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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: McIntire, James L.; Robins, Amy F.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This study was undertaken in an effort to assess the impacts of recent policy, organizational, and technology changes on the delivery of employment services to welfare recipients. The study examines five of the most developed and promising One-Stop Job Centers around the country to find out what makes them work well, and to understand their potential for moving people from welfare to self-sufficiency. This study does not provide a formal evaluation of these model programs, but identifies those approaches and practices that seem to be working well in different locations. (author abstract)

    This study was undertaken in an effort to assess the impacts of recent policy, organizational, and technology changes on the delivery of employment services to welfare recipients. The study examines five of the most developed and promising One-Stop Job Centers around the country to find out what makes them work well, and to understand their potential for moving people from welfare to self-sufficiency. This study does not provide a formal evaluation of these model programs, but identifies those approaches and practices that seem to be working well in different locations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Elliot, Mark; Palubinsky, Beth; Tierny, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Five programs in the Bridges to Work demonstration have functioned as a labor market exchange--with the main services being job matching and transportation coordination--for job-ready inner-city workers and suburban employment. The logistics of transportation have been simple; the basics of employment have been an ongoing challenge. Sites have struggled with recruitment because of strong economic growth, insufficient credibility, and local employment organizations reluctant to work with Bridges. Revised recruitment includes expansion of original neighborhoods and more creative and flexible approaches to outreach. Since most participants were not job-ready, sites have added job readiness training and support for recent placements to boost retention. Four principles to guide planning and implementation of transportation services are the following: flexible, extensive routes and schedules; punctual, reliable service; quick response to unplanned events and emergencies; and no transportation for other purposes. The Bridges program should include the transportation provider early in...

    Five programs in the Bridges to Work demonstration have functioned as a labor market exchange--with the main services being job matching and transportation coordination--for job-ready inner-city workers and suburban employment. The logistics of transportation have been simple; the basics of employment have been an ongoing challenge. Sites have struggled with recruitment because of strong economic growth, insufficient credibility, and local employment organizations reluctant to work with Bridges. Revised recruitment includes expansion of original neighborhoods and more creative and flexible approaches to outreach. Since most participants were not job-ready, sites have added job readiness training and support for recent placements to boost retention. Four principles to guide planning and implementation of transportation services are the following: flexible, extensive routes and schedules; punctual, reliable service; quick response to unplanned events and emergencies; and no transportation for other purposes. The Bridges program should include the transportation provider early in the program planning process, select one with the capacity and vehicles that best fit the program, select firms whose main business is transportation, and avoid changing providers. Bridges' experience shows transportation alone will not connect applicants and jobs. Intensive recruitment, job preparation, and retention services make more effective programs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Opcin, Selen; Fishman, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In...

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In addition, the strong economy from 1993 to 1998 increased the availability of low-skill jobs and undoubtedly lured many welfare recipients into the low-skill labor market.

    Several other factors may have contributed to changes in labor market participation of welfare recipients and are worth mentioning. First, the federal government expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working low-income families in the early- and mid-1990s, which most likely encouraged some welfare recipients to enter the labor force. Second, the minimum wage increased in 1997, which could have offset downward wage pressure from the entry of welfare recipients into the labor force. Third, some regions of the country experienced significant changes in population, which reduced or increased the number of low-skill workers in these areas. Finally, the recession of the early 1990s created a pool of unemployed low-skill workers who were available to take new jobs when the economy began to recover.

    Policy-makers have been concerned about whether enough jobs will be available to employ the additional welfare recipients entering the labor market as a result of welfare reform. If a surplus of jobs is not available in particular areas, welfare recipients’ entry into the labor force might reduce low-skill wages and displace some workers. Policy-makers are especially concerned about the impact of welfare reform on rural and small metropolitan labor markets, because these markets might be less able to absorb the inflow of welfare recipients than urban labor markets.

    The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) contracted with The Lewin Group to examine how well rural and small metropolitan labor markets can absorb welfare recipients, and to the extent feasible, estimate the impact of welfare reform on rural and small-metropolitan regions since 1993. This study uses an economic model to estimate the impact of welfare reform and improvements in the economy on the low-skill labor market, where most welfare recipients seek work. A major challenge facing researchers in this area is to distinguish between entry due to reforms (“welfare push”) and entry due to the strong economy (“demand pull”). This decomposition is necessary if we are to anticipate future conditions in the low-skill labor market, when the economy might not be so strong. We attempted such a decomposition in this report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Knox, Virginia W.; London, Andrew S.; Scott, Ellen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    As policymakers debate proposals that affect families’ access to child care, they are keenly aware that the system of early education and care must support both parents’ employment goals and children’s developmental needs. But how does the pursuit of these two goals actually play out in the lives of very low-income families in disadvantaged neighborhoods? Examining the work and child care patterns of families who participated in two recent ethnographic studies provides new perspectives on three ways in which policymakers typically view these issues.

    First, policy discussions often divide the child care system into formal care, which in these studies encompasses care that is provided in a day care center or a licensed or certified family day care home, and informal care, which refers to minimally regulated care provided by relatives or neighbors, either in or out of the child’s home. But the ethnographic studies suggest that discussions organized around these distinctions may miss the complex blending of arrangements used by many low-income families. When families in these...

    As policymakers debate proposals that affect families’ access to child care, they are keenly aware that the system of early education and care must support both parents’ employment goals and children’s developmental needs. But how does the pursuit of these two goals actually play out in the lives of very low-income families in disadvantaged neighborhoods? Examining the work and child care patterns of families who participated in two recent ethnographic studies provides new perspectives on three ways in which policymakers typically view these issues.

    First, policy discussions often divide the child care system into formal care, which in these studies encompasses care that is provided in a day care center or a licensed or certified family day care home, and informal care, which refers to minimally regulated care provided by relatives or neighbors, either in or out of the child’s home. But the ethnographic studies suggest that discussions organized around these distinctions may miss the complex blending of arrangements used by many low-income families. When families in these studies did use formal care, it was almost always part of a larger patchwork that included informal situations. Moreover, informal care dominated many blended arrangements and was often used exclusively. Thus, for policy to truly reflect the daily experiences of low-income children, policymakers and advocates concerned with quality of care and child development need to focus on formal care, informal care, and how these forms of care are typically combined in the daily lives of low-income children.

    Second, current subsidy policy emphasizes the goal of enabling parents to choose the care arrangements that best suit their families. In reality, the control that families in these studies had over their choices was highly circumscribed by their limited money, by the sparse care options of their low-resource neighborhoods, and by the inflexibility of their role as employees. Parents ranked their children’s well-being as their top priority, and many said they would leave jobs if their children were ever placed at risk. Nevertheless, they rarely were seen taking this step unless their child care arrangements collapsed completely. Instead, they often resigned themselves to leaving their children in situations they knew were far from ideal.

    Third, the ethnographic interviews highlight a hidden but significant cost of care for low-income single parents — the enormous logistical effort required to keep arrangements intact. This level of effort may, in fact, both conflict with the requirements of parents’ jobs and reduce the amount of attention parents can devote to their children. Moreover, it may prevent parents from applying for and utilizing child care subsidies, because, even though the cost of child care was a primary concern, seeking and maintaining subsidies often seemed to require considerable time and effort.

    To further describe the realities the studies document for these families, this policy brief considers three issues in greater detail: why parents resorted to patchwork and informal care; parents’ experiences with subsidies; and the extent to which their arrangements met minimal standards of health, safety, and predictability. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sanchez, Thomas W. ; Shen, Qing; Peng, Zhong-Ren
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    While policy-makers assert that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status for low-income persons, there is little empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can effectively link unemployed, car-less, persons with appropriate job locations—hence the call for more public transit services to assist moving welfare recipients to gainful employment. Thus far, the available evidence is anecdotal, while general patterns of transit access in relationship to labour participation remain relatively unexplored. This analysis examines whether increased transit access is associated with the case status (employment status) of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in the Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas. Individual TANF recipient location data, transit route/stop data and employment location data were used in limited dependent variable regression analyses to predict the employment status of TANF...

    While policy-makers assert that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status for low-income persons, there is little empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can effectively link unemployed, car-less, persons with appropriate job locations—hence the call for more public transit services to assist moving welfare recipients to gainful employment. Thus far, the available evidence is anecdotal, while general patterns of transit access in relationship to labour participation remain relatively unexplored. This analysis examines whether increased transit access is associated with the case status (employment status) of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients in the Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas. Individual TANF recipient location data, transit route/stop data and employment location data were used in limited dependent variable regression analyses to predict the employment status of TANF recipients. The results of this analysis indicate that access to fixed-route transit and employment concentrations had virtually no association with the employment outcomes of TANF recipients in the six selected metropolitan areas. (author abstract)

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