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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: Hendra, Richard; Dillman, Keri-Nicole; Hamilton, Gayle; Lundquist, Erika; Martinson, Karin; Wavelet, Melissa; Hill, Aaron; Williams, Sonya
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three...

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three programs increased employment retention and advancement. Increases in employment retention and earnings were largest and most consistent over time in the Texas ERA program in Corpus Christi (one of three sites that operated this program); the Chicago ERA program; and the Riverside County, California, Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) ERA program. These programs increased annual earnings by between 7 percent and 15 percent relative to control group levels. Each of them served a different target group, which suggests that employment retention and advancement programs can work for a range of populations. However, three-fourths of the ERA programs included in this report did not produce gains in targeted outcomes beyond what control group members were able to attain on their own with the existing services and supports available in the ERA sites.

     - Increases in participation beyond control group levels were not consistent or large, which may have made it difficult for the programs to achieve impacts on employment retention and advancement. Engaging individuals in employment and retention services at levels above what they would have done in the absence of the programs was a consistent challenge. In addition, staff had to spend a lot of time and resources on placing unemployed individuals back into jobs, which made it difficult for them to focus on helping those who were already working to keep their jobs or move up.

    Before the ERA project began, there was not much evidence about the types of programs that could improve employment retention and advancement outcomes for current or former welfare recipients. The ERA evaluation provides valuable insights about the nature of retention and advancement problems and it underscores a number of key implementation challenges that a program would have to address. In addition, it reveals shortcomings in a range of common approaches now in use, while identifying three distinct approaches that seem promising and worthy of further exploration. (author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Anderson, Jacquelyn; Wavelet, Melissa; Gardiner, Karen N.; Fishman, Michael E.
    Reference Type:
    Year: 2002

    The welfare reforms of the 1990s dramatically increased the need for effective strategies to help low-income parents work more steadily and advance in the labor market; long-term reliance on public assistance is no longer an option for most families. Yet, while a great deal is known about how to help welfare recipients prepare for and find jobs, there is little hard evidence about what works to promote employment retention and advancement. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation is the most comprehensive attempt thus far to understand which program models are most effective in promoting stable employment and career progression for welfare recipients and other low-income workers. Conceived and sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the ERA project includes up to 15 random assignment experiments across the country. The evaluation is being conducted under contract to ACF by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. MDRC, with...

    The welfare reforms of the 1990s dramatically increased the need for effective strategies to help low-income parents work more steadily and advance in the labor market; long-term reliance on public assistance is no longer an option for most families. Yet, while a great deal is known about how to help welfare recipients prepare for and find jobs, there is little hard evidence about what works to promote employment retention and advancement. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation is the most comprehensive attempt thus far to understand which program models are most effective in promoting stable employment and career progression for welfare recipients and other low-income workers. Conceived and sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the ERA project includes up to 15 random assignment experiments across the country. The evaluation is being conducted under contract to ACF by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. MDRC, with assistance from the Lewin Group, is also providing technical assistance to help make the ERA programs as strong as possible. This first report on the ERA evaluation, which began in late 1999, describes the emerging ERA programs and identifies some early lessons on the design and implementation of relatively large-scale retention and advancement programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anderson, Jacquelyn; Martinson, Karin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Considerable interest exists among state and local welfare departments, workforce investment agencies, community colleges, and other nonprofit community-based service providers to find ways to promote job retention and advancement among employed welfare recipients and other low-wage working families. Little is known, however, about what services are effective. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation, designed to provide more information about what works in this area, is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. Conceived and sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the evaluation is being conducted under contract by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has provided additional funding for the project. As of December 2002, a total of 15 ERA programs are being tested in 8 states. This report describes the initial experiences of those programs, focusing on implementation issues and institutional connections...

    Considerable interest exists among state and local welfare departments, workforce investment agencies, community colleges, and other nonprofit community-based service providers to find ways to promote job retention and advancement among employed welfare recipients and other low-wage working families. Little is known, however, about what services are effective. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) evaluation, designed to provide more information about what works in this area, is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. Conceived and sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the evaluation is being conducted under contract by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has provided additional funding for the project. As of December 2002, a total of 15 ERA programs are being tested in 8 states. This report describes the initial experiences of those programs, focusing on implementation issues and institutional connections. (author abstract)

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