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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: Jacobs, Erin; Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    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 final 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 final 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 that was operated by the Transitional Work Corporation (TWC). TWC quickly placed recipients who were referred by the welfare agency into temporary, subsidized jobs; provided work-related supports; and then, building on this work experience, helped participants look for permanent jobs. The second model, called “Success Through Employment Preparation” (STEP), aimed to assess and address participants’ barriers to employment — such as health problems or inadequate skills — before they went to work. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: D’Amico, Ronald; Kim, Hui
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    This report describes the impacts of re-entry programs developed by seven grantees that were awarded funds under the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Program to reduce recidivism by addressing the challenges faced by adults returning to their communities after incarceration. In estimating impacts, the evaluation used a randomized controlled trial, whereby 966 individuals eligible for SCA were randomly assigned to either a program group whose members could participate in individualized SCA services. Each study participant was measured on a range of outcomes at 18 months after random assignment and again approximately one year later. An earlier report described impacts measured at 18 months. This report extends those results by describing the longer-term impacts and analyzing program costs. (Edited author abstract)

    This report describes the impacts of re-entry programs developed by seven grantees that were awarded funds under the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Program to reduce recidivism by addressing the challenges faced by adults returning to their communities after incarceration. In estimating impacts, the evaluation used a randomized controlled trial, whereby 966 individuals eligible for SCA were randomly assigned to either a program group whose members could participate in individualized SCA services. Each study participant was measured on a range of outcomes at 18 months after random assignment and again approximately one year later. An earlier report described impacts measured at 18 months. This report extends those results by describing the longer-term impacts and analyzing program costs. (Edited author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Roman, Caterina G. ; Link, Nathan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    Former prisoners are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with legal and criminal justice obligations in the U.S., yet little research has pursued how— theoretically or empirically—the burden of debt might affect key outcomes in prisoner reentry. To address the limited research, we examine the impact that having legal child support (CS) obligations has on employment and recidivism using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). In this report we describe the characteristics of adult male returning prisoners with child support orders and debt, and examine whether participation in SVORI was associated with greater services receipt than those in the comparison groups (for relevant services such as child-support services, employment preparation, and financial and legal assistance).

    We also examine the lagged impacts that child support obligations, legal employment and rearrest have on each other. Results from the crossed lagged panel model using GSEM in STATA indicate that while having child support debt...

    Former prisoners are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with legal and criminal justice obligations in the U.S., yet little research has pursued how— theoretically or empirically—the burden of debt might affect key outcomes in prisoner reentry. To address the limited research, we examine the impact that having legal child support (CS) obligations has on employment and recidivism using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). In this report we describe the characteristics of adult male returning prisoners with child support orders and debt, and examine whether participation in SVORI was associated with greater services receipt than those in the comparison groups (for relevant services such as child-support services, employment preparation, and financial and legal assistance).

    We also examine the lagged impacts that child support obligations, legal employment and rearrest have on each other. Results from the crossed lagged panel model using GSEM in STATA indicate that while having child support debt does not appear to influence employment significantly, it does show a marginally significant protective effect—former prisoners who have child support obligations are less likely to be arrested after release from prison than those who do not have obligations. We discuss the findings within the framework of past and emerging theoretical work on desistance from crime. We also discuss the implications for prisoner reentry policy and practice. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pindus, Nancy; Koralek, Robin; Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The policy context for both welfare programs and employment and training programs operated by the workforce development system has changed dramatically in the past few years.  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 requires welfare agencies to focus more than in the past on moving welfare recipients into employment.  PRWORA provides funding to welfare agencies in the form of a block grant, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), to support efforts to achieve this objective.  The need to move more TANF clients into work activities and jobs means that TANF agencies need to expand or develop structural and organizational arrangements that make this possible, including coordinating with the workforce development system.

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program provides additional funding to serve welfare recipients, but the resources flow through the employment and training system, now commonly called the workforce development system.  WtW creates new incentives for the workforce development system to coordinate with the...

    The policy context for both welfare programs and employment and training programs operated by the workforce development system has changed dramatically in the past few years.  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 requires welfare agencies to focus more than in the past on moving welfare recipients into employment.  PRWORA provides funding to welfare agencies in the form of a block grant, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), to support efforts to achieve this objective.  The need to move more TANF clients into work activities and jobs means that TANF agencies need to expand or develop structural and organizational arrangements that make this possible, including coordinating with the workforce development system.

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program provides additional funding to serve welfare recipients, but the resources flow through the employment and training system, now commonly called the workforce development system.  WtW creates new incentives for the workforce development system to coordinate with the welfare system on behalf of welfare recipients.  The workforce development system is also changing, moving towards universal access to employment related services and the use of technology to serve job seekers and employers better.

    States and localities are responding to this dynamic environment in different ways, and their responses reflect historical relationships as well as current policy objectives.  This study builds on earlier research in the area of service coordination and integration, and provides a current description of local operational interaction between welfare and workforce development programs.  It is based on a review of the literature and site visits to twelve localities in six states.  The main intent is to add to the understanding about how welfare recipients receive employment-related services.  The study identifies different approaches to coordination, the advantages of coordination for clients, and factors that promote and impede coordination. (author abstract)

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