. The program did not increase enrollees' employment and earnings, compared with a control group's, but it did produce moderate welfare savings. Though the program's mandate to participate was not strongly enforced, it is possible that the welfare effects resulted from individuals deciding to forego cash assistance after they heard the mandate stated at application. Another possibility is that case managers were better able to discover AFDC ineligibility information with ET & E enrollees. Oklahoma City has since changed its program substantially to emphasize the mandate for welfare applicants and recipients to look for work as a first activity.

    These findings come at a time when state and local welfare-to-work programs are being changed across the country in response to a major overhaul of the welfare system that was mandated by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. Oklahoma City's results provide program administrators with valuable lessons on how to improve programs' short-term effectiveness when implementing a welfare-to-work program in a tight funding environment. The main lessons are discussed at the end of this report. (author abstract)