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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: 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)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Riedinger, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of...

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of the study states have experienced significant declines in their cash assistance caseloads that are well above the national average, low unemployment and strong economies.

    Work-oriented reforms in place at the time of this study were implemented at different points between 1993 and 1996. Since the passage of PRWORA, Indiana and Wisconsin both implemented new work-oriented reforms while Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oregon have made few changes.

    Thus, while this study captures state experiences at one point in time, it also reflects states at different stages in their own evolution toward a more employment focused welfare system. It is also important to note that this study took place too soon after TANF went into effect to fully capture the implications and impact of the new federal welfare reform law (e.g., progressively steeper participation rate requirements, lifetime limit on benefit receipt). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: King, Elisabeth; Elliott, Mark
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This report describes family centered employment strategies. It begins with a look at the economics of families in poverty and provides a brief outline of the many ways in which employment and training programs have begun to work with families. The report then examines the work of four employment programs now offering employment services to families: (1) a transitional employment program; (2) a refugee resettlement program; (3) a youth employment program; and (4) a faith-based program. The key elements that have enabled these programs to provide services successfully are discussed. The major federal programs used to meet the employment needs of the poor, however, remain focused principally on serving individuals. Recent Clinton administration proposals indicate that the family is beginning to occupy a more central place in the discussion of federal employment programs. Until public resources are available, it seems unlikely that many organizations will make the extraordinary effort to combine multiple revenue sources needed to serve families' employment needs successfully. An...

    This report describes family centered employment strategies. It begins with a look at the economics of families in poverty and provides a brief outline of the many ways in which employment and training programs have begun to work with families. The report then examines the work of four employment programs now offering employment services to families: (1) a transitional employment program; (2) a refugee resettlement program; (3) a youth employment program; and (4) a faith-based program. The key elements that have enabled these programs to provide services successfully are discussed. The major federal programs used to meet the employment needs of the poor, however, remain focused principally on serving individuals. Recent Clinton administration proposals indicate that the family is beginning to occupy a more central place in the discussion of federal employment programs. Until public resources are available, it seems unlikely that many organizations will make the extraordinary effort to combine multiple revenue sources needed to serve families' employment needs successfully. An appendix describes the four programs in detail.

  • 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: Rangarajan, Anu; Novak, Tim
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    The PESD evaluation had three main objectives: (1) to better understand and characterize the experiences of individuals after they become employed and to examine the factors contributing to job loss or job stability, (2) to examine the feasibility of providing services to newly employed welfare recipients and to study issues related to service delivery, and (3) to determine whether postemployment services can help individuals keep their jobs longer or regain employment more quickly after job loss. This report focuses on the third objective and provides an update of our initial findings of the programs’ effectiveness in promoting employment and reducing welfare dependency. In particular, this report examines the effectiveness of the PESD programs in increasing employment and reducing welfare dependency over a two-year period, using administrative records data on program enrollees. (author abstract)

    The PESD evaluation had three main objectives: (1) to better understand and characterize the experiences of individuals after they become employed and to examine the factors contributing to job loss or job stability, (2) to examine the feasibility of providing services to newly employed welfare recipients and to study issues related to service delivery, and (3) to determine whether postemployment services can help individuals keep their jobs longer or regain employment more quickly after job loss. This report focuses on the third objective and provides an update of our initial findings of the programs’ effectiveness in promoting employment and reducing welfare dependency. In particular, this report examines the effectiveness of the PESD programs in increasing employment and reducing welfare dependency over a two-year period, using administrative records data on program enrollees. (author abstract)

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