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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: Rosenberg, Linda; Derr, Michelle; Pickens, Cassandra; Angus, Megan H.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), local areas throughout the country had the opportunity to offer subsidized summer employment to large numbers of youth in 2009 and 2010. In summer 2010, these initiatives relied largely on Recovery Act funds allocated to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund (TANF Emergency Fund). Capitalizing on the flexibility offered by the TANF Emergency Fund and building on their summer 2009 experiences using Recovery Act funds allocated to the Workforce Investment Act Youth program, state and local TANF and workforce agencies partnered to plan and administer summer youth employment initiatives in 2010.

    This study examines qualitative data collected in 10 local sites across seven states to describe the partnerships between state and local TANF and workforce agencies, particular aspects of the youth employment initiatives that the TANF funding affected, and youths' summer work experiences. (author abstract)

    *OPRE managed, but funded...

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), local areas throughout the country had the opportunity to offer subsidized summer employment to large numbers of youth in 2009 and 2010. In summer 2010, these initiatives relied largely on Recovery Act funds allocated to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund (TANF Emergency Fund). Capitalizing on the flexibility offered by the TANF Emergency Fund and building on their summer 2009 experiences using Recovery Act funds allocated to the Workforce Investment Act Youth program, state and local TANF and workforce agencies partnered to plan and administer summer youth employment initiatives in 2010.

    This study examines qualitative data collected in 10 local sites across seven states to describe the partnerships between state and local TANF and workforce agencies, particular aspects of the youth employment initiatives that the TANF funding affected, and youths' summer work experiences. (author abstract)

    *OPRE managed, but funded by DOL.

  • Individual Author: Roder, Anne; Elliott, Mark
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    This report examines several state and local efforts to use subsidized employment to help the unemployed re-enter the labor force while stimulating local economies and helping employers address their workforce needs. These programs served individuals who lost jobs as a result of the economic downturn as well as those who would be at a disadvantage even when the economy is good, such as long-term welfare recipients, individuals with criminal records, and other low-income workers with limited work histories and skills. On the whole, the findings from these efforts are quite positive and offer some clear lessons for both policymakers and program practitioners. (author introduction)

    This report examines several state and local efforts to use subsidized employment to help the unemployed re-enter the labor force while stimulating local economies and helping employers address their workforce needs. These programs served individuals who lost jobs as a result of the economic downturn as well as those who would be at a disadvantage even when the economy is good, such as long-term welfare recipients, individuals with criminal records, and other low-income workers with limited work histories and skills. On the whole, the findings from these efforts are quite positive and offer some clear lessons for both policymakers and program practitioners. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, Dan; Redcross, Cindy; Hsueh, JoAnn; Rich, Sarah; Martin, Vanessa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    In the post-welfare reform world, an important policy question has taken new prominence: how to improve employment prospects for the millions of Americans who face serious obstacles to steady work. These individuals, including long-term welfare recipients, people with disabilities, those with health or behavioral health problems, and former prisoners, often become trapped in costly public assistance and enforcement systems and find themselves living in poverty, outside the mainstream in a society that prizes work and self-sufficiency. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, 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 Department of Labor, is evaluating four diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for low-income parents and others who face serious barriers to employment. (Author abstract)

    In the post-welfare reform world, an important policy question has taken new prominence: how to improve employment prospects for the millions of Americans who face serious obstacles to steady work. These individuals, including long-term welfare recipients, people with disabilities, those with health or behavioral health problems, and former prisoners, often become trapped in costly public assistance and enforcement systems and find themselves living in poverty, outside the mainstream in a society that prizes work and self-sufficiency. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, 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 Department of Labor, is evaluating four diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for low-income parents and others who face serious barriers to employment. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Elkin, Sam; Broadus, Joseph; Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type:
    Year: 2011

    Subsidized employment programs provide jobs to people who cannot find employment in the regular labor market and use public funds to pay all or some of their wages. In 2009 and 2010, states could access funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create or expand subsidized employment programs. When the fund expired on September 30, 2010, states had placed more than a quarter of a million people in subsidized jobs, making this the largest subsidized employment initiative in the country since the 1970s. 

    The Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will conduct rigorous evaluations of several subsidized employment programs for disadvantaged workers over the next few years. This report presents findings from the first phase of the STED project — a review of subsidized employment programs that operated with support...

    Subsidized employment programs provide jobs to people who cannot find employment in the regular labor market and use public funds to pay all or some of their wages. In 2009 and 2010, states could access funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create or expand subsidized employment programs. When the fund expired on September 30, 2010, states had placed more than a quarter of a million people in subsidized jobs, making this the largest subsidized employment initiative in the country since the 1970s. 

    The Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will conduct rigorous evaluations of several subsidized employment programs for disadvantaged workers over the next few years. This report presents findings from the first phase of the STED project — a review of subsidized employment programs that operated with support from the TANF Emergency Fund. It is based on telephone interviews with administrators in 48 states, tribes, and territories that received Emergency Fund support for subsidized employment; site visits to eight programs; and reports that states provided to the research team. (author abstract)

     

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