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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Pager, Devah; Western, Bruce
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    The study found a strong reluctance among employers to hire applicants with criminal records, especially Black ex-offenders; however, employment prospects improved significantly for applicants who had an opportunity to interact with the hiring manager, particularly when these interactions elicited sympathetic responses from the manager. Although individual characteristics of employers were significant for outcomes, researchers concluded that the personal interaction between the applicant and prospective employer was in itself a key factor in a successful hiring. Employer concerns about hiring ex-offenders included the risk of theft, violence, and drug use, as well as concerns about worker reliability and performance. An employer’s personal interaction with ex-offender applicants can help to relieve some of these concerns that stem from a stereotypical view of ex-offenders. Blacks were significantly less likely to be invited to a personal interview by employers. These findings point to the importance of rapport-building and personal interaction between prospective employers and ex...

    The study found a strong reluctance among employers to hire applicants with criminal records, especially Black ex-offenders; however, employment prospects improved significantly for applicants who had an opportunity to interact with the hiring manager, particularly when these interactions elicited sympathetic responses from the manager. Although individual characteristics of employers were significant for outcomes, researchers concluded that the personal interaction between the applicant and prospective employer was in itself a key factor in a successful hiring. Employer concerns about hiring ex-offenders included the risk of theft, violence, and drug use, as well as concerns about worker reliability and performance. An employer’s personal interaction with ex-offender applicants can help to relieve some of these concerns that stem from a stereotypical view of ex-offenders. Blacks were significantly less likely to be invited to a personal interview by employers. These findings point to the importance of rapport-building and personal interaction between prospective employers and ex-offender applicants. Also, preparatory work with employers should focus on defusing the stereotypical stigmatization of ex-offenders, providing information to employers on the rehabilitation successes and vocational training of particular ex-offenders that matches employer needs, and the enlisting of labor market intermediaries who can vouch for the qualifications of individual ex-offender job applicants. The audit study of team experiences was complemented with a telephone survey of the employers visited and in-depth qualitative interviews with an additional subset of employers. 8 figures, 2 tables, and appended supplementary data, information, and references (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Congress passed PRWORA in 1996, making sweeping changes to national welfare policy. The act replaces the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with TANF block grants, a fixed federal funding stream that provides states the flexibility to design their own programs and strategies for promoting work and self-sufficiency. Under TANF there are strong work requirements for recipients and there is a limit on the number of months (60) that families can receive federally funded TANF benefits. The number of families receiving cash assistance has declined dramatically in recent years. More than 5 million families received cash assistance in 1994 but, as the economy improved and TANF work enforcement gathered steam, fewer families received assistance. Caseloads have fallen dramatically since the act went into effect, from 4.4 million families in August 1996 to 2.2 families in June 2000. Caseload declines slowed towards the end of 1999 and in a few states rose slightly, but the most recent data available from HHS indicate that, nationally, caseloads continue to decline....

    The Congress passed PRWORA in 1996, making sweeping changes to national welfare policy. The act replaces the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with TANF block grants, a fixed federal funding stream that provides states the flexibility to design their own programs and strategies for promoting work and self-sufficiency. Under TANF there are strong work requirements for recipients and there is a limit on the number of months (60) that families can receive federally funded TANF benefits. The number of families receiving cash assistance has declined dramatically in recent years. More than 5 million families received cash assistance in 1994 but, as the economy improved and TANF work enforcement gathered steam, fewer families received assistance. Caseloads have fallen dramatically since the act went into effect, from 4.4 million families in August 1996 to 2.2 families in June 2000. Caseload declines slowed towards the end of 1999 and in a few states rose slightly, but the most recent data available from HHS indicate that, nationally, caseloads continue to decline. Though there are no supporting data, many assume that as caseloads have fallen the composition of the caseload has changed. Specifically, some have speculated that those TANF recipients who could easily find and keep jobs have left the rolls, and hard-to-employ recipients-those with characteristics that interfere with employment-comprise an increasing share of the remaining cash assistance recipients. As a result, there is some concern that state programs that may have been effective at moving easier-to-employ recipients into the workforce may not meet the needs of those remaining on the rolls. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hauan, Susan; Douglas, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Employment is a key component of the TANF program. With the introduction of work requirements under PRWORA, states now work more closely with recipients on encouraging participation in work activities to facilitate transitions out of welfare toward greater independence. Consequently, it is important to understand the potential limitations or liabilities that recipients may bring to the labor market, as well as the effect that these challenges may or may not have on employment.

    To address these issues, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) funded a round of competitive state and local research grants to study the characteristics and circumstances of individuals and families receiving cash assistance from the TANF program. Each grantee gathered and analyzed data based on a common survey instrument that focused on three broad domains of potential assets and liabilities of work for welfare recipients:

    • human capital assets/deficits (education levels, work experience, job skills);
    • personal and family-related liabilities (...

    Employment is a key component of the TANF program. With the introduction of work requirements under PRWORA, states now work more closely with recipients on encouraging participation in work activities to facilitate transitions out of welfare toward greater independence. Consequently, it is important to understand the potential limitations or liabilities that recipients may bring to the labor market, as well as the effect that these challenges may or may not have on employment.

    To address these issues, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) funded a round of competitive state and local research grants to study the characteristics and circumstances of individuals and families receiving cash assistance from the TANF program. Each grantee gathered and analyzed data based on a common survey instrument that focused on three broad domains of potential assets and liabilities of work for welfare recipients:

    • human capital assets/deficits (education levels, work experience, job skills);
    • personal and family-related liabilities (physical and mental health problems, chemical dependence, learning disabilities, criminal record, caring for a child with special health needs, and domestic violence); and
    • community-level challenges (transportation problems, childcare problems, unstable housing, and neighborhood problems).

    All studies were based on random samples of the population of single-parent TANF recipients in one given month. Survey data from all six studies — Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, and South Carolina — were merged by ASPE staff, who conducted a pooled analysis of employment liabilities and work among welfare recipients.

  • Individual Author: Derr, Michelle K.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This practice brief profiles three work experience programs that engage nearly all work-ready TANF recipients in unpaid work activities, either alone or in conjunction with education and training. Unpaid work experience is designed to mirror regular employment in the paid labor market. TANF recipients are assigned to entry-level jobs at government offices, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, or for-profit businesses, creating an immediate attachment to the labor market. Rather than earning an hourly wage, recipients receive their TANF grant and food stamp benefits in exchange for the hours they work. In addition to helping recipients meet their TANF work requirement, these programs are designed to help recipients gain job skills and become acclimated to a regular work schedule. Erie County, New York, contracts with neighborhood organizations to provide work experience opportunities near the places where recipients live. Montana uses work experience placements as training sites to build recipients' job skills. In Hamilton County, Ohio, a consortium of agencies...

    This practice brief profiles three work experience programs that engage nearly all work-ready TANF recipients in unpaid work activities, either alone or in conjunction with education and training. Unpaid work experience is designed to mirror regular employment in the paid labor market. TANF recipients are assigned to entry-level jobs at government offices, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, or for-profit businesses, creating an immediate attachment to the labor market. Rather than earning an hourly wage, recipients receive their TANF grant and food stamp benefits in exchange for the hours they work. In addition to helping recipients meet their TANF work requirement, these programs are designed to help recipients gain job skills and become acclimated to a regular work schedule. Erie County, New York, contracts with neighborhood organizations to provide work experience opportunities near the places where recipients live. Montana uses work experience placements as training sites to build recipients' job skills. In Hamilton County, Ohio, a consortium of agencies administers and provides work experience to TANF recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Speanburg, Katie; Juras, Randall; Patel, Amar; Schneider, Glen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    The road to employment and economic self-sufficiency is considerably steeper for those youth who face some type of physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health, or other disability. The U. S. Department of Labor is actively addressing the needs and interests of individuals with disabilities through policy guidance, research, staffing and program support as well as technical assistance and training. The Department conducted a study to examine the public workforce system’s current efforts to serve youth with disabilities. The study profiles the implementation of various practices intended to support this effort and identifies factors that may pose barriers to the provision of targeted services. Additionally, the study provides recommendations to help shape future programs, policies, technical assistance and research initiatives related to serving youth with disabilities. 

    The cornerstone of this research is a survey of representatives from LWIBs on a range of topics relating to serving youth with disabilities. The data were gathered via an on line survey and completed by 69...

    The road to employment and economic self-sufficiency is considerably steeper for those youth who face some type of physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health, or other disability. The U. S. Department of Labor is actively addressing the needs and interests of individuals with disabilities through policy guidance, research, staffing and program support as well as technical assistance and training. The Department conducted a study to examine the public workforce system’s current efforts to serve youth with disabilities. The study profiles the implementation of various practices intended to support this effort and identifies factors that may pose barriers to the provision of targeted services. Additionally, the study provides recommendations to help shape future programs, policies, technical assistance and research initiatives related to serving youth with disabilities. 

    The cornerstone of this research is a survey of representatives from LWIBs on a range of topics relating to serving youth with disabilities. The data were gathered via an on line survey and completed by 69 percent of the LWIB Executive Directors or designees. This report presents a summary of the survey results. In addition to gathering general perspectives and challenges inherent in serving youth with disabilities, the analyses examined the extent to which LWIBs: (1) use customized assessments to identify participant needs and develop service plans; (2) provide training to build staff capacity to better serve this population; (3) expand their resource base through partnerships and combining funding streams; (4) actively target the out-of-school population of youth with disabilities; and (5) provide employment and community service opportunities.

    This study is the first to describe the programmatic and environmental context that shapes the provision of services to youth with disabilities by the workforce development system at the local level. Gathering first hand insights from practitioners provides important information that can be used to improve policy and practices for this population. (author abstract) 

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