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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: Regenstein, Marsha; Meyer, Jack A.; Hicks, Jennifer Dickemper
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level...

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level workers. The ESRI sample consists mostly of small employers with fewer than 50 workers. In order to gain insight into any potential differences in attitudes among establishments of different sizes, however, we oversampled those with 100 or more employees.

    We conducted an additional 200 interviews-100 each in Los Angeles and Milwaukee-to see how these two cities might differ from national responses. Both of these cities have large welfare populations. Milwaukee is considered a national leader in innovative welfare-to-work initiatives, while Los Angeles is a large urban area with a diverse population that includes many immigrants.

    Prior to undertaking the large national survey, we conducted a small exploratory telephone survey of 25 employers. Their responses, emerging from in-depth discussions, were very similar to the findings in the national sample. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.; Stoll, Michael A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare...

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare recipients, especially those who are minorities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Isaacs, Julia B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed...

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed findings emerging from surveys of former recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.; Stoll, Michael A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Although employment rates among welfare recipients have risen substantially since the early 1990s, many questions about welfare-to-work efforts remain. What are the employment prospects of the least skilled and least experienced welfare recipients? What are the chief obstacles to hiring them? How well do they perform? Are their wages and benefits sufficient to achieve financial independence over time? This report draws on employer survey data from four cities (including Los Angeles) to answer these and other questions. In addition to analyzing the survey responses, the authors compare the success these cities have had in moving welfare recipients into the workforce. They also explore the policy implications of their findings. (author abstract)

    Although employment rates among welfare recipients have risen substantially since the early 1990s, many questions about welfare-to-work efforts remain. What are the employment prospects of the least skilled and least experienced welfare recipients? What are the chief obstacles to hiring them? How well do they perform? Are their wages and benefits sufficient to achieve financial independence over time? This report draws on employer survey data from four cities (including Los Angeles) to answer these and other questions. In addition to analyzing the survey responses, the authors compare the success these cities have had in moving welfare recipients into the workforce. They also explore the policy implications of their findings. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hein, Maria L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s...

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s education or microenterprise).

    At the time that funds are withdrawn for a qualifying asset purchase, the withdrawals are matched. Some of ORR’s IDA program grantees offer a 1:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $4,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $8,000 toward their asset purchase). The remainder offer a 2:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $2,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $6,000 toward their asset purchase).

    In order to qualify for ORR’s IDA program, a refugee (see footnote 1) must:

    • Have earned income
    • Have a household earned income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level (at the time of program enrollment)
    • Have assets that do not exceed $10,000 (at the time of enrollment), excluding the value of a primary residence.

    (author introduction)

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