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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: Bloom, Dan; Rich, Sarah; Redcross, Cindy; Jacobs, Erin; Yahner, Jennifer; Pindus, Nancy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    As welfare caseloads have declined over the past decade, policymakers and administrators have focused increasingly on long-term and hard-to-employ recipients who have not made a stable transition from welfare to work. Many of these recipients face serious barriers to employment such as physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, and limited work and educational backgrounds.

    This report presents interim results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for hard-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Philadelphia. The study is part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing innovative employment strategies for groups facing serious obstacles to finding and keeping a steady job. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is being...

    As welfare caseloads have declined over the past decade, policymakers and administrators have focused increasingly on long-term and hard-to-employ recipients who have not made a stable transition from welfare to work. Many of these recipients face serious barriers to employment such as physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, and limited work and educational backgrounds.

    This report presents interim results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for hard-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Philadelphia. The study is part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing innovative employment strategies for groups facing serious obstacles to finding and keeping a steady job. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is being conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, along with the Urban Institute and other partners.

    The first approach being tested is a transitional jobs model operated by the Transitional Work Corporation (TWC). TWC quickly places participants into temporary, subsidized jobs; provides work-related supports; and then, building on this work experience, helps participants look for permanent jobs. The second model, called Success Through Employment Preparation (STEP), aims to assess and address participants’ barriers to employment — such as health problems or inadequate skills — before they go to work.

    The evaluation uses a rigorous design in which nearly 2,000 long-term and potential long-term welfare (TANF) recipients were assigned at random to TWC or STEP, or to a control group that did not participate in either program. The research team is following all three groups over time using surveys and administrative data. Results for the first 18 months show that:

    • The TWC program group members had significantly higher employment rates and earnings than the control group members, but the difference faded after the first year of follow-up. When earnings from transitional jobs and unsubsidized jobs are combined, the TWC group earned about $1,000 (26 percent) more than the control group, on average, and received significantly less welfare assistance. The earnings gains and welfare reductions largely offset one another, however, leaving the two groups with about the same total income.
    • Recipients who were assigned to the STEP program did not work or earn more, or receive less welfare, than the control group. The results may have been affected by the fact that many people who were assigned to STEP did not participate in the program for long periods.

    A later report will present results over a three-year period, but these interim results suggest some fairly clear patterns. The TWC program substantially increased employment in the short term, but this and other studies suggest that, in order to sustain impacts, transitional job programs need to help more people obtain and retain permanent jobs. The STEP program has not increased employment so far, adding to a growing body of evidence suggesting that it can be difficult to engage welfare recipients in extensive pre-employment services long enough to significantly improve their employability. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Redcross, Cindy; Bloom, Dan; Azurdia, Gilda; Zweig, Janine; Pindus, Nancy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    Almost 700,000 people are released from state prisons each year. Ex-prisoners face daunting obstacles to successful reentry into society, and rates of recidivism are high. Most experts believe that stable employment is critical to a successful transition, but ex-prisoners have great difficulty finding steady work. This report presents interim results from a rigorous evaluation of the New York City-based Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a highly regarded employment program for ex-prisoners. CEO participants are placed in paid transitional jobs shortly after enrollment; they are supervised by CEO staff and receive a range of supports. Once they show good performance in the transitional job, participants get help finding a permanent job and additional support after placement. CEO is one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with...

    Almost 700,000 people are released from state prisons each year. Ex-prisoners face daunting obstacles to successful reentry into society, and rates of recidivism are high. Most experts believe that stable employment is critical to a successful transition, but ex-prisoners have great difficulty finding steady work. This report presents interim results from a rigorous evaluation of the New York City-based Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a highly regarded employment program for ex-prisoners. CEO participants are placed in paid transitional jobs shortly after enrollment; they are supervised by CEO staff and receive a range of supports. Once they show good performance in the transitional job, participants get help finding a permanent job and additional support after placement. CEO is one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The project is being conducted under contract to HHS by MDRC, a nonprofit research organization, along with the Urban Institute and other partners. The impacts of CEO’s program are being assessed using a rigorous research design. In 2004-2005, a total of 977 ex-prisoners who reported to CEO were assigned, at random, to a program group that was eligible for all of CEO’s services or to a control group that received basic job search assistance. So far, the two groups have been followed for two years after study entry. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Glosser, Asaph; Barden, Bret; Williams, Sonya; Anderson, Chloe
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    This report presents implementation findings and early impact results -- one year -- from a random assignment evaluation of subsidized employment for TANF recipients in Los Angeles County. The study examines the impact of two distinct approaches to subsidized employment. This test is part of ACF’s Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration.

    The first, Paid Work Experience, subsidizes the wages of individuals placed at nonprofit or public-sector employers. The second, On-the-Job Training, offers wage subsidies to private-sector employers who agree to place employees onto their payrolls after an initial two-month tryout period; if they do, the wage subsidies can continue for up to an additional four months.

    Findings examine placement rates, retention, additional welfare-to-work services received, employment, earnings, and other measures of well-being. (Author abstract)

    This report presents implementation findings and early impact results -- one year -- from a random assignment evaluation of subsidized employment for TANF recipients in Los Angeles County. The study examines the impact of two distinct approaches to subsidized employment. This test is part of ACF’s Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration.

    The first, Paid Work Experience, subsidizes the wages of individuals placed at nonprofit or public-sector employers. The second, On-the-Job Training, offers wage subsidies to private-sector employers who agree to place employees onto their payrolls after an initial two-month tryout period; if they do, the wage subsidies can continue for up to an additional four months.

    Findings examine placement rates, retention, additional welfare-to-work services received, employment, earnings, and other measures of well-being. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fink, Barbara
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Subsidized employment and transitional jobs programs seek to increase employment and earnings among individuals who have not been able to find employment on their own. First-hand accounts of participants’ experiences in these programs can inform efforts to improve long-term employment outcomes for various “hard-to-employ” populations.

    This study is part of two federally funded multisite projects — the Department of Labor’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) — testing various subsidized employment models. These programs targeted a variety of disadvantaged populations, including welfare recipients, people returning to the community from prison, and low-income parents who do not have custody of their children (“noncustodial” parents, usually fathers) and who owe child support. The projects tested programs that enhanced the subsidized job model with case management and other support services, job-readiness training, and job search assistance intended to...

    Subsidized employment and transitional jobs programs seek to increase employment and earnings among individuals who have not been able to find employment on their own. First-hand accounts of participants’ experiences in these programs can inform efforts to improve long-term employment outcomes for various “hard-to-employ” populations.

    This study is part of two federally funded multisite projects — the Department of Labor’s Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) — testing various subsidized employment models. These programs targeted a variety of disadvantaged populations, including welfare recipients, people returning to the community from prison, and low-income parents who do not have custody of their children (“noncustodial” parents, usually fathers) and who owe child support. The projects tested programs that enhanced the subsidized job model with case management and other support services, job-readiness training, and job search assistance intended to help participants move into unsubsidized employment.

    This report draws on in-depth interviews with over 80 ETJD and STED participants from 11 programs. These interviews provide rich and nuanced information about participants’ lives and social support, experiences in the programs, and employment goals and outcomes. (Author overview)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Hendra, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, little is known about how to help them and other low-wage workers keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report assesses the implementation and two-year follow-up effects of a program in Texas that aimed to promote job placement, employment retention, and advancement among applicants and recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Texas program is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs across the country. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC, under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    To encourage employment retention and advancement among working TANF leavers, the Texas ERA program provided job search assistance, pre- and postemployment case management, and a monthly stipend of $200. The program was evaluated in three sites — Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and Houston — starting in 2000. The ERA evaluation uses a...

    Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, little is known about how to help them and other low-wage workers keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report assesses the implementation and two-year follow-up effects of a program in Texas that aimed to promote job placement, employment retention, and advancement among applicants and recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Texas program is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs across the country. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC, under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    To encourage employment retention and advancement among working TANF leavers, the Texas ERA program provided job search assistance, pre- and postemployment case management, and a monthly stipend of $200. The program was evaluated in three sites — Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and Houston — starting in 2000. The ERA evaluation uses a random assignment research design: Through a lottery-like process, eligible individuals were assigned either to a program group, whose members participated in the ERA program, or to a control group, whose members participated in Texas’s standard welfare-to-work program (called “Choices”). The control group’s outcomes tell what would have happened in the absence of the ERA program, providing benchmarks against which to compare the program group. (author abstract)

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