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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: Hendra, Richard ; Greenberg, David H.; Hamilton, Gayle; Oppenheim, Ari; Pennington, Alexandra; Schaberg, Kelsey; Tessler, Betsy L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    This report summarizes the two-year findings of a rigorous random assignment evaluation of the WorkAdvance model, a sectoral training and advancement initiative. Launched in 2011, WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs by introducing demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs that have career pathways. The model is heavily influenced by the positive findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study (SEIS) completed in 2010. A major component of the WorkAdvance model, in common with the programs studied in the SEIS, is formal training offering industry-recognized certifications, reflecting the hypothesis that skills acquisition is necessary for advancement. The model also requires providers to be far more employer-facing than traditional training programs, taking into account multiple employers’ changing skill requirements, employee assessment practices, and personnel needs. This report presents the implementation, cost, participation, and two-year economic impacts of WorkAdvance. The economic results are based on unemployment insurance...

    This report summarizes the two-year findings of a rigorous random assignment evaluation of the WorkAdvance model, a sectoral training and advancement initiative. Launched in 2011, WorkAdvance goes beyond the previous generation of employment programs by introducing demand-driven skills training and a focus on jobs that have career pathways. The model is heavily influenced by the positive findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study (SEIS) completed in 2010. A major component of the WorkAdvance model, in common with the programs studied in the SEIS, is formal training offering industry-recognized certifications, reflecting the hypothesis that skills acquisition is necessary for advancement. The model also requires providers to be far more employer-facing than traditional training programs, taking into account multiple employers’ changing skill requirements, employee assessment practices, and personnel needs. This report presents the implementation, cost, participation, and two-year economic impacts of WorkAdvance. The economic results are based on unemployment insurance earnings records and a second-year follow-up survey.

    The WorkAdvance program operations and evaluation are funded through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a public-private partnership administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This SIF project is led by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity in collaboration with MDRC.

    Key Findings

    • All providers translated the WorkAdvance model into a set of concrete services, but it took time — more than a year for some components and providers — and a substantial amount of technical assistance and support. As a result, at some sites, later study enrollees were more likely than earlier ones to experience a fully implemented and “mature” WorkAdvance program.
    • Overall, WorkAdvance resulted in very large increases in participation in every category of services, as well as in training completion and credential acquisition, compared with what would have happened in the absence of the program. Expenditures for the operation of WorkAdvance fell between $5,200 and $6,700 per participant at the four providers delivering the program.
    • WorkAdvance providers increased earnings, with variation in results that closely matched the providers’ experience in running sector-based programs and the extent to which the services they offered were demand driven. The most experienced sectoral provider, Per Scholas, had large and consistent impacts on both primary and secondary outcomes. Madison Strategies Group and Towards Employment, providers new to sectoral training, had promising but less consistent results that grew stronger for later enrollees. One provider, St. Nicks Alliance, did not produce positive impacts. The results did not differ dramatically across subgroups, though encouragingly, WorkAdvance was able to increase earnings among the long-term unemployed.

    The evaluation as a whole provides important information for workforce development providers interested in pursuing a sector strategy. The analysis considers the role played by providers’ sector-specific training and preparation and the role played by the nature of the sectors themselves. Future priorities that emerge from the results are (1) understanding how to help the more disadvantaged access the programs and (2) learning how to build service capacity, given how complex the model is to run. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Hendra, Rick
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2015

    This powerpoint presentation from the 2015 NAWRS conference describes an implementation study of an employment retention and advancement program based in three cities.

    This powerpoint presentation from the 2015 NAWRS conference describes an implementation study of an employment retention and advancement program based in three cities.

  • Individual Author: Lauren Eyster; Nightingale, Demetra Smith ; Barnow, Burt S. ; O'Brien, Carolyn T. ; Trutko, John ; Kuehn, Daniel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The High Growth Job Training Initiative (HGJTI) was a national grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Between 2001 and 2007, more than 160 grants were awarded to establish industry-focused job training and related projects designed to meet the industry's workforce challenges. This report is the third and final in a series from the national evaluation of the HGJTI conducted by the Urban Institute, the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and Capital Research Corporation. This report documents the national initiative, describes the structure and implementation of projects by selected grantees, and provides nonexperimental analysis of the early impacts of job training in selected HGJTI-funded programs. The analysis relies on a review of grant applications and quarterly reports; visits to nine selected grantee sites; data collected from grantee training programs; quarterly earnings data from state unemployment insurance wage records; and administrative data from state and local public...

    The High Growth Job Training Initiative (HGJTI) was a national grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Between 2001 and 2007, more than 160 grants were awarded to establish industry-focused job training and related projects designed to meet the industry's workforce challenges. This report is the third and final in a series from the national evaluation of the HGJTI conducted by the Urban Institute, the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and Capital Research Corporation. This report documents the national initiative, describes the structure and implementation of projects by selected grantees, and provides nonexperimental analysis of the early impacts of job training in selected HGJTI-funded programs. The analysis relies on a review of grant applications and quarterly reports; visits to nine selected grantee sites; data collected from grantee training programs; quarterly earnings data from state unemployment insurance wage records; and administrative data from state and local public workforce system agencies. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Alicia
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    An estimated 2.8 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. In many big cities, up to one-fourth of all young adults can be characterized as “disconnected.” The problem is also severe in rural communities located in high-poverty areas, a pattern that is vividly illustrated by the disproportionate number of minority youth in the South who fall into this category.

    Mayors and city councilmembers are particularly well positioned to set the tone and direction for local efforts to reengage disconnected youth. By articulating key priorities and future directions for change, municipal leaders can provide a much-needed framework for discussions that involve the full range of city officials, community stakeholders, and local residents. (author abstract)

    An estimated 2.8 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor employed. In many big cities, up to one-fourth of all young adults can be characterized as “disconnected.” The problem is also severe in rural communities located in high-poverty areas, a pattern that is vividly illustrated by the disproportionate number of minority youth in the South who fall into this category.

    Mayors and city councilmembers are particularly well positioned to set the tone and direction for local efforts to reengage disconnected youth. By articulating key priorities and future directions for change, municipal leaders can provide a much-needed framework for discussions that involve the full range of city officials, community stakeholders, and local residents. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tessler, Betsy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Even in good economic times, many low-income, low-skilled adults in the United States have difficulty obtaining jobs that pay enough to support their families and advancing in the labor market. Individuals with no more than a high school education have seen their wages remain flat in real terms for decades, and their employment is often unsteady. Although training programs abound, many low-income individuals cannot afford them, do not complete them, or do not obtain a marketable credential. At the same time, many employers claim that they cannot easily find people with the right occupational skills to meet their needs. Because of this skills mismatch, some types of jobs go unfilled, even in a weak economy. There has been much debate in recent years about how national workforce policy should address these issues, but policymakers have few rigorous studies to inform their deliberations, and not enough evidence about what works best.

    This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model called “WorkAdvance” that is designed to help low-income...

    Even in good economic times, many low-income, low-skilled adults in the United States have difficulty obtaining jobs that pay enough to support their families and advancing in the labor market. Individuals with no more than a high school education have seen their wages remain flat in real terms for decades, and their employment is often unsteady. Although training programs abound, many low-income individuals cannot afford them, do not complete them, or do not obtain a marketable credential. At the same time, many employers claim that they cannot easily find people with the right occupational skills to meet their needs. Because of this skills mismatch, some types of jobs go unfilled, even in a weak economy. There has been much debate in recent years about how national workforce policy should address these issues, but policymakers have few rigorous studies to inform their deliberations, and not enough evidence about what works best.

    This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model called “WorkAdvance” that is designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. Depending on the location, these sectors of the labor market currently include, for example, information technology (IT), transportation, manufacturing, health care, and environmental remediation. The WorkAdvance model incorporates strategies often found in sector-based employment programs that have operated for years. It combines these strategies with job coaching after participants are placed into jobs, building on approaches that showed promise in earlier “postemployment” interventions.

    The New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a unit of the Mayor’s Office, and MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, developed the WorkAdvance model, and MDRC is evaluating it using a randomized control trial. Launched as a research demonstration project under the federal Social Innovation Fund, WorkAdvance is being operated by four providers in four locations: New York City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio. This brief discusses the origins of the WorkAdvance model, its major features, how it is being evaluated, and some early observations of how the providers are operating the program. (author abstract)

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